Making a Morning Out of a Staten Island Ferry Ride
Long before there was the NYC Ferry, there was the Staten Island Ferry. The absolute king of commuter ferries doubles as one of the best free things to do in the city. The boat departs for its five-mile trip every half hour and offers up a glittering view of the city skyline over its 25-minute journey, passing right in front of the Statue of Liberty.
It’s a great hack to share with your out-of-town tourist friends, and it also makes a wonderful day outing for New Yorkers looking for a way to be on a boat for a day. Here’s how to best make a morning out of the jaunt.
Wander The Battery
If you’ve got time to kill before the next ferry departs, or you just want to survey the harbor you will soon be nobly crossing in a mighty boat, take a stroll around The Battery. The wide park around the lower tip of Manhattan is home to an urban farm, the SeaGlass Carousel, bike paths, a children’s play space and three different war memorials.
Fuel Up At Joe Coffee
The local chain with locations across the city has an outpost in the Maritime Building (where the Governors Island ferry departs), making it a perfect spot to fuel up on pastries and single-origin coffee before you head to Whitehall Terminal to catch the ride to Staten Island.
Get On The Boat
Now move your sea legs over to Whitehall Terminal and get ready for the ride! The ferry leaves about every 30 minutes, but you can find the full schedule here. The Manhattan terminal has a few snack bars where you can get a nosh or a beer for the ride. But you might not need it, thanks to the next step.
Hit The Bar
The ferry’s on-board snack bar might be the most unappreciated dive bar in the city. It’s got a selection of truly cheap beers that will elevate your boat ride (though, if you can finish more than two tall boys in one boat trip, stay clear of the edges); and few bars can top that view.
Once you arrive in Staten Island, you can turn right around, run to the other side of the terminal and try to catch the boat back to Manhattan (or worst case, you wait another half hour for the next one). Or you can stay and poke around the island a little. Within a short walking distance to the ferry, you can find a selection of restaurants to grab lunch (including a Shake Shack), Empire Outlet stores and North Shore Waterfront Esplanade Park.
You can also keep up the nautical theme and visit the National Lighthouse Museum. Sadly the Staten Island Yankees are no more, but their old stadium near the ferry terminal may see the return of baseball soon.
Ride The Boat Back
On your way back to the city, try sitting on the opposite side of the boat: if you watched the Statue of Liberty on the way out, take in the Manhattan skyline on the way back.
Cap Things Off At Stone Street
Back on land, have a cheers to your morning mini-adventure with a drink or a lunch at nearby Stone Street. The car-free stretch has ample restaurants and bars where you can cap off your morning journey.
photo: iStockTags: evergreen, staten island ferry