Each year, the Staten Island Ferry transports more than 22 million people between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan.  Among these people are commuters, tourists, lovers, and me.  My fascination with the Ferry began the first time I came to New York.  Since that very first trip across the New York harbor, the Staten Island Ferry has served multiple purposes for me and my relationship with it still fluctuates to this day.  It has always remained a place for me to think and be alone, even in a large crowd of people.

  I have spent months recording my passing thoughts on the Ferry, gazing over the railing into the Upper New York Bay.  Masaru Emoto, a Japanese author, researcher, and photographer, believed that humans and water have a very complex relationship, where our thoughts can positively and negatively affect its existence.  Considering how many people ride the Staten Island Ferry each day, one can only imagine the negative and positive thoughts that have flowed into the water that keeps it afloat.  Where I am in this mix is still uncertain, as my relationship with the Ferry fluctuates.  Each time I ride the Ferry a new feeling or thought arises, ranging from the strange calmness a 9:30am ferry ride offers right after rush hour, to the eeriness and emptiness that the 2:00am ride evokes.

  The following is a collection of photographs and text that begins to explore how my relationship with the Ferry has changed over time, as well as how our relationships with other people can affect our connection to certain places.

Before.

Timing is everything.


It doesn't get much more touristy than the Ferry.  Well, except maybe Times Square.  But there you don't have a monument.  On the Ferry, you have the Statue of Liberty, and nothing screams New York more than the Statue of Liberty.  It's free. It's easy.


The first time I rode the Ferry was when a friend came to visit me the summer that I moved to New York.  We were tourists surrounded by other tourists.  On the way to Staten Island, we sat on the wrong side and couldn't see the Statue of Liberty.  I bought a postcard in the terminal.  On the way back, we saw the Statue.  You could smell the water and hear the engine.


The second time I rode the Ferry was a Wednesday.  It was around 11am.  I didn't go there with the intention of riding it.  I was in the area and had time to kill.  It was not as crowded as the first time I came.  I sat on one of the outside balconies.  The water makes it really windy.  At first I was overwhelmed with this rushing sensation, but after a while, I felt calm.  I could breathe.  I could think clearly, despite all the people around me.


I can't count how many times I've ridden the Ferry since then.  When I tell people I ride the Ferry to clear my mind, they give me a funny look.  You'd think with all the people, this would not be a place to do such a thing.  However, if you time it right, it can work out.  Anytime after morning rush hour during the week.  Anytime after 8pm during the week.


I don't know what it is.  Maybe it's the colors.  So much orange and green and blue.  Maybe it's the sounds.  The combination of rushing water and the hum of an engine.  Maybe it's this strange place that is not quite sea and not quite land.  I can't put my finger on it, but something keeps me riding the Ferry, even though I have no reason to.  It's comforting.


This is a home to me.

During.

Staten Island is a world of its own.


Some people don't think it should even be considered a borough of New York City.  I haven't spent enough time here to make a judgment.  Jus the occasional walk-around when I miss the ferry ride back.


Staten Island is a far way from my home in Bushwick.  I felt special when he still wanted to hangout with me.


I never actually rode the Ferry to meet him.  But I always wondered if I'd ever seen him on it.  It's a really big boat.  Or ship.  Or just ferry, I guess.  There are probably parts I've never seen.  Maybe we've crossed paths and never even known it.  It's a big space with room for a lot of people.  A lot of people with a lot of feelings.


I don't know why the boys in my life can never seem to make up their minds.  It's always a back and forth kind of thing with them.  One day he likes me and the next he's not interested anymore.  But then again maybe he is.  He doesn't know, but I'm always hopeful.  In any case.  In any scenario.


I've allowed this boy to affect my relationship with the Ferry.  He doesn't even know it.  As this relationship, if you can even call it that, fluctuates, so does my relationship with the Ferry.  My thoughts have gone from positive to negative.  Back to positive.  But mostly negative now.  If Masaru Emoto is right and our thoughts affect the water around us, I can't help but feel like I'm creating an immense amount of pollution in the New York Harbor.  The Ferry has always been a place for me to think and I think a lot.  Maybe too much about this.

I find that maybe I no longer really ride the Ferry just because I want to. Maybe I ride the Ferry because I want to see him.  I want him to want to see me.  I think maybe I just want anyone to want to see me.  It just happens to be him at the time being.  Eventually someone else will come along, where the Ferry won't be as integral.  It will be another place, with a different relationship tied to it.  It's still a place, and it still has a connection.

I let people take advantage of me.

This was a home once.

After.

It's been four months since I rode the Ferry.


I tried to go back many times but I just couldn't convince myself to do it.  It was like I had no reason to anymore.  Even though before, I really had no reason either.  I just didn't want to anymore.  I guess maybe I was afraid, even though there was really nothing to be afraid of.  I often get too much into my head and it prevents me from doing these things.


I've convinced myself that it isn't about him anymore.  It didn't take much convincing, because this is really the case.  I met him once.  We talked everyday, but spent time together only once.  It sounds crazy to get so hung up on a boy that I barely even experienced.


I don't want someone to ruin my connection with something else.


When I rode the Ferry again, it was because I had to come to the realization that it had nothing to do with him, but with myself and how I deal with relationships in general.  It was him at the time being, but the process was truly about everyone up until that point and me.  Maybe it wasn't him that ruined my relationship with the Ferry.  Maybe it was me.  It's not the same, but it's getting there.


I'm still rebuilding.  

Using Format