A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 11, 2015
“The Staten Island Ferry is the poor man’s Circle Line”

The Circle Line is sightseeing service that operates in New York’s waterways; a tour guide explains the attractions. The Staten Island Ferry goes from lower Manhattan to Staten Island and gives a free view of the Statue of Liberty—minus the tour guide.

The Staten Island Ferry was called the “poor man’s cruise” in 1963. The ferry has been called the “poor man’s Circle Line” since at least 2003.

“A ferry is the poor man’s cruise ship” is a similar saying.


Wikipedia: Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is a passenger ferry service operated by the New York City Department of Transportation. It runs 5 miles (8.0 km) in New York Harbor between the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island. The ferry operates 24/7.

Wikipedia: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
The Circle Line is the collective name given to two sightseeing ferry operations in Manhattan:

. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises at 42nd Street which circles Manhattan from its base at Pier 83 in Manhattan
. Circle Line Downtown operates out of Pier 16, South Street Seaport. The company name is Circle Line Harbor Cruises, LLC. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Circle Line Statue of Liberty. 

24 October 1963, Hutchinson (KS) News, pg. 5, cols. 5-6:
Poor Man’s Cruise
NEW YORK (AP)—The greatest 5-cent ride in the world, the Staten Island ferryboat from lower Manhattan to Staten Island with an unexcelled view of the Statue of Liberty and New York en route, was enjoyed by 26,657,580 passengers and taken by 1,788,936 vehicles in 1962. Six ferry boats carried the record load of commuters and sightseers.

Daily News (New York, NY)
TOURISTS ON A HELL RIDE
Sightseers’ free harbor trip ends in horror
BY LISA L. COLANGELO and JOE WILLIAMS
Thursday, October 16, 2003, 12:00 AM
It’s known to savvy tourists as the poor man’s Circle Line, but for yesterday’s out-of-towners, the free trip across the harbor became a terror ride they’ll never forget.

“We were looking at the Statue of Liberty and then heard all this screaming,” said Keegan Stokes, 15, of Colorado, who was visiting Manhattan relatives for the first time with his twin sister, Kevyn. The ferry slammed into St. George station on Staten Island around 3:20 p.m., causing mayhem and panic.

Google Books
Frommer’s New York City for Free & Dirt Cheap
By Ethan Wolff
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
2004
Pg. 287:
You’re now very close to the poor man’s Circle Line, the Staten Island Ferry (718/ 815-BOAT). This is one of my all-time favorite NYC freebies.

Google Books
How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel:
And Other Misadventures Traveling with Kids

By Sarah Franklin
Berkeley, CA: Seal Press
2008
Pg. 99:
The Staten Island Ferry is the poor-man’s circle line.

New York (NY) Times—City Room
Dating When the A.T.M. Warns Against It
By TRYMAINE LEE SEPTEMBER 21, 2009 9:30 AM
(...)
COMMENTS
ELB September 22, 2009 · 9:32 am
This topic is something I’ve been thinking about since my high school days in East Harlem. I’m not a bit older and carry a few more dollars, not much more, in my wallet, however, I don’t like to have expensive dates.

So:
Staten Island Ferry is the poor man’s cruise

Twitter
Amy
‏@motb_apothecary
Riding the poor man’s Circle Line. It is an absolutely gorgeous day today. http://twitpic.com/57i7u2
2:49 PM - 5 Jun 2011

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Monday, May 11, 2015 • Permalink