Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Floating for Free: COVID and the Staten Island Ferry

Two ferries in the fleet pass each other, March 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney.

The Staten Island Ferry sometimes feels like the last free thing to do in New York City. Operating since 1905, it’s the best view of the Statue of Liberty for tourists, a commuting tool for the rich and poor alike, a pregame spot for Staten Island teenagers, and one of the top places in the city for people watching. In 2019, over 70,000 people took the ferry daily on weekdays, and 25 million took the ferry annually. After the pandemic swept through New York in March of 2020, ridership dropped 66% annually. Throughout the pandemic, the ferry never stopped running, operating on a reduced schedule while ridership was down 90% percent. Mask mandates and other social distancing protocols may have changed the ride, but this New York institution is slowly returning to pre-pandemic numbers.

Passengers at Whitehall station wait for the next ferry, April 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

Passengers embark in Manhattan, April 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

Rules require passengers to remain masked at all times on the ferry, but riders don’t always follow suit, March 13 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

Commuters depart from Staten Island in the early morning, March 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

NYPD officers talk during the journey, March 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

Tourists take photos of the Statue of Liberty from the ferry, April 24 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

The Manhattan skyline from the Hurricane Deck, April 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

Passengers look out at the Statue of Liberty from the Hurricane Deck, April 24 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

A man looks out at the Statue of Liberty, March 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

There are 16 crew members aboard the ferry at all times, April 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney

The Manhattan skyline disappears into fog, April 15 2021. Photo by Trish Rooney




Other Stories in Special Report: Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Life returns to the East Village

Quincy Walter May 5, 2021

Reopening for Ramadan

Hassan Abbas May 4, 2021

And the band played on

Xavier Bartaburu May 2, 2021

Queens residents mourn at Covid vigil

Annie Burky May 2, 2021

COVID-19 has left many Black and Hispanic landlords in serious debt

Norah Hogan April 24, 2021

Village East movie theater reopens to the public

Inga Parkel April 13, 2021

Chinese adoptions halted by COVID

Inga Parkel March 24, 2021

Remote is the new workplace normal

Courtney Guarino March 24, 2021

One year of COVID-19 in New York City

Michelle Diaz March 16, 2021

COVID long haulers deal with lingering symptoms and doubt

Kaity Assaf March 5, 2021

Pandemic Weddings

Chuyan Jiang March 2, 2021

Pandemic fatigue 101

Chuyan Jiang February 28, 2021

Yankee Stadium becomes COVID-19 vaccine site for Bronx residents only

Michelle Diaz February 24, 2021

The queer community rallies behind their sacred spaces closed because of COVID-19

Inga Parkel February 23, 2021

Street vendors struggle as New Yorkers and tourists stay home

Norah Hogan February 13, 2021

Keeping the faith in COVID-19

Courtney Guarino February 3, 2021

Little Italy’s restaurants need indoor dining to survive pandemic

Michelle Diaz February 2, 2021

Stray pets find homes and love during pandemic

Inga Parkel February 1, 2021

No Actors, But the Show Goes On

James Pothen December 5, 2020

New York City, a place of refuge 

Edith Rousselot December 4, 2020

Commuting in a pandemic world

Michelle Diaz December 3, 2020

Battling food insecurities during a pandemic

Courtney Guarino December 3, 2020


Justin McGown December 3, 2020

Honk!: Cars earn a special spot in 2020

Luana Harumi December 3, 2020

Working out looks very different during a pandemic

Chuyan Jiang December 2, 2020

One kitchen’s transformation in the age of isolation

Isabel Beer December 2, 2020

Nursing homes are filled with sadness and loss during pandemic shut down

Inga Parkel December 1, 2020

The show goes on

Norah Hogan December 1, 2020

Loyal members help keep independent cinemas afloat

Courtney Guarino December 1, 2020

Musicians deal with the reality of no live shows as covid takes center stage

Paola Michelle Ortiz December 1, 2020

 Black Friday’s Aftermath

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi November 30, 2020

The Spirit of Little Haiti

Savannah Daniels October 14, 2020

Small business owners hope for future relief

Courtney Guarino October 2, 2020

Brooklyn Book Festival held virtually

Chuyan Jiang September 28, 2020

NYC Restaurant owners worry about maintaining business during winter 

Isabel Beer September 27, 2020

The pandemic is causing mental health struggles for many Latinos

Paola Michelle Ortiz September 24, 2020

Politically divided family can agree on one thing, rallies are bad during a pandemic

Michelle Diaz September 23, 2020

New Yorkers are vulnerable to mental issues due to pandemic

Sughnen Yongo-Okochi September 23, 2020

Healthcare professionals struggle with Trump’s decisions during pandemic

Tori Luecking September 23, 2020

Some Americans Say “Not So Fast” on Operation Warp Speed

James Pothen September 23, 2020

Trump voters unfazed by morality of Trump’s Covid response

Norah Hogan September 22, 2020

Trump rallies continue, despite the rising Covid-19 death toll

Isabel Beer September 22, 2020

Latinos weigh in on President Trump’s management of the pandemic

Paola Michelle Ortiz September 21, 2020

Fast track vaccine causes fear

Kaity Assaf September 21, 2020

It’s business as usual at McSorley’s Old Ale House

Tori Luecking September 20, 2020

Trump defiance to hold indoor rallies amidst COVID-19 sparks polarized responses 

Courtney Guarino September 20, 2020

NYC Cafes and restaurants try and survive the pandemic

Isabel Beer September 19, 2020

A typical afternoon at Shade Bar NYC

Kaity Assaf September 19, 2020

West Village staple, Caffe Reggio, remains open for outdoor dining in the wake of coronavirus restrictions 

Norah Hogan September 19, 2020

Fort Greene’s Dino adds outdoor dining to keep business flowing

Courtney Guarino September 19, 2020