The Staten Island Ferry shuttles around 20 million passengers a year on a transport service between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan. It is 5.2-mile (8.4-km) ride that takes approximately 25 minutes each way. The free ride provides a magnificent view of New York Harbor. You will also be treated to wonderful view of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. An equally notable visual during the short trip is a prolonged glimpse of the Manhattan skyline, both ways. Typical weekday schedules involve 109 daily trips, or over 35,000 made annually.
As expected, the people that make-up these daily ferries offer a treasure trove of human interest moments. It is a dream environment to capture people immersed in often pensive moods, as they seem visibly withdrawn into themselves by the rhythmic ride. Michael Schmidt has decided to document what he sees during these ferry trips. Schmidt is currently a photography student at the School of Visual Arts. Having a keen eye, he is fascinated with the variety and cross sections of people you find on the ferry, and sees many poignant moments worth capturing. Schmidt writes,
“I have always been interested in people watching. I like to analyze others and try to understand them, or what it might be like to step into their shoes and have a glimpse into what their world is like. There is a diverse range of people who commute on the ferry including doctors, lawyers, city workers, students, tourists, the homeless and those who are just looking for a short romantic journey.
I became interested in making photographs on the ferry because it is an integral part of my life. I am of the many passengers who float across the New York harbor to reach my destination. My school is my destination, a place where I focus on my dreams and share common interests with my peers. A place to talk about art and create relationships. Although not all of our destinations are the same, we share this time together. Some use this time to read a book or catch up on lost sleep while for others it’s an adventure.”
View the rest of the images so far on Schmidt’s website.