Staten Island Ferry: The Ultimate Skyline View Of Lower Manhattan


I remember when it was only 25 cents to ride the Staten Island Ferry. And I also remember when they allowed passenger cars on the ferry. But that stopped after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Over the years of course, like everything in New York City, the price of the ferry ride gradually increased.

Yet, every once in a while New York will offer certain things for free. Such as climbing the Vessel at Hudson Yards, which I did back in March, and also no longer charging to ride the Staten Island Ferry, which I think is awesome.

Now, my only wish and fantasy is that one day New York will offer free subway rides.

Which I think will always remain a fantasy because that's just NOT going to happen.

And speaking of subways, I remember when it was only 55 cents for a SingleRide on the subway. Now it's $3.00.

Yeah, New York is expensive. And gets more expensive with every passing minute.

So when they offer something for free, I'll jump at the chance.

Early this week I met a dear friend of mine in Manhattan for the day. We had originally planned to visit the Guggenheim because there was a photography exhibit we wanted to catch. However, I discovered the night before I left that the exhibit was temporarily off until the 27th of this month. Drats!

But on the bus ride over to New York the next morning, I had a great idea of taking advantage of the free ride to Staten Island, asking my friend if she'd be interested because I knew she had never been to Staten Island. And of course, she said, "Hell yes...let's do it. It's FREE!"

So after having lunch near Bryant Park, we took the subway down to Whitehall Street and jumped on the ferry.

And OMG...I had forgotten how much fun it was to take a leisurely 25 min. boat ride over to Staten Island. It's such a simple thing, I know, yet it's such an awesome experience because it's like experiencing a part of New York City history. Plus, the view from the ferry as you're pulling further and further away from Lower Manhattan is exquisite. I've always said that the most dramatic way to see New York is from a distance because you are able to see just how magnificent the skyline is.

I would like to share some photographs I took while out on the ferry that day. I also found several comparison vintage photographs so that you could see what it was like then, and now.

Please enjoy my favorite city in America...

...New York.

Staten Island Station from the Manhattan side, now...




Then...


Ferry boats, now...



Then...



Passengers now...



Passengers, then...


Notice how back then people read newspapers, conversed, and got their shoes shined instead of taking selfies and posting them on Instagram to get more likes and followers.

The Statue of Liberty, now...


Then...


The view from the ferry of Lower Manhattan, then...




Now...





I love you, New York!
And thanks for the free ride.

Have a faaaaaaaaaabulous weekend everyone!
X


28 comments

  1. Valerie DaggattJuly 19, 2019

    Good morning, Ron. Your love of New York is catching, even at this time of the morning. My visits were just not enough so I am grateful for your pictures and explanations. Joe and I did try to get to the island but the queues were so long we decided to go see something else. Our loss!

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  2. Holy Cow, Ron . . . I had no idea that the Staten Island Ferry was such a big boat! I've only taken the small ferry to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty. Isn't that a fabulous view from the water?? LOVE IT! And you can't beat free. Glad you had a fun day with a friend and I hope you get back soon so you can go to the museum. Have a super weekend!

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  3. All the years I lived in NYC (the first 44 years of my life) I rode the Staten Island Ferry exactly once (or twice if you count the return trip tho we didn't get off) and that was on the last day that the ferry was a nickel. It was a Good Friday, and we had a half-day at work so we decided we should do the ferry thing before the fare changed to a quarter - just a lark, NYers playing tourist.

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  4. "instead of taking selfies and posting them on Instagram to get more likes and followers." LOL! How true!

    Great photos, Ron! Love the ones of the skyline, they're beautiful. I've never been on the Staten Island Ferry the times I was in New York, but I have been to the Statue of Liberty years ago. Your picture of Lady Liberty is fantastic!

    Hope you get to go to the Guggenheim. It's my favorite museum in New York.

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  5. Ron, I love how you took your own photos and coupled them with the older ones! It's so cool to see them together to see how much things have changed. Don't you love vintage photographs? Seeing how people dressed. I love how all the men wore hats and suits. A lot like today, hu? LOL!

    As always, you're pictures ROCK. Thanks for the ride!

