Tall Story? Downtown Manhattan From The Staten Island Ferry

New York 009

Doesn’t time just fly. I can’t believe that it’s nearly eight years since we sailed into New York on Queen Mary 2, star of the Cunard fleet. The Atlantic crossing takes seven nights, and seasoned Cunarders will be quick to tell you that this voyage is a crossing (The Crossing in fact) not a cruise. We docked at dawn in Brooklyn after a long and majestic glide up the Hudson River. The Statue of Liberty glowed through the mist. It was May, and a heat wave was brewing.

Over Brooklyn and the dockside cranes a huge red sun was rising. It gave a surreal glow to the instantly recognisable (to us that is) corporate blue and yellow of the new IKEA store (America’s first if I remember rightly). It was set to open the following month, and we later noticed much associated fanfare on bill boards around the city. Free sofa cushions came into it somewhere. I also remember feeling a bit offended that I’d been at sea a week, all pent up for the grand sail-by of the Statue of Liberty and that first stunning glimpse of the Manhattan skyline, only to have this bland blue furniture shed be the next landmark imprinted on my mental landscape.

They should definitely move it.

Anyway, for those visiting NYC by plane rather than ship, you can have the grand ‘sailing into New York’ moment for free, and thus as  many times as you like, on the Staten Island Ferry. Pick your moment for the best shots. Sunset would be good.


Thursday’s Special: tall  Please sail over to Paula’s for more tallness.

36 thoughts on “Tall Story? Downtown Manhattan From The Staten Island Ferry

  1. Good morning Tish….Great post…Thank goodness when I first sailed into New York Harbour in 1966 there was no Ikea sign!
    I commuted on the staten Island Ferry for four years….from 1967 ’til 1971. I have always said it is the best commute in New York City and definitely the least expensive. The perfect way to see Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governor’s Island and so on.
    Hope you enjoy a lovely weekend and manage to keep warm…..janet:)

  2. This shot has the clear colours of Lego, although the architecture is a bit more complex. It looks too smooth to be real. I’m interested to know that the crossing is so adamantly not a cruise – it says a lot about the cruise culture, and possibly about class too.

    1. We had a maritime historian aboard who gave lectures every day – lots of thrilling history about the Cunard line and how in the early days it was used mainly for transporting poor immigrants in the lower decks, while pulling out all the luxury stops for a small number of the very rich in ludicrous comfort above. He also talked a lot about Titanic, which of course went down on this route. A bit unnerving I have to say. Later when those who had emigrated to the US grew more affluent, Cunard then changed itself again. The steerage decks were updated to offer affordable family cabins for those who wished to go on a visit to the home country. Many of the people we met on board were senior US servicemen returning home at the end of foreign postings. And then there were some seriously rich people who seemed to travel by QM2 because they could take all the dogs with them. There was a big kennel on the top deck, and sweet Malaysian young men spending their time exercising pampered pedigree canines large and small. Mind boggling really.

    1. I dare say there were a lot of well-travelled cruise goers aboard, and some did simply stay aboard for the return voyage. But mostly people seemed to have chosen to sail, rather than fly, and were on their way elsewhere. This included quite a large number of invalids; the ship has its own hospital in case of need.

  3. Never did “A Crossing,” though I probably would have loved it and wallowed in the history as well as the cruise. But I did do a lot of Staten Island Ferry which was, when I was a lass, 5 cents. Each way. It was the romantic but really cheap place to take a date. It was the imagination cruise. The best nickel you could spend. That they’ve made it free is wonderful. It’s been a long time, now, but maybe we’ll get back there once more.

  4. What a perfect image Tish. When my daughter and i visited NYC it was very chilly and I thought my hands might freeze off taking photos on the ferry. I’m afraid they turned out nothing like this beauty.

    1. You freezing, me overheating – cities aren’t the best places for either scenario, are they. We nearly melted in 100’F, and spent most of the week in Central Park drinking iced coffee. Phew!

  5. Oh, darn, Tish! I’ve got a tall story too 😦 Hadn’t seen yours- sorry! Somehow I can’t see you with the cruise set, or in New York at all, really, but I imagine it was fabulous (apart from the heat 🙂 )

      1. Yes, indeed. I promised my daughter a visit when she turned 18, but couldn’t afford it then. She is 40 this year. Maybe we will get there 🙂

    1. That was just it, Gilly. I was also amazed how very absorbing it was staring at an ocean where there was nothing to see but sea. I was, however, also confounded (an annoyed) by the fitness faddists who felt obliged to run round and round the promenade deck with all their monitoring paraphernalia. Pathological driven-ness. Felt like telling them, for goodness sake just watch the sea and BE.

  6. Hurray for the Staten Island ferry! My grandfather used to ride it back and forth on those hot NY summer days. I used it for dates. And now that it’s free I have it on my must do list. My character Herb Rose in my Bronx novel has an epiphany on the ferry. BTW IKEA has been out in LA for 25 years. I remember when the docks were in Manhattan.

  7. Great tall story Tish and I enjoyed reading the potted history you gave in the reply to Meg. In 1991 when we rode the ferry it was not free, but the day we went over there was a fire in the terminal, complete chaos, so they just opened the gates and let everyone ride for free that day. Can’t remember how much it would’ve been. All those tiny, ant-like people give the photo a real sense of perspective.

  8. That is a lovely photo. The blue is almost surreal and the buildings look as if they have been cut out and stuck on afterwards!
    Aside from a trip to Seal Island off the Cape Coast the only other boat I’ve been on was the Bristol ferry on a school trip to across the River Severn to the zoo! And that was a looong time ago.

    1. That’s so lovely of you, Jo. Have had a bit of a bug. Also been busy at the allotment. Thank you for your good wishes. Wishing you a happy Easter Monday and hope it’s warmer with you than it is with us. Brrrrr. V. cold wind, and snow on the lawn this a.m.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.