Saturday, June 11, 2011

IX: On Foot At World's End: Staten Island Ferry

I finally arrive at the Staten Island Ferry after marvelling at the crowd of international tourists in front of the New York Stock Exchange, a pilgrim's destination, grand temple of the U.S. Dollar. The sight of the water provides me some relief, but the crowds of people funneling into the terminal neutralize that feeling quickly. Ferry service from Manhattan to Staten Island is free, and that pleases me as I chalk up a point in the Save It column.

The ferry departs every 30 minutes on Saturday, and I just missed it. Over the next few minutes a crowd of people begins to amass at the exit, taking their positions in the line to board the next boat out. When the crowd of people gets to over a hundred or so a security officer announces, there's no line here. It gets quiet for a second and then someone in the crowd asks, what ?

There's no waiting on line in here is the officer's reply, and he says it with a little attitude like it should be obvious to these people most of whom look confused and speak languages other than English. He doesn't say anything else, and we all stay right where we are. This has nothing to do with me, but I feel anger and frustration rising at this meat-headed security officer who is either to lazy to explain himself and clarify his meaningless statement or too dense to realize his message was not received. I add another point to the Let It Fall column and take a walk over to the pretzel stand. One of the security guard dogs, a German Shepherd, eyes me I think suspiciously. I eaves drop on cell phone calls, and before too long the doors open and the herd of us, speaking all the languages of the Earth, board the boat.

Onboard, I take an internal seat and let the foreign tourists take up the spaces beside the windows with a view of the harbour, Ellis Island and Lady Liberty. When the statue comes into view, a little girl of maybe four looks at her parents excitedly speaking rapid fire French and I get warm inside again. I study the faces, looking for clues, until we dock on Staten Island.

The disembarking crowd guides me outside the terminal to a bus transit center. I purchase a single fare and step onto the first bus I see bound for somewhere else on this island. I can't figure out how to get the card into the thing-ama-jig and the driver finally does it for me after watching me try six or seven different ways. So much for blending in.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Visitor Map