Staten Island Ferry
The Richmond Turnpike Company began operating the first motorized ferry service in 1817 at Watering Place as part of a coach service across Staten Island that provided transportation from Manhattan into New