Most visitors—and even some New Yorkers—don’t know that the Staten Island Ferry makes its own daily excursion within Polaroid distance of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Governor’s Island. And riders pay absolutely nothing for the great views. You simply board the ship (be sure to wait for one of the older orange-and-green boats, because the newer ones don’t have decks for viewing) and, as with the Circle Line, sit on the right side (stay at the back of the ferry for the best view of the Manhattan skyline). It’s a joke in New York that this is the best “cheap date” in the city, so don’t be shy about toting along a bottle of wine, some bread, and cheese. But be sure to dress warmly: In winter the outdoor decks can be frigid. One-way, the trip takes approximately a half-hour, after which you’ll disembark and take the next ferry back.
- Pauline Frommer