Circle Line or Staten Island Ferry

Old Jul 27th, 2023, 03:47 PM
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Circle Line or Staten Island Ferry

We will be in NYC for four days in October and have a question.
We're there once or twice a year and have our favourite places but we like to try at least one new thing every time, if we can. We've never done a Circle Line boat tour and we've never been on the Staten Island Ferry. I think both have their value -- the SIF is iconic and I understand it goes fairly close to the Statue of Liberty (where we've also never been but it's not really on my list of musts) but I assume the Circle Line tour is more or less a guided tour with some information about what we're seeing. They offer three cruises -- full island (2 hours), half island (90 minutes) and a Sunset cruise (2 hours). I'm really tempted by the sunset one.
Have any of your been on one of these cruises? Opinions?
Also, regarding the Staten Island Ferry, if we went to Staten Island and got off the boat for a few hours are there interesting neighbourhoods to walk in? Is there a 'downtown' Staten Island?
Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.
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Old Jul 27th, 2023, 04:06 PM
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Hello gtg, good to see you.

I took the cruise that circles Manhattan and I really enjoyed it. There was commentary to point out major landmarks and some fun facts about NY. The sunset cruise sounds nice too.

I also took the SIF. That was pretty cool because it was free and we had some great views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. We didn't spend any time in Staten Island so I hope someone else can answer.

Last edited by P_M; Jul 27th, 2023 at 04:15 PM.
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Old Jul 27th, 2023, 04:11 PM
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I've only done the SIF and turned around and came right back. We did enjoy the ride and hope someone else can give you more information.
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Old Jul 27th, 2023, 04:25 PM
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We took the Staten Island ferry in June and stayed on the Staten Island side long enough to enjoy a good seafood meal at a restaurant near the ferry piers going to mid-town Manhattan. I did the trip around the island twice, or maybe three times, a long time ago. Unless you feel that you really need the running commentary, a good alternative is to take the ferry from Gracie Mansion to Wall street; but you would miss the Hudson side of the trip. Taken from the ferry:


Last edited by Michael; Jul 27th, 2023 at 04:28 PM.
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Old Jul 27th, 2023, 05:45 PM
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This is great information, thank you.
Being the romantic that I am, I love the idea of the nighttime cruise. (It reminds me of when we got on the vaporetto going the wrong way at dusk in Venice but that's a whole other story.) That said, a seafood dinner on Staten Island is very appealing. Michael, do you remember the name of the restaurant?
(Hi P_M, nice to see you too! I hope you're well and your sister is too.)
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 04:18 AM
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Thanks for asking gtg. Kid sis and I are doing great. So is middle sis. Hugs to you.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by goddesstogo
This is great information, thank you.
Being the romantic that I am, I love the idea of the nighttime cruise. (It reminds me of when we got on the vaporetto going the wrong way at dusk in Venice but that's a whole other story.) That said, a seafood dinner on Staten Island is very appealing. Michael, do you remember the name of the restaurant?
(Hi P_M, nice to see you too! I hope you're well and your sister is too.)
Didn't remember it, but it is on Google map: River Dock Café
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 10:58 AM
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Thanks, Michael. I'm going to look into that. I think it will either be that or the nighttime cruise.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 12:48 PM
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Make sure that the trip is not during high tide. I just got a report today that one Circle Line cruise could not travel on the Harlem River because of high tide.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 12:58 PM
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I guess I'll have to figure out how to know that.
However, the Staten Island Ferry and the River Dock Cafe are becoming more appealing. Unfortunately their website is under construction but the pictures on facebook look good, especially the patio. Were you there for lunch or dinner?
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by goddesstogo
I guess I'll have to figure out how to know that.
However, the Staten Island Ferry and the River Dock Cafe are becoming more appealing. Unfortunately their website is under construction but the pictures on facebook look good, especially the patio. Were you there for lunch or dinner?

google "Tide NYC"

A late lunch or early dinner, I don't remember which. They had good mussels.
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Old Jul 28th, 2023, 04:16 PM
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Well, this idea is appealing to me more and more!
Maybe we'll save the Circle Line for the next vist.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 08:55 AM
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I've been to the Chinese Scholars Garden which looks like it's about a 10 minute drive from the Staten Island Ferry. I remember it being pretty.
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Old Jul 29th, 2023, 09:50 AM
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I'm going to look that up too -- thanks, William. We won't have a car but maybe there are cabs..
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Old Aug 3rd, 2023, 04:52 AM
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When I was a child, my parents took out of town visitors on the Circle Line. But as teens we loved to take the Staten Island ferry and continue taking it over and back when we are in the city. The views are spectacular!
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Old Aug 4th, 2023, 04:02 AM
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Hi HT
I think the ferry is going to be our choice. We're probably going to do it on the Sunday of our visit. I think we'll go in the late afternoon and have dinner at the seafood place. Maybe we can even take in the Scholar's Garden if the timing and the weather cooperate.
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Old Aug 4th, 2023, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by goddesstogo
Hi HT
I think the ferry is going to be our choice. We're probably going to do it on the Sunday of our visit. I think we'll go in the late afternoon and have dinner at the seafood place. Maybe we can even take in the Scholar's Garden if the timing and the weather cooperate.
Sounds good. The ferry trip takes about 23 minutes each way. The general rule is that you have to exit the boat when it gets to SI and then walk around to enter the waiting room to take the boat back to Manhattan. Depending on timing it may be a different boat and there is a slight chance it will leave when the boat you were on arrives. You would then have to wait for the next departure (about 30 minutes).

One word of caution that I have posted before: the SI Ferry is FREE. However, there are some 'enterprising' individuals who hang out around the ferry terminal entrance and try to convince visitors that you need to buy a ticket and they will offer to sell you one. The police will chase them away but they sneak back.

Anyway, have fun, enjoy your stay in NYC.
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Old Aug 4th, 2023, 06:00 PM
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Thanks, nycg. Ain't no scammers gonna get me -- nosireebob!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2023, 08:14 AM
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I strongly recommend the Staten Island Ferry as a great way to see NYC
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Old Apr 6th, 2024, 02:25 PM
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Hi again,
Well, just to bring you up to date, that October trip had to be cancelled because both of us got covid. Everyone was great about refunding our money for various things so we've rebooked the trip and will be going in a couple of weeks. The Staten Island Ferry is definitely on our to do list but doing it late in the day doesn't work with evening plans so we'll go mid-morning and have lunch at the River Dock Cafe.
Now I have a question about Harlem but will start a new thread about that.
Thanks again for the good advice re the SIF.
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