Recent rides on the Staten Island Ferry, especially on good weather days, have been enjoyable as always, full of the usual sights of iconic landmarks and dazzling ships in the harbor. Even before the ferry left the dock, on every trip, passengers engaged in the same comforting routine. While visitors crowded the railings for pictures of the Statue of Liberty, commuting residents assumed their usual positions in the interior, yawning or pulling out a book. Adventurous types crowded the deck closest to the next docking, never minding their windblown hair. As everyone knows, most people riding the ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island get off the boat and immediately walk around for the ride back, this in spite of organized efforts to go forth and enjoy the bounties of Staten Island. Some people, and this includes me, just like being on a boat.
At this time of year, as spring leafs out into full-blown summer, the ferry experience is taken up a notch. Musicians of a high caliber have been entertaining waiting passengers. On a recent day, the crowd at the Whitehall Terminal listened to a couple of exceptional guitarists playing a cool jazz-rock fusion of original songs, while a self-described "cajun cellist" entertained in the St. George Terminal, including a haunting and rather memorable instrumental version of Leonard Cohen's overplayed "Hallelujah." Both sides of the harbor enjoyed brisk DVD sales. The musicians were performing officially as part of the MUNY (Music Under New York) program.
Open year-round, the Staten Island Ferry Terminal Greenmarket is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. This past Friday, the market was amply stocked with perky sunflowers, tomato plants, and a variety of peppers plants for outdoor summer container gardening.
The ferry ride's close proximity to Governors Island (images below) affords a sneak peak at the island's coming attractions. Beginning Memorial Day weekend, May 26-28, Governors Island will be open every Saturday, Sunday and Holiday Monday (Memorial Day and Labor Day). Exhibitions will include Graphic Design—Now in Production, co- organized by Cooper-Hewitt and the Walker Art Center in Building 110, and Mark di Suvero at Governors Island: Presented by Storm King Art Center. The ferry ride offers a good view of Mark di Suvero's pieces from across the water. Many more special events are planned for the island summer season. Ferries to Governors Island from Manhattan depart from the Battery Maritime Building, just to the east of the Staten Island Terminal. From Brooklyn, ferries leave from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6.
Finally, those wishing to capture special moments in New York's changing skyline should always consider the vantage point of the Staten Island Ferry.
• Official website for the Staten Staten Ferry
Recent posts on Staten Island:
• In Staten Island's Snug Harbor, a Secret Garden
• The Living Spirit of Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church
Coming next - a visit to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Grotto in the Rosebank in Staten Island's Rosebank neighborhood. Part of the series on historic preservation.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from May 10 and 11, 2012.