If you are in the downtown area of New York City you should consider riding the Staten Island Ferry. Not only does it take you to Staten Island, which is one of the least visited borough of New York City, but you also pass the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island giving you great views of both icons.
Back in September I met Melek in New York City for five days and we chose to ride the Staten Island Ferry for the views of the Statue of Liberty. What we were not expecting was to have such a great time on Staten Island as well. After disembarking at the St George terminal we walked around the area within a mile of the terminal and found it to be quite and relaxing compared to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. We kind of haphazardly wandered the various streets and checked out a comic store, music store, and finally a coffee shop. Here we had drinks and gelato while chatting with the lady who ran the shop for the last 10 years. It was a really good day.
The Staten Island Ferry originated in 1817 as a steamboat service by the Richmond Turnpike Company. It was bought and merged several times before the City of New York gained control in 1905. Almost 24 million people ride the Staten Island Ferry each year and it is the single busiest ferry route in the United States and the busiest passenger-only ferry system in the world.
The ferry is very popular among tourists because of the views of the New York Harbor and Manhattan skyline and it has been featured in several films and used as establishing shots in TV shows and movies. The best part is that the Staten Island Ferry is free as of 1997. One tip I can give you is to make sure you are on the starboard (right) side of the ferry on the way to Staten Island and the port (left) side on the way to Manhattan so you get the best view of the Statue of Liberty.