Free

Posted by Ellen

For most of the twentieth century, the fare for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry--a five-mile, twenty-five-minute trip between Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island and St. George Terminal at the northern tip of Staten Island--was a nickel. By the late 1960s, when I took my ferry ride, there really wasn't anything else on earth you could still buy for a nickel; even a coke had gone up to a dime.

In the 1980s and 1990s the ticket price was raised a couple of times, till it cost a quarter. But then in 1997, for reasons I know nothing about, the fare was dropped altogether. It's a free ride now, and it operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Last year, people made twenty-one million trips on the ferry.

These people were taking their free ride late one night in December 2010.

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