Walking New York

A fat lazy idiot tries to walk every street in Manhattan.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Staten Island Special

That title sounds like an order at a diner or something gross off of Urban Dictionary, doesn't it? Oh well.

I was reading something a couple weeks ago about the Staten Island Ferry, and I was impressed to learn that it runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is always free. Even in the City That Never Sleeps Except In The Late Summer When Everyone Goes To The Hamptons, that's pretty cool. I don't know if I'm ready to meet the kind of people who ride the Staten Island Ferry at 3am yet, so I got on tonight around 8pm to check it out and take some pictures...

The entry to the station in Battery Park is pretty nice, with big old school neon lettering that reminds me of Spiderman for some reason, but I can't think of why. Something with the ride at Islands of Adventure, I think.

The inside of the ferry station in Manhattan feels like a small airport terminal, with bright lights, lots of seating, and some cafes. I was surprised to see no line or any semblance of order, and the reason for that is because the ships can hold up to 6,000 people, and since I'd imagine there are never that many people wanting to get to Staten Island, they're never full. So everyone just crowds around the door until the ferry comes.

The first ship, the Andrew J. Barberi was nicely designed with lots of seating and three outside decks. There were no views from the front or back of the ship, unless they were on the first deck and I missed them. So I had to try to take pictures from the sides only, meaning my Manhattan skyline pictures didn't come out so great, but my Statue of Liberty ones did.

I really abused my camera as we passed the Statue of Liberty with the sun setting in the background, snapping a ton of pictures in a short time at different shutter speeds. This is the one I liked the best.

It might seem like the station in Manhattan would be nice and the one in Staten Island old, or perhaps full of the city's garbage and corrupt sanitation officials, but they're actually both nice, and the Staten Island one is really futuristic and crazy. It also connects to the Staten Island Railroad, which I found out uses the very same turnstile system the subways in Manhattan do. I don't know why I was surprised by that, because it's like a couple miles away, but it feels like going to another country.

A far away view of Manhattan from outside the station in Staten Island. The stadium for the Staten Island Yankees is right behind there, and looks small but nice. No game tonight, so it was quiet in the area. I'll go back eventually either when it's totally light or totally dark out with a longer lens to get some better pictures of the skyline. Everything was sort of hazy over the water tonight, and the painstaking 4 hour process of day turning to night made it hard to get any decent pictures in. How come everywhere else I've lived, the sun sets and then it's dark out, but in New York, the sun sets, then it stays light for hours?

Back in the station in Staten Island, waiting for the ferry. It was insanely cold in there, and if it wasn't a 25 minute trip each way, it would be the perfect summer sanctuary. The most impressive thing was a map built into the tile on the floor, showing the route of the ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island, with Liberty, Ellis, and Governor's Island also marked. I'm going to look more into Governor's Island, because it's really mysterious-seeming, and I think there's a ferry there for the summer only. And even then, just to a small part of it.

My least blurred shot of the lower Manhattan skyline at night. The 1 train goes right into the ferry terminal, and although it stops about a hundred times between there and midtown (Franklin Street? Sheridan Square? 14th, 18th, and 23rd? Are you serious?), it makes a trip to Staten Island pretty easy. Combine that with the American Indian Museum I mentioned in the last post (a couple blocks from the ferry station), and you've got yourself a free afternoon of lower Manhattan fun. Then immediately find a Starbucks and start wasting money again.


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