FiDiaries: A Seafaring Software Engineer Bids Ye Ahoy

That software engineer you see weekday mornings bounding off the unmistakable orange watercraft at Whitehall Ferry Terminal and hightailing it to work at an all-in-one HR platform for mid-sized companies? It’s me. My colleagues affectionately taunt me for hopping coasts from California to the city that never sleeps just to plant my flag in “the forgotten borough” but I let their jibes about living in Staten Island roll away like highfalutin water off a duck’s back. Why? Because besides relishing the lower population density and affordability offered by New York City’s redheaded stepchild, I adore my 25-minute commute to and from the Financial District.

The voyage serves as a time of respite as I gaze across the water at Lady Liberty whilst sipping my coffee: the camaraderie, the chance to catch up on work assignments or emails, a DIY party cruise in the evenings. No joke; the Staten Island ferry has a nightlife all of its own. The best part is, if you frequent FiDi, you can hope aboard 24/7. Did I mention that it’s a free ride and you can grab a $4 beer from the ferry vendor or BYOB to savor along with Manhattan’s luminous skyline as the sun sets? Talk about the city’s most romantic and cheapest date! Just don’t be offended when the ferry docks and you’re kicked off to re-board the next returning ferry. This practice was (understandably) put into place to keep passengers from treating the ferry like a floating rave hotel for days at a time.

During the daytime, those braving interborough waters have their pick of two ferry classes: the rangier, more modernized Guy V. Molinari ferries and the more squat Barberi crafts (which are more prone to crash, according to two-ever such incidents, but don’t think about it). Depending on which model you board, you may be greeted by a sunny ‘70s euphony of orange and buttercup-yellow injection-molded seats, or the cooler tones of old school wooden benches amidst understated greys and greens. Either way, the Staten Island is an aesthetic experience fit for anyone who loves to explore Fidi’s surrounds.

Better yet, if you’re a true urban pioneer, you can disembark anytime before 6 PM on school nights at Staten Island’s Saint George Terminal and stroll uphill to Rispoli Italian Pastry Shop. My co-workers magically set their interborough elitism aside when I come into work bearing flaky, custardy manna from this adorable bakery’s well-stocked counters. If only they could taste Rispoli’s immaculate cappuccinos. I’d be fending off new cannoli-fiend neighbors in heartbeat.

Lastly, I’d be remiss not to point out to all you landlubbers that the Staten Island Ferry is surrounded by the kind of lore that makes bragging about FiDi’s perks so much fun. Case in point, Staten Island resident Joe Reginella managed to erect a farcical memorial statue in Battery Park of a naval catastrophe involving the boat and one gargantuan octopus, convincing a number of tourists that the beastly cephalopod had taken down a doomed ferry in the sixties. Now, if that’s not a killer yarn to spin for your office mates as they buoy their way through a ferry odyssey of corporate bonding some Friday sundown, I don’t know what is. Just make sure everyone you bring aboard knows how to swim.