We were out quite late the night before so we had a later start this morning. After a leisurely breakfast, Julie and I arrived at the Staten Island ferry terminal about 12pm and just missed the boat. The next was at 12.30, so we waited at the terminal. The ferry runs every half hour and the trip is about 25 minutes, so we were planning on getting the ferry to Staten Island then staying on it to come straight back. The main reason for catching the ferry was to get closer to the Statue of Liberty, rather than visiting Staten Island. From what we had read there isn’t a lot to see there anyway.
The Statue of Liberty is actually on Ellis Island, but the island is closed at the moment for repairs due to Hurricane Sandy late last year. Scheduled reopening is July 4 this year. There are still tour boats which go around Ellis Island, but they don’t get much closer than the free Staten Island ferry so there’s not much advantage in paying for a tour.
The ferry terminal is really big. It reminded me of an airport terminal, but with only one gate. Because we had just missed the ferry there weren’t a lot of people around, but as we waited a crowd started to build up by the door quite quickly so we decided to join the “queue”. It wasn’t much of a queue – more a gathering of people by the doorway. Once the ferry arrived, the door opened and everyone made their way on to the boat. Given the size of the crowd and the disorderly way everyone was gathered, I was going expecting it to be a bit of a push, but everyone got on quite nicely.
Unfortunately on the way over we were on the wrong side of the boat. We had expected it to turn around when it pulled out from the land but it didn’t. Rather than fighting the crowds on the Statue side we just enjoyed the views from our side of the boat, and worked out where we wanted to stand on the way back.
There was plenty of room on the ferry, with two decks. Both were enclosed but they had opened two windows on each side. There is also a small cafe selling cold and hot drinks and some snacks. According to a sign, each floor was licensed to carry about 1500 passengers.
Once at Staten Island they made an announcement that all passengers must disembark. Apparently we weren’t the first people to think of staying on the boat. That particular ferry was docking for 30 minutes while another ferry made the return trip. We weren’t going to get good spots on the other ferry, so we walked outside the terminal and got some nice photos looking back towards Manhattan.
Unfortunately it started to rain a little bit, but it wasn’t too heavy. We secured the first spot in front of the door ready to board the next ferry, and enjoyed a blues band that had gathered in the terminal to entertain the crowd. There seem to be a lot of buskers in New York, which is pleasant when your waiting on the subway, or in this case the ferry terminal.
For the trip back we were right on the railing in the middle of the open window on the Statue side. Perfect position for photos! The was a nice breeze and it was a good ride. We managed to get lots of photos, and asked a man to take some of us before we gave him our spot. Unfortunately those ones didn’t come out very well, but we know we were there 🙂
After that, we met up with Azuo at the Rockefeller Centre for a late lunch. There’s a big food court there so it was quite a handy place to meet. The girls decided to visit Moma after lunch (the Museum of Modern Art) but I wasn’t so keen. By then it was about 4pm and there were some things around that area I wanted to see. I grabbed a coffee from a place Victoria had recommended (thanks Victoria, it tasted just like a Melbourne coffee!) then went to the Nintendo store. There wasn’t a lot to see there, but they had some cool merchandise and a few games you could try.
After that I met up with Stephen and Warren and we went to a massive lolly shop. There were two levels and they sold every type of lolly imaginable. There was a big wall of help yourself lollies, sorted by colour! It was similar to the M&M colour wall, but this was made of various lollies. Even the staircase was decorated with lollies! It was a really cool shop, and the smell was amazing. In our wanderings we came across a smaller Statue of Liberty, which looked a lot like the original.
It was starting to get late by then and we were all pretty tired, so we went to the Converse shop to collect my new shoes, then we went for Mexican (again!).
Dinner was followed up by frozen yoghurt for dessert at a place called 16 Handles. They have 16 different flavours of soft serve frozen yoghurt. You serve yourself and add toppings (fresh fruits, chocolate chips, crushed cookies, nuts, toppings) and then they charge by weight. It’s a clever concept and was really yummy, although we decided the Pink Berry near our apartment had nicer yoghurt.
After that we all went home and had an early night in bed.