Tourist Tuesdays: Staten Island Ferry

So last week, I wrote a little bit about the subway system in the city. I’m going to talk about it a little more this week. I had visitors this past weekend (yay for not being all alone while Lewis was in Zimbabwe), and one of these lovely ladies necessitates the use of a wheelchair. This presented a much greater challenge than I anticipated.

First, New York City has a great option for residents with disabilities, it’s called Access-a-Ride. If you are disabled, you can avail yourself of on call vehicles for the same price as a subway ride ($2.75). Also, most buses are accessible. However… and that’s a big however, buses are pretty good within neighborhoods/boroughs, not necessarily for traversing the entire city. And access-a-ride is not available to out of town visitors.

Second, the NYC transit app is completely useless. Google maps, Apple Maps, and CityMapper are great options for navigating the city, but there is no option to search by stations that are handicapped accessible. There is a “quick reference” page (https://new.mta.info/accessibility/stations) that is helpful in identifying stations that are accessible, but it’s definitely not ideal.

I was trying to get to the Staten Island Ferry from our apartment. The two closest stations to us (Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay) are not accessible, so we ordered an accessible Uber to take us to the closest accesible station (Coney Island/Stilwell Avenue). From there we had to go three stations past the Ferry and then we had to walk to the station (which was fine, we did some sightseeing as we made our way south).

Ferries have serviced Staten Island since at least the 1800’s. The first documented ship was commissioned in 1852 and was a steam paddle wheel boat. Almost all the boats commissioned prior to 1860 were sold to the U.S. Government and put into use for the Civil War.

The Staten Island Ferry is one of the last operating ferry systems in New York. There are four boats that make a total of 117 trips a day. The two best things about the Ferry: it’s free! And it sails right past the Statue of Liberty.

On this particular day it was cloudy and cold, so we stayed inside for the first leg of the trip. On the return trip we rode on the second level and went out on the deck to take photos. You can see some really beautiful views of the city. I love riding the ferry, even when it’s cold. I like the feel of the cold air blowing on my face. I love watching the seagulls fly alongside the boat.

If you get a chance to visit this iconic attractions, it’s worth the fifty minute investment of time.

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