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  6. Ron, these photos are gorgeous, and I can feel your excitement at being in your favorite city again! I love what a clear day you had to enjoy it, too.


    The ferry doesn't look all that different, except for the passengers and the cars. I imagine they planned it that way, didn't they? And how cool that you got to ride for free! I'm not much of a boat-person, but I think I'd enjoy a leisurely ride on a ferry to view the city's skyline from afar.


    Enjoy your weekend. I understand you're baking in the same heat and humidity we are, but they tell us relief is on the way. xo

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  7. Haha...the biggest change is in the passengers! Those old-timers would probably roll over in their graves if they saw how people today dress when they ride the ferry.

    I always really enjoyed ferry rides in Seattle. There's something special about being out on the water, enjoying the wind in your hair, taking in unique views of the city skyline...it's exhilarating. I envy people who actually get to commute to work via ferry!

    Have a great weekend, Ron.

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  8. What a great post, Ron! It brought back long-ago memories of the (few) summers I was in New York. All of the photos are FANTASTIC!!!
    The last time I rode the Staten Island Ferry I was four years old. I think Lincoln was president then. I'm surprised at how prim and proper the passengers looked in the vintage photo. It's great that the ride is now free!


    One of my cousins used to live in Staten Island (she's now here in Tennessee). When I was 18 she and her husband took me to a sleazy Staten Island bar and that was the first time I ever got drunk.


    All of my New York memories are fond ones.

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  9. Hey there Valerie!

    Yes, every time I come back from New York, I feel all "jazzed" and filled with energy. I love that city with all my heart.

    "Joe and I did try to get to the island but the queues were so long we decided to go see something else. Our loss!"

    Yes, even NOW the queues are long. In fact, the line to board the ferry was INSANE when we got there. However, the boat holds up to 1, 250 passengers, so I knew we'd get on. And if with that much of a crowd, the boat was not nearly filled. There was lots of room to walked around.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. my friend Have a lovely weekend!
    X

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  10. I know, can you freaking believe how BIG that boat is? Compared to older ones, it looks like the TITANIC! HA!

    "I've only taken the small ferry to Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty. Isn't that a fabulous view from the water?? "

    Yes...it SURE is. I got very emotional. I've also been to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, but that was waaaaaaaaaaay back in the mid-70's.

    We missed the photo exhibit at the Guggenheim by two days, can you believe that? I'm hoping to go back to NY towards the last week in July, so I may see it then.

    Have a super weekend too! And thanks so much for stopping by!
    X

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  11. Hey there Grace! Nice to see ya!

    I know, isn't it funny how when you actually LIVE in NYC, you barely every do the things that most tourists do when visiting the city?

    OMG....a NICKLE?!?!? That's amazing! While on Staten Island that day, we met this really nice lady who worked for Staten Island and she told us all about the history of the ferry and how they decided to no longer charge to ride it. She actually lives in Jersey, but works in NY.

    Have a super weekend!
    X

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  12. HA! I just couldn't resist saying that, Candice!

    And thank you. Glad you like the pics. Isn't the NYC skyline the BEST? And I especially like it looking at Lower Manhattan.

    Back when I was living in New York, I visited both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. It was kind of scary climbing those stairs up to her crown because it's a totally hollow and open area.

    I've never been to the Guggenheim, but this friend of mine told me about a photographer who we both love having his pictures there in an exhibit, so we were anxious to see it. I'm going back to the city at the end of the month, so I may catch it then.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a fantastic weekend!
    X

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  13. Hiya Matt!

    Thank you! I LOVE vintage photographs and then coupling them with photos of the present because it shows you the history and progression of things, particularly in a city like NY because it's got so much history.

    OMG, the clothing of yesterday was so classy and attractive. Yeah, a lot like today! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Always great to see you, my friend. Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a great weekend!
    X

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  14. Thank you, Debbie :) Yeah, every time I come back from spending time in New York, I get all "jazzed" and filled with creative juice. New York does that to me.

    Yes, I was so happy for the weather we had that day because it was the last day before this horrendous heatwave. It was definitely a warm day, but not uncomfortable.

