Staten Island Ferry: Your Ultimate Q&A Free NYC Guide
Welcome to our Questions and Answers on the Staten Island Ferry, a must-visit free NYC attraction and transportation service between Manhattan and Staten Island.
In the following sections of my NYC blog, you’ll discover everything you need to know about this iconic ferry service, including its history, schedules, onboard experiences, accessibility, and more.
Prepare to be amazed by the stunning views of New York City’s skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island as you sail across the harbor on this unforgettable journey.
So, sit back, relax, and let us help you make the most of your Staten Island Ferry experience.
Staten Island Ferry General Information
How long is the Staten Island Ferry ride?
The Staten Island Ferry ride takes approximately 25 minutes, offering stunning views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island during the journey. As you sail across the harbor, you’ll also be treated to breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, including iconic landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, and the Dumbo neighborhood in Brooklyn.
This scenic trip provides a unique perspective of the city’s most famous sights, making it an unforgettable experience for both locals and tourists alike.
Where does the ferry go?
The Staten Island Ferry operates between the Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan and the St. George Terminal in Staten Island, providing a convenient and scenic route for commuters and tourists alike.
For more info on things to do in Lower Manhattan, check out my blogs about Seaport Ice Skating: Free Rink under the Northern Lights and Wall Street Christmas Tree.
Along the way, passengers will sail across the bustling New York Harbor, taking in spectacular sights of Lower Manhattan, the Financial District, Battery Park, and Governors Island.
This journey also offers a unique vantage point for observing the historic Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island to Brooklyn. By traversing these waters, the Staten Island Ferry not only connects two essential boroughs but also showcases some of the most iconic landmarks and scenery that New York City has to offer.
History and facts of the Ferry
How many Staten Island Ferries are there?
The service consists of a fleet of multiple vessels to handle the busy passenger-only ferry system, ensuring timely service for millions of riders each year.
How big is each ferry?
Each vessel can accommodate thousands of passengers, providing ample seating and space for a comfortable journey across New York Harbor.
What is the passenger capacity?
The busiest passenger-only ferry system in the world can carry up to several thousand passengers per vessel, ensuring an efficient and reliable service for commuters and tourists.
What is the history of the Staten Island Ferry service?
The history of the Staten Island Ferry dates back to the 1800s, evolving from privately operated steamboats to the modern-day, municipally run ferry service providing a vital transportation link between Manhattan and Staten Island.
Are there any food or drink options available onboard?
Yes, the Staten Island Ferry features a snack bar that offers a variety of food and drink options to satisfy your cravings during the scenic 25-minute ride. Passengers can choose from a selection of snacks such as pretzels, popcorn, chips, and candy bars.
For more substantial options, the snack bar also serves sandwiches, hot dogs, and pastries. To quench your thirst, a range of beverages is available, including water, sodas, coffee, tea, and even alcoholic drinks like beer and wine.
With these diverse choices, you can indulge in a tasty treat while enjoying the stunning views of New York City’s iconic landmarks.
Looking for more food ideas in NYC? Check out the following guides from my blog: The 10 Best Burgers in Brooklyn and Where to Find Them; The 10 Best Burgers in New York (2023 Updated); Israeli Restaurant NYC: Best Middle East and Tel Aviv Food
Access and Transportation
Is the Staten Island Ferry free?
Yes, the Staten Island Ferry is free for all passengers, making it an affordable and enjoyable way to experience stunning views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.
Related article: Free Things to do in New York
How to get to the ferry from Times Square?
From Times Square, you can take the 1, R, or W subway trains to South Ferry/Whitehall Street Station. Alternatively, you can take the 4 or 5 trains to Bowling Green Station, both located near the Whitehall Terminal.
A related and useful article from my NYC blog is the one about Times Square to Brooklyn Bridge: NYC Subway and Walking Guide.
Where to catch the Staten Island Ferry?
You can catch it at the Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan or the St. George Terminal in Staten Island, with boat running frequently throughout the day and night.
Transportation tips to get to the Ferry terminal
How to reach the terminal by train?
To reach the terminal by train, take the 1, R, or W trains to South Ferry/Whitehall Street Station or the 4 or 5 trains to Bowling Green Station, both located near the Whitehall Terminal.
How far is the terminal from Times Square?
The Whitehall Terminal is approximately 5 miles from Times Square, easily accessible by subway, bus, or taxi in around 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic and transit schedules.
Are there any accessibility features on the ferry for passengers with disabilities?
Yes, the Staten Island Ferry is fully accessible for passengers with disabilities, featuring ramps, elevators, and wheelchair-accessible restrooms to ensure a comfortable and convenient journey for all riders.
How early should I arrive before departure?
It’s recommended to arrive at least 15-20 minutes before the scheduled departure time to ensure you have ample time to board and secure a seat on the boat.
Schedules and Operations of the Staten Island Ferry
Is the Staten Island Ferry running today?
The Service operates 365 days a year, providing reliable transportation between Manhattan and Staten Island, even on weekends and holidays.
How often does the ferry run?
The Staten Island Ferry runs every 15-30 minutes during rush hours and every 30-60 minutes during off-peak hours and weekends. This offers frequent service throughout the day and night.
