The Staten Island Ferry is a delightful way to get a harbor cruise view of lower Manhattan, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty — for free! And dogs are allowed on board (click on “Rules of Conduct”), as long as they are in a carrier or muzzled.
The trip takes a half hour each way, and although you cannot stay on board for a round trip, it is just possible to disembark and re-embark on the returning ferry (otherwise, you’ll spend a half hour on Staten Island, waiting for the next returning ferry).
On the way to Staten Island, you’ll want to be on the starboard side. Hurry up to the top deck (the ferries seem to have either two or three decks) and snag either a seat on the bench (you can park your tush on the back of the bench to see over the people at the rail) or a place at the rail.
Take a good look at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, because this is as close as you can get to them with your dog: pets “are not permitted on…Liberty and Ellis Islands (documented service/assist animals are exempt from this policy)” or on the ferry service (Statue Cruises) that brings you there.
To make the returning ferry in good time, wiggle out of the crowd on deck and head downstairs just before reaching Staten Island. The last few minutes coming in to Staten Island aren’t wildly interesting anyway, so you won’t be missing much.
On the way back to Manhattan, you’ll want to be on the port side (unless you’re done with the islands and Manhattan and want to see Brooklyn from the water instead).
The Whitehall Ferry Terminal (also called the South Ferry terminal) is accessible by the M1, M6, M9, M15 buses and the 1, 4, 5, N, R, W, J, M, Z subway lines.
Staten Island Ferry
Whitehall Ferry Terminal
1 South Street
New York, NY 10004