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The Staten Island Ferry is not only essential to New York's morning commute, but is also a great way to see the bay's most famous sights. Here are a few facts to accompany the best views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and other New York Harbor icons!
The original routes were operated by individual boat owners until the Richmond Turnpike Company ran the first motorized ferry to Staten Island in 1817.
In 1901 a ferry sank in a collision and the City of New York used it to justify taking over the service. Staten Island had been consolidated into the city just three years before.
The MV John F. Kennedy was built in 1965 and named to honor the murdered president. It was built as part of 3 "Kennedy class" ferries but is the only one still in service.
That's 70,000 people a day on weekdays alone! Between them, the ferries make about 37,180 trips a year!
Ticket prices were scrapped under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His office realized that covering the cost of collecting fares would make ticket prices unaffordable for most commuters!
The Staten Island Ferry is completely free, but if you want to visit the Statue of Liberty and/or Ellis Island then you'll need to book tickets aboard a different ferry. Tour prices for both start from $24.
The Staten Island Ferry runs regularly all day long, but avoid rush hour if you're planning a relaxed sightseeing trip! For a full schedule of departure times visit siferry.com.
The best seats aboard the Staten Island Ferry depend upon what you most want to see. When departing Manhattan, the best views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are from the front of the ferry. (If you can, grab a space more to the right.) For Governor's Island and the Brooklyn Bridge sit anywhere on the left, or else sit at the back for panoramas of lower Manhattan.
- When to visitThe ferry runs regularly all day, everyday. Check exact times online to plan your trip.
- What is the price?The ferry is always free!
- Will I need a guide?A ferry guide is not necessary, but might want to include the ride on a city tours.
- How to get thereIn Manhattan, take an MTA bus or Subway to 4 South Street. In Staten Island, go to the Staten Island Railway (SIR).
- Additional tips
- Times highlighted in yellow on the schedule are commuter-packed trips.
- The main deck usually has lots of space and is great for pictures.