South Ferry (Manhattan)

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This article is about a geographical location in Manhattan. For other uses, see South Ferry (disambiguation).
View of South Ferry in December 2014
Battery Maritime Building, where the Governors Island ferry leaves from
Entrance to the South Ferry – Whitehall Street subway station

South Ferry is at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City and is the embarkation point for ferries to Staten Island (Staten Island Ferry, through the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal) and Governors Island.


The origin of the name South Ferry is probably one of the more misunderstood trivia, even to New Yorkers accustomed to using it in a geographical sense. One would suppose that it is so called because it is at the southern tip of Manhattan, and it hosts ferries. In actuality, it was the name of the South Ferry, one of several ferries between what were then the separate cities of New York and Brooklyn. The "Old Ferry", which later was renamed the "Fulton Ferry", crossed between Manhattan and Brooklyn from streets that in each city would eventually be renamed "Fulton Street" after the ferry company. The "New Ferry" crossed further east, between Catherine Street in Manhattan, and Main Street in Brooklyn.

As the City of Brooklyn grew, the area south of Atlantic Avenue (known as "South Brooklyn") began to become built-up, but lacked easy access to the ferry terminals in the northern parts of the city of Brooklyn. Thus, a new ferry was established in 1836 to take passengers directly to Atlantic Avenue and the southern parts of the City of Brooklyn, and so was called the "South Ferry". The ferry connected to the foot of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad (later part of the Long Island Rail Road) through the Cobble Hill Tunnel. In addition, South Ferry was the name of the Brooklyn landing and ferry house of the aforementioned ferry.

Battery Park, abutting South Ferry on the west, has docking areas for ferries to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.


South Ferry is served by several New York City Subway stations.

Also serving the ferry terminal directly is the M15 Select Bus Service route via a bus loop directly at the front door of the terminal; other bus routes, such as the M5, M9, M15, and M20, stop on nearby streets.

In earlier years, South Ferry also hosted a four-track elevated terminal with access to all Manhattan elevated train lines running up Second, Third, Sixth and Ninth Avenues. These lines were closed in stages from 1938 to 1955.

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