Staten Island Ferry And Terminals – 1960
This aerial photograph taken April 5, 1960 shows one of the boats of the Staten Island Ferry in motion while the other ferry boat is idle. The Whitehall or South Ferry terminal (originally named the Municipal Ferry Terminal) was built between 1908-1909 by architects Richard A. Walker and Charles Morris. The terminal was stripped to its steel skeleton and reconstructed in 1957.
The Staten Island Ferry used this utilitarian structure until September 8, 1991, when a mysterious fire badly damaged the building. An interim terminal was set up in the lower portion of the terminal which operated for many years while plans for a new terminal were bandied about for years. Finally the new Whitehall Terminal was constructed and rededicated in 2005.
The 25 minute crossing to Staten Island offers one of the great bargain viewing sites of the city from the harbor: in essence, a cruise for free.
When the fare was established in 1897 it was a nickel. For an incredible length of time, 75 years, there was no fare increase until October 10, 1972 when the fare was raised to ten cents. That price lasted less than three years when in 1975 the fare was increased to 25 cents. With the city coffers needing more money the fare was increased again on August 1, 1990 to 50 cents. After much protesting by Staten Island residents, the fare was eliminated entirely on July 4, 1997.
If you do take advantage of a free round trip on the Staten Island Ferry, you must get off the boat in Staten Island and re-embark. A small inconvenience for a an otherwise all encompassing bargain.