HistoryIn the early 1800's, the industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt launched a ferry service between the rapidly growing Manhattan and relatively rural Staten Island. The War of 1812 severely halted any commercial boating in the New York Harbor. In 1817, the Staten Island Ferry was officially established to provide a reliable commuting service across this busy waterway. At the time, a wide range of marine vessels created heavy traffic near the bustling ports of New York City. During much of the 19th century, the Staten Island Ferry underwent rapid changes as a result of fierce competition and other municipal regulations. The opening of the Staten Island Railway in the 1860's contributed to a major expansion of the ferry service. In its early years, the Staten Island Ferry fleet was named after the five boroughs of NYC. The modern fleet is classified into several categories that are based on technical specifications and other unique parameters. For example, the relatively small Barberi class was originally launched in the 1980's. The much larger Austen Class can accommodate just less than 1,300 passengers. More than 4,000 people can come aboard the Molinari class.
Route Description and SightseeingA ride on the Staten Island Ferry is an exciting sightseeing adventure with a unique perspective of New York City. While travelling between Manhattan and Staten Island, you'll have the chance to see iconic landmarks and hidden treasures that dominate the scene in the New York Harbor. The ferry passes the historic Ellis Island that welcomed millions of immigrants to NYC during the late 19th century and early 20th century. You'll also get within a quarter of a mile of the famous Statue of Liberty, which has been a symbol of American values and culture for generations. Governor's Island is another notable piece of land that you'll see while enjoying a trip on the Staten Island Ferry. With a heritage dating back to the Dutch colonial period, this 172-acre island has been recently transformed into a recreational space for the public. The western and southwestern parts of Brooklyn are also clearly visible from the ferry. You'll probably notice an excellent view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that links Staten Island with Brooklyn. The Port of Newark, Newark Liberty International Airport and the Bayonne waterfront will also catch your attention during the crossing over the New York Harbor. These are without a doubt the busiest commercial and industrial sites in New Jersey. Additionally, the skylines of Newark and Jersey City should be visible from the ferry. Click to book your NYC Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.
Ferry Terminals and Transportation ConnectionsThe State Island Ferry runs directly between Whitehall Terminal and St. George Terminal. Situated at the southern tip of Manhattan, Whitehall Terminal is a world-class transit hub that's conveniently connected to other rapid transit. Served by the 1 and 2 lines of the New York City subway, the South Ferry underground station is only a few steps away from Whitehall Terminal. There are several other subway stations that are within walking distance from the ferry terminal, such as Bowling Green and Wall Street. Occupying the northeastern part of Staten Island, St. George Terminal is perhaps the busiest transportation hub in the borough. The Staten Island Railway, which is primarily a commuter train line, serves the St. George station. You can also catch an MTA Regional Bus at this busy stop that has multiple bus platforms. Both ferry terminals have large waiting rooms that offer panoramic views of the New York Harbor.
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