Does the Staten Island Ferry operate 24 hours a day?
Yes, it operates 24 hours a day, ensuring round-the-clock transportation between Manhattan and Staten Island for commuters, tourists, and late-night travelers.
Is there an all-night service?
Yes, there is an all-night service with ferries running approximately every 60 minutes during late-night hours, ensuring convenient transportation for passengers at any time.
Which side to sit on for the best view of the Statue of Liberty?
For the best view of the Statue of Liberty, sit on the right side when traveling from Manhattan to Staten Island or the left side when traveling from Staten Island to Manhattan.
Can you see the Statue of Liberty during the ride?
Yes, it offers fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as it travels across New York Harbor, making it a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.
Can you stay on the Staten Island Ferry during the return trip?
While you can’t stay on the ferry during the return trip, you can simply disembark and reboard the next departing ferry. Like this you will enjoy the round-trip journey with minimal waiting time.
Do you have to disembark at each terminal?
Yes, passengers are required to disembark at each terminal, but you can easily reboard the next departing ferry for a return trip.
Can you sit outside during the ride?
Yes, the Staten Island Ferry features both indoor and outdoor seating areas. This allows passengers to enjoy the fresh air and panoramic views of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.
Are there restrooms available on the ferry?
Yes, restrooms are available for passengers on the Staten Island Ferry, ensuring a comfortable journey during the 25-minute ride.
Is Wi-Fi available onboard the Staten Island Ferry?
Wi-Fi is not currently available onboard the ferry. However, passengers can enjoy the scenic views and use their own mobile data for internet access during the ride.
Tickets and Parking
Do I need a ticket for the Staten Island Ferry?
No, the Staten Island Ferry is free for all passengers, so no tickets are required for boarding.
Is there parking at the Staten Island Ferry terminal?
Yes, there is parking available at the St. George Terminal in Staten Island, with both short-term and long-term options. Alternatively, you can find parking garages and lots located near the Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan.
Destinations and Activities
What to do in Staten Island after disembarking from the ferry?
After disembarking from the boat, you can explore various attractions. For example, you can visit the Staten Island Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, Richmond County Bank Ballpark, or take a stroll along the waterfront esplanade.
Does the Staten Island Ferry go to Ellis Island?
There is no stop at Ellis Island; however, it offers excellent views of the island during the ride. For visits to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, separate services are available from Battery Park.
Allowed Items and Pets on the Staten Island Ferry
Can you take a bike on the Staten Island Ferry?
Yes, bicycles are allowed on the boat, providing a convenient and eco-friendly transportation option for cyclists.
Are cars allowed on the ferry?
No, cars are not allowed, as it is a passenger-only ferry service.
Are dogs allowed on the Staten Island Ferry?
Yes, dogs are allowed on the boat as long as they are leashed and muzzled or contained in a pet carrier.
Safety and Security
What safety measures are in place on the Ferry?
There are numerous safety measures in place, including life vests, life rafts, and trained crew members to ensure passenger safety during the journey.
Are there security checks before boarding the ferry?
Yes, passengers are subject to security checks before boarding the Staten Island Ferry. This includes bag inspections and random screenings, to ensure the safety and security of all passengers and crew members.
Seasonal and Special Events on the Staten Island Ferry
Are there any special events or seasonal activities on or around the Staten Island Ferry?
Throughout the year, special events and seasonal activities may take place on or around the Ferry. For example, fireworks displays, concerts, or holiday celebrations. It’s best to check local event listings for the latest information.
Does the ferry operate on holidays?
Yes, the service operates on holidays, providing reliable transportation between Manhattan and Staten Island year-round. However, schedules may vary during holidays, so it’s recommended to check the latest information on the ferry’s official website.
Are there any unique experiences offered during the ride?
While the Ferry primarily serves as a commuter and tourist transportation service, it offers passengers unparalleled views of New York City’s skyline. From the boat you will also see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, making it a memorable experience for both locals and visitors.
Are there any guided tours available on the Staten Island Ferry?
Currently, there are no guided tours on the boat itself. However, passengers can use mobile apps, guidebooks, or other resources to learn about the sights and history during the journey.
Can you rent the Ferry for private events or parties?
The service is not available for private events or parties. In fact, it primarily serves as a public transportation service between Manhattan and Staten Island.
Tips to ride on this scenic route
What are some tips for first-time riders on the Staten Island Ferry?
For first-time riders, it’s helpful to arrive at least 15-20 minutes before the scheduled departure time. This ensures ample time for boarding and finding a seat. Make sure to choose the correct side of the boat for the best views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Additionally, remember to disembark and reboard at each terminal if you plan to make a round trip.
Are there any rules or guidelines to follow while on the Staten Island Ferry?
While on the Staten Island Ferry, passengers should follow general safety guidelines and rules posted throughout the ferry. These include no smoking, no littering, and keeping noise levels to a minimum. Additionally, passengers should respect fellow riders and crew members and follow any instructions provided by the crew.
In conclusion, the Staten Island Ferry provides a free, reliable, and scenic transportation option for commuters, tourists, and residents alike. With stunning views of New York City’s skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, it offers a memorable experience for anyone visiting or living in the city.