University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel.
Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Published December 30th 2012
See the lady for free
Of all the adjectives to describe New York, cheap wouldn't be top of my list. Especially, if, like me, you're cursed with a particularly non-American accent and are thus regarded as a tourist. Of course, last summer, that was the case for me, and, having run out of money looking at every other tourist-bait attraction in New York, it was refreshing to be able to gaze at the Statue of Liberty for absolutely zilch, courtesy of the Staten Island Ferry.
The irony was not lost on me that the free ferry was located in the middle of New York's financial district; nor was it, in fact, for the seemingly millions of other tourists who decided they wanted to see Lady Libertas herself. That said, the location of the port makes for an altogether interesting day out – once you're done getting an eyeful of a Roman goddess, you can wander Wall Street at your leisure.
The boat, then, was altogether pretty impressive considering its price tag. I have to be honest about the queues: it resembled something almost apocalyptic as the hundreds of people crammed their way into the gateway to get onto the ferry. Lucky for me though, despite being at the back of a very wide line, I had read the guide book, and thus my place on the boat outside on the right hand side (or starboard if we're keeping to theme) was perfect for viewing.
What was perhaps more impressive about the Staten Island ferry was not so much the views of the Statue but instead the New York City skyline – it was quite overwhelming to look back at something from a distance which previously I had only ever seen on television. With the island on one side of me and the Brooklyn Bridge on another, there were panoramic photo opportunities, with ample views of the lady herself, albeit not terribly close up.
The ferry takes around twenty five minutes from St. George to Staten Island, but this is more than enough viewing time. With departures every half an hour, there is no set time to get onto the return ferry – you can peruse Staten Island at your leisure. Not content with my already struggling memory card however, I hopped back on straight away for round two of the journey, this time enjoying its ample seating on board. While there are ferries to Liberty Island itself, I would definitely recommend the Staten Island ferry to those who are strapped for cash – and if you're a bit of a fantasist, it's a great excuse to peruse the Financial District afterwards and pretend you're loaded.