Earlier today, I took the Staten Island Ferry and made photos of the sights during the short ride including the Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan, and one of Olafur Eliasson's "Waterfalls" on Governors Island.
From the Staten island Ferry website:
The Staten Island Ferry provides 20 million people a year (60,000 passengers a day not including weekend days) with ferry service between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan.
The ferry is the only non-vehicular mode of transportation between Staten Island and Manhattan. NYC DOT operates and maintains the nine vessel fleet as well as the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island, Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan, the City Island and Hart Island Facilities, The Battery Maritime Building and all floating dock building equipment.
The Staten Island Ferry is run by the City of New York for one pragmatic reason: To transport Staten Islanders to and from Manhattan. Yet, the 5 mile, 25 minute ride also provides a majestic view of New York Harbor and a no-hassle, even romantic, boat ride, for free! One guide book calls it "One of the world's greatest (and shortest) water voyages."
From the deck of the ferry you will have a perfect view of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You'll see the skyscrapers and bridges of Lower Manhattan receding as you pull away and coming into focus again as you return.
A typical weekday schedule involves the use of five boats to transport approximately 60,000 passengers daily (109 daily trips). During the day, between rush hours, boats are regularly fueled and maintenance work is performed. Terminals are cleaned around the clock and routine terminal maintenance is performed on the day shift. On weekends, three boats are used (75 trips each Saturday and 68 trips each Sunday).
Over 35,000 trips are made annually.