    The big difference in the ferry then and now is the size, and also that they allow passengers on the top deck, which they didn't allow back when I lived in NYC. They're definitely bigger because they can hold up to 1,250 passengers.

    I'm not really a boat person either. I mean, I have never wanted to take a cruise (unless it was to Alaska), however, the ferry boat is a totally difference experience because it's a short ride and the view is fantastic!

    OMG...it's so hot here right now, I feel like I'm going to explode. Tomorrow is supposed to be the worst (105 degrees). Pray for me!

    Have a fab weekend, my friend. And stay cool!
    X

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  15. Ha! You said it, Mark! Those old-timers would definitely roll over in their graves if they could only see how people dress today!

    " There's something special about being out on the water, enjoying the wind in your hair, taking in unique views of the city skyline...it's exhilarating. I envy people who actually get to commute to work via ferry!"

    I agree! It's both exhilarating and relaxing for me. It would be a great way to start your workday and end it, giving you the time to prepare and then unwind.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a faaaaaaaabulous weekend!

    X to you and Tara!

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  16. Aw...thank you, Jon :) Glad you enjoyed.

    That's right, I forgot you lived in New York at one time, like me. Isn't it a great city? There is so much to see, do, and experience. And it was very different back when I lived there (70's and 80's), yet what always remains the same is the "energy." Which to me, is what makes that city so special and unique.

    "The last time I rode the Staten Island Ferry I was four years old. I think Lincoln was president then,"

    OMG, that cracked me the hell up!!!!

    I know, people back then always looked dressed up. Even in the movies I watch that were back during that time, everyone looked to meticulous.

    "When I was 18 she and her husband took me to a sleazy Staten Island bar and that was the first time I ever got drunk."

    Oh, what a GREAT memory! When I lived in New York, I knew few fellow-actors who used to live on Staten Island because it was cheaper than Manhattan. My friends and I would often take the ferry over to party and then back to Manhattan late at night. Back then, the ferry didn't run 24/7 like today, so we had to be sure to take the last one back or we'd be stuck there overnight.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a grrrrreat weekend and stay cool. I see that most of the US is having a heatwave.

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  17. Ron, being an ex-New Yorker, this brought back so many wonderful memories! My sister's boyfriend lived on Staten Island, so I would take the ferry with her sometimes when she went to visit him and his family. I remember when they used to charge a fee too. But I think it's great that they no longer do because it give the working commuters a break. Also, it's a wonderful touristy thing for anyone visiting New York City.

    LOVE the comparison photographs! God, didn't people dress so much better back in the days? They actually looked like civilized human beings LOL!

    You're photos, as always, are gorgeous! You're love and passion for New York is so evident anytime you talk about it. I think deep down, you really ARE a New York native!

    Stay cool this weekend because it's going to be a scorcher. My husband and I are staying in all weekend because we can't take the heat. x

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  18. Ron. the black and white collage at the top of this post is SO COOL! I love the women standing there under the sign that says "Fare 5 cent!" I remember my grandmother telling me once that when she was a young girl they charge 10 cents to see a movie. I laughed so hard. But she told me that back then 10 cents was a lot of money!

    Wonderful photographs! You're right, the skyline of Lower Manhattan is magnificent. Great shot of the Statue of Liberty as well!

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  19. Hellooooooo there Elaine!

    Yes, I bet being a New Yorker, you've been on the Staten Island Ferry many times! Isn't it such a great perk that they don't charge fee to ride it anymore? When I lived in NYC, I would sometimes take the ferry over with my friends and go to parties. Some of the students I went to school with lived there instead of Manhattan because it was cheaper.

    "Also, it's a wonderful touristy thing for anyone visiting New York City"

    YES! In fact, I noticed a TON of tourist from all over the world on the ferry that day. And they looked like they were enjoying themselves.

    "You're love and passion for New York is so evident anytime you talk about it. I think deep down, you really ARE a New York native!"

    HA! Yes, I also think DEEP DOWN I'm a native New Yorker because it feels as though I was born there. I freaking LOVE that city!

    OMG.....can you believe the heat this weekend?!?! I have barely left my apartment today because it's just too damn hot. It's horrendous. I went out once, for about 30 minutes and came home soaking wet in sweat! UGH!

