Daily Archives: September 23, 2013

A Moonlight Manhattan Circumnavigation at the End of Summer

By Johna Till Johnson

(Sorry, no photos this time! For one thing, I didn’t have a camera. And for another, it was, ahem, dark. So I’ve used a few of Vlad’s photos from previous circumnavigations.)

She rose up ahead of us, brilliantly lit in all her resplendent orange glory: the Staten Island Ferry, blazing against the dark night sky.

It was around 3:30 AM, and she was docked at Whitehall, at the southern tip of Manhattan.

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m deeply wary of the Staten Island Ferry. (“Deeply wary” sounds way better than “scared silly”, which is closer to the truth—of all the ferries, this one is the largest and seems to move the fastest, and I worry irrationally that one day I’ll be caught in its churning engines.)

Staten Island Ferry

A daylight view of the Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall

This night was no exception: There were ten of us, and the brisk ebb current was pushing us relentlessly into the ferry’s path.

The question was (with apologies to the Clash): “Should I stay or should I go?” Should we bank on the ferry’s remaining docked for the five minutes it would take us to glide past, or should we hold up and wait, back-paddling against the current, while she departed?

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