Staten Island Ferry – Free Manhattan to Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry 1The free 24-hour Staten Island Ferry is considered by many New Yorkers as a lifeline for making their way from NYC’s southernmost borough, but it also has some of the finest views in the world. From the ferry, you can see the Governors Island to the east and Ellis Island and Lady Liberty to the west, as the Manhattan skyline recedes in the vessel’s wake. Sounds like something that is definitely worth the price of admission, lol

Staten Island Ferry 3The Staten Island Ferry transported people between Manhattan and its future boroughs long before any bridges were built. Today the Staten Island Ferry provides 22 million people a year (70,000 passengers a day not including weekend days) with ferry service between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan. That is a lot of people, lol.

Staten Island Ferry 5My first question when looking into taking the ferry one day was “how long is the ride?” I have since found out that the ride is approximately 25-30 mins each direction. So it would take you an hour if you were to ride it both ways. However, as a word of advice, you have to get off on the Staten Island side and get back on to go back to Manhattan. Depending on the time of day, there could be a long line of people going back into the city and you may have to wait for a while.

Staten Island Ferry 2I was also curious about how often the ferries ran during the weekday and weekends. Looks like the ferries run every 30 minutes, on the hour and on the half-hour. However, during rush hours they run every 15 mins. Rush hours are 6:00 am until 9:30 am in the morning and 3:30 pm until 8:00 pm in the late afternoon and evening.


Staten Island Ferry 6As stated above, the Staten Island Ferry leaves from the Whitehall Terminal, which stands on the southern tip of Lower Manhattan.  To get to Whitehall Terminal, I suggest using Google Maps for directions to the Staten Island Ferry, by subway, bus, car, or by foot.  Public transportation in Manhattan is the best way to get around the city.  Most people will come by subway, and there are numerous train lines that are within a reasonable walking distance, so you most likely won’t have to change trains to get there.

If you are new to the subway system, here is some helpful information:

  • 1 train to South Ferry This is literally right next to the terminal
  • R train to Whitehall Street which is just a short two-block walk to the terminal
  • 4 or 5 trains to Bowling Green, approximately a 7-minute walk to the terminal
  • If the above lines are not convenient for you, you can use these stations, but will require you to walk about 15 minutes to reach the terminal:
    • J and Z trains to Broad Street 
    • 2 and 3 trains to Wall Street

Staten Island Ferry 4Here is some more information you should know about riding the Staten Island Ferry.

  • Free WiFi services are available in each terminal and also on the ferries.
  • Bikes are permitted aboard the ferry.
  • Snacks and food are sold on the ferry, including beer. They are a bit pricey though.
  • There are bathrooms on the ferry, though not as clean as the bathrooms in the terminals.
  • No smoking is allowed.

We have yet had the opportunity to take the ferry to Staten Island, but it is definitely still on our to-do list on a future visit to NYC. Hope you found this article helpful.


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