Best Of

Best free outing


Sure, it’s old, obvious, slow by cigar-boat standards, stodgy, and very, very orange—but seriously, can you name a free ride that’s as much fun as the Staten Island Ferry? You get sweeping views of New York Harbor, a postcard-worthy perspective on the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, encounters with container ships from far-off locales, and even reasonably edible snacks (not free). We New Yorkers forget that the harbor is one of the busiest in the world. During the 5.2-mile ride, you can stand on the front and let the wind gently (and sometimes not so gently) tousle your hair, or retreat to the interior, where the afternoon sun warms the seats and bathes you in a gentle glow. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes or so from the newly renovated Whitehall terminal near South Ferry for the ride across to that bastion of union members who seem to keep voting Republican. Hang around at the St. George Terminal for a little while and you get the return trip, also free. If you stand in front, the skyscrapers seem to rise out of the ground by themselves. Remember one thing: no skateboarding.