A long-time sailor, my father likes to get out on the water, no matter where we are, even if it’s a big city. So Saturday morning right after breakfast, we took a train to the lower end of the island to catch the Staten Island Ferry.
My mother remembers the ferry costing a nickel when she was a kid. But now it’s even cheaper: it’s free. The commuters who take the ferry to work mostly sit on benches inside, reading newspapers and checking their email on glowing devices. The shoeshine guy hustles between the rows of chairs, looking for customers. The tourists stand eagerly at the rails for spectacular views of the harbor, the wind whipping their hair into their faces.
As we passed the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, I could see people holding up phones all along the rail to snap a picture, jostling each other to get the perfect shot. “I wonder how many iPhones there are at the bottom of New York Harbor,” my sister said to me.
I liked the return trip the best. We found a bench in the sun, out of the wind. It was exciting to watch the skyscrapers get bigger as we got closer and closer to the tip of the island. The bridges in the city are graceful, stretching out across the water to connect boroughs. As we docked, we got up to join the throngs of people hurrying down the gangplank and into the city. My father looking out at the Statue of Liberty