    Stay cool! And thanks so much for stopping by!
    X

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  20. Hey there Daniel! Thanks :) I decided to make that collage last minute because I kept finding the greatest photographs of the Staten Island Ferry on Google.

    HA! Yeah, can you believe it.....5 cents!!!! And yes, my mother once told me that when she was a kid growing up in Philadelphia, she too would go to the movies sometimes and that it was a dime!!!! Now, it's like TWENTY DOLLARS. And that's without buying any popcorn and soft drink.

    I took about 5 pics of the Statue of Liberty as we were passing by on the ferry, and this one turned out the best.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have an awesome weekend!
    X

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  21. That is very cool and what wonderful views! I'd be all over the free ferry ride, too! I'm so glad that you are able to get to NYC frequently for a fix. :-)

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  22. We were so lucky that day to have such beautiful weather - sunny, and not at all hot or humid because both Ellie and I hate the heat. She is one of my favorite people to walk around New York with because she walks as fast as I do and she's always up for an adventure. She's a LIBRA too!!!

    "I'd be all over the free ferry ride, too!"

    OMG....you would LOVE it! And it's such a great way to see so many of the wonderful landmarks of New York. Just the skyline alone is such a WOW factor!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're enjoying a fantastical weekend!

    X

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  23. Rob LenihanJuly 22, 2019

    Ahoy, there, Cap'n Ron, permission to come aboard!

    Terrific post, Ron! Your photos are so good, I feel like I'm riding the ferry right now. Gimme a salty pretzel!

    I take a ferry to work every day, so I get what you're saying. In fact, the Staten Island ferry had a boat running out of my neighborhood in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn before they built the Verrazano Narrows bridge. The top right photo is actually the one in Bay Ridge.

    Love the old ferry photos and seeing people in the pre-smart phone days. What are those long sheets of paper that everyone is looking at?!?

    I once interviewed a tour guide who told me that the Staten Island ferry offers you some of the best shots of the Statue of Liberty. She said she advises tourists short on time to get their Miss Liberty photos that way, instead of camping out online for God knows how long!

    Thanks for sharing, buddy! Have a great week!

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  24. Ha! Loved your first line, Rob! Cracked me up!

    "... the Staten Island ferry had a boat running out of my neighborhood in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn before they built the Verrazano Narrows bridge. The top right photo is actually the one in Bay Ridge."

    Wow, I didn't know that!? Thank you so much for pointing that out to me.

    "Love the old ferry photos and seeing people in the pre-smart phone days. What are those long sheets of paper that everyone is looking at?!?"

    Can you imagine that those people in their wildest dreams ever conceived of something called a smart phone? In fact, I bet back then many people didn't even have a house phone. They probably used two tin cans and a string LOL!

    Yes, the view you get from the ferry of Miss Liberty is phenomenal! I rode the ferry many time when I lived in NYC, but never once thought to even take a picture. I used my zoom lens to get that shot of her and then was so lucky to find a vintage photo online that almost duplicated it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing about your hometown. I bet you could write a very interesting book on New York City.

    Have a super week, buddy!
    X

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  25. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comJuly 23, 2019

    Wonderful shots! This was one of the rides (free) I took a couple of years ago when I was visiting. The skyline is stunning and your lovely shots do it justice.

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  26. Thank you, Fiona :)

    Isn't the ferry such a wonderful thing to do while in New York? And it's FREE!!!!!

    Many years ago (July of 2001) I took a speed boat ride (New York Media Boat) with some friends of mine up and down the Hudson River. OMG, it was faaaaaaabulous!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrrrrrreat week!

    X

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  27. The shots of Lady Liberty are my favorite, but those last few landscapes of the city skyline are stunning. I think I would love the ferry ride...and wouldn't take one selfie to post! :-) Happy you got to spend the day with a bestie in your most favorite city.

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  28. Isn't Lady Liberty beautiful? I hadn't been up that close to her in years. I remember back in the late 70's when I actually took the Statue of Liberty Tour and climbed to her crown. What a stunning view!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Lisa! Enjoy the rest of your week!
    X

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