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Memories of Staten Island Ferry and Arthur vol.1

I spent most of my NY days in Staten Island. It's on the opposite side of NY bay to Manhattan. The big island had land fills in inland. The garbage was gathered from all over the city and disposed there. Therefore in summer, with some wind direction, it's smell. However Staten Island wasn't just a garbage island. It still had abundant green zone and quiet environment compared to the other boroughs like Brooklyn or Queens.

So why the island didn't become a dense residential area? It must be the reason that the Staten Island was little bit inconvenient place to go to Manhattan. The only public transportation to Manhattan was "ferry".
For instance, Brooklyn, Queens and even Jersey City of New Jersey State had subway connections to Manhattan.
In another words, Staten Island Ferry was very important transportation for Staten Islanders. It took half an hour for crossing the NY bay. With 24 hour service, it shuttled at the feet of The Stature of Liberty. I suppose it must be so eyesore for her. But for me, I loved the Staten Island Ferry so much. In exact, I loved the 30 minutes on the ferry.

Bagel, coffee and coleslaw salad made perfect breakfast for me. Then I got news paper and boarded the ferry. I chose from various seats depend on the weather and feeling. "Should I get the sea breeze on the deck or take a rest in the cabin today?" I read the only part I like on the news paper having the breakfast. I thought about the job which I had to do on the day or photo classes. Gradually, the sky line of the lower Manhattan was approaching. And all passenger was gathering on the deck and preparing for disembarkation.

The ferry dock looked like billiard's pocket surrounded by the log wall. The ship put the head in it. It made big crushed noise. It's so American way. Clumsy operator often hit the ship nose to the dike. Whenever he did so, passengers on the deck staggered hardly and said "Shit!" shaking their head. The disembarking bridge was crossed over the deck and I stepped into the Manhattan. The new day was beginning.

At the end of day, I was relieved when I boarded the ferry. As seeing skyscrapers I remembered the things which had been happen on the day. Different performer played everyday. Shoe shine man always asked me. "Shine! Shoe shine my friend? Shine!"
When I found the familiar person, I talked to them drinking beer on the deck. It's not 2 hour conversation but only for 30 minutes. It must be finished by the ferry getting to St. George Ferry Terminal of Staten Island. After we got to there we said good bye to each other.

Maybe, the 30 minutes of the Staten Island Ferry was the time to refresh my mind and to punctuate my daily life. Packed up subway in rush hour could never give me this luxurious time.

Sep. 2006

Today's piece
"Ferry bridge" NYC, New York, USA 1995

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