The Five People You'll See Aboard the Staten Island Ferry
When I was a senior in high school deciding where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life, there was one thing I knew I needed— easy access to Manhattan. I started acting for film and television projects when I was in high school, so when I was making my college choice, I wanted to be somewhere that I could study something totally different from acting, but still be able to get in and out of the city for auditions. Thankfully, it’s been working out and I’ve had some guest roles on TV shows that film in New York (Law & Order: SVU, Blue Bloods, One Life to Live, etc…). Anyone who knows acting, knows that it’s a bit of a gamble. The odds are always against you and chances are, you’re not going to book the first project you audition for. That being said, I’ve spent more than enough time aboard the Staten Island ferry traveling to and from auditions. If I'm going to be honest, it’s basically like a half hour free trip to the zoo. You could people-watch for hours! Now, I would like to think I’m a relatively friendly person. But when there are a hundred empty seats and the creepy guy with four teeth and a strong odor of last week’s trash chooses to sit next to me, I have to wonder why? Why me? What did I do to deserve this?!
After inputing these many hours of commuting experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are five standard breeds you are guaranteed to see on the wonderful Ferry of Staten Island:
1. The Tourist
This breed can usually be identified by the massive camera held up to his or her face. They are most often seen during the spring to late summer months when they flock in particularly large numbers. Be on your toes during tourist season, you never know when you might get in their way as they stampede to and from the docks.
2. The Crazed Staten Island Mom
This breed is often heard before it is seen. She can be found screeching at her cubs as they jump all over her, run throughout the main deck, and beg her to buy them soft pretzels from the ferry concession. She can be easily identified by her exhaustion, frustration, and hoarse voice.
3. The Workaholic
Briefcase in one hand and Wall Street Journal coupled with Blackberry in the other. These kinds are rarely seen unless it’s rush hour. Most often found on the lower, “quiet deck”. Constantly on their phones reading emails, answering phone calls, or checking market changes. Warning: DO NOT APPROACH. They are in the zone 24/7.
4. Loud Music Guy
Now, here is something I will never understand. Headphones. Head-phones. Phones that are meant for your head. Yours, not mine! So, I would like to think that I should not be able to hear your music while it is playing on YOUR headphones while the ferry boat motor is roaring. Alas, this is not the case. Perhaps I’m not adventurous enough with my music tastes, but I’m perfectly content listening to my own music. I really don’t want to hear yours as well. Needless to say, this is a subject that really irks me, so I’ll move on before I spend anymore time on this noise pollution problem.
5. The Wagner Student
It’s always nice to see a friendly face aboard the ferry. It might be a business student heading to an internship, a group of friends off to dinner and a Broadway show, or depending on the season, a Knicks, Yankees or Mets Game. My advice for when you see them: latch on and make a friend. It’s better than sitting next to Loud Music Guy or the creepy man with four teeth.
So there it is, my friend. I urge you to take a trip aboard the ferry and see for yourself. It may not be a luxury cruise ship, but it certainly gets the job done. After all, it is free and the views ain't too shabby. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Statue of Liberty and the awesome skyline leaving the Manhattan side. For those, I am grateful to live on the beautiful Island of Staten any day of the week. : )
**Sidenote, I’m actually writing this blog as I’m on the ferry coming back from an audition. All the breeds have been noted and accounted for.