Staten Island Ferry ~ Everyone wants to see the Statue of Liberty. Ferry tours there start at $12. But the Staten Island Ferry for commuters, cutting across the New York Harbor, is absolutely free and has long held the distinction as the single greatest free attraction on the Eastern Seaboard. Around since 1905, the ferry carries 19 million across the harbor each year. Technically for transport in between Staten Island and Manhattan, most visitors simply hop back on to get back to New York.
Like riding the subway, paying $14 for a movie ticket, and making a tipsy 2 a.m. pizza run, weekend brunch has become somewhat of a New York City custom. And one we take quite seriously. (After all, it is the only time drinking Champagne before noon is acceptable—nay, admirable).
One of the best rides in town is onboard the Staten Island Ferry, a free 25-minute trip that affords views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island, and the majestic Statue of Liberty. For a nominal fee, a ride on the East River Ferry includes views of Manhattan as well as the Brooklyn Bridge, On weekends, New York Water Taxi offers free 20-minute rides between Pier 11 on Wall Street.
A stirring symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty has been a beacon in New York Harbor since 1886. With her torch ablaze more than 300 feet (91.5 meters) above the ground, "Liberty Enlightening the World" (the statue’s official name) is only accessible via commercial ferries, which offer amazing vantage points for the perfect vacation snapshot. Once on Liberty Island, free National Park Service tours fill in the details about sculptor-designer Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi’s copper-sheeted…