New York City is starting to show signs of Spring. There are moments when it still gets cold and the wind can be chilly, but lately there are more days when the sun shines so brightly, so warm, and when the temperatures are high and the air smells like a new season.
This morning I woke up to the sound of birds chirping outside my bedroom window. I hadn’t heard this sound for some time, and the beautiful sound of nature inspired me to embrace the day to the fullest. But I wasn’t sure what to do. The list was endless. With Midwinter recess in full swing, it seemed as if there was almost a surplus of activities and events going on throughout the city. But with three boys, two of them under the age of 4 to care for, I was not in the mood to venture into a situation where it would be too busy for me to watch my kids.
So I went to my computer and put out the word via her Facebook status. “Looking for an adventure with the boys.” Within minutes her friend John suggested I take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Not only is it free, but, he also pointed out, it was a beautiful day.
“Of course!” I thought, “What a wonderful idea!” So I started getting the boys together, packed up all the necessary supplies, and headed out towards lower Manhattan.
The ride was long. From Washington Heights to the South Ferry Terminal stop it is close to an hour train ride. Lucky for me, it was still early enough in the day where my boys where happy, awake, and playful.
We took the 1 train, after switching from the A, and it took us straight into the ferry terminal. The next ferry was leaving in 20 minutes, so I bought the boys something to drink from one of the nearby food vendors (cash only) and we sat alongside the windows, looking out to the water, and the Statue of Liberty from a distance. The terminal is really spacious and bright, and pretty comfortable, especially when not crowded.
Once the ferry arrived, we quickly boarded, walking towards the back and taking the ferry’s elevator to the third level where we had access to the outside, on the left side of the ferry and could take in the views.
I have read reviews on travel guide sites where people, often tourists, complain about the views from the ferry, often disappointed that the Statue of Liberty is too far away. But there are water tours for closer views of the statue, like the Circle Line, and I recommend that if the purpose is to see Lady Liberty in all her glory that people pay the fee for those purposes.
For the boys and I the views are stunning. The view of the Brooklyn Bridge as they left the Manhattan shoreline, the salty smell of the river water, the sound of small waves softly crashing up on the ferry side as it made it’s way across, the seagulls flying up and down next to them as they watch and took pictures, the Staten Island skyline. To me it was all wonderful. The fact that there was hardly anyone on the ferry made for an extremely peaceful, quiet ride.
The ride is a short one, and often times, once tourists arrive to the Staten Island shore, they loop around the terminal to catch the next ferry heading back to the city.
The boys had really enjoyed their ferry ride, and it might’ve been enough of an adventure for the day. But on this beautiful day, I decided I would do something I had never done before.
I would actually venture into Staten Island and take the kids to the Staten Island Children’s Museum.
So we exited the ferry and headed to the gate indicating boarding location for bus S40 for stop at Snug Harbor.
And the adventure continues. (Read more: Afternoon at the Staten Island Children’s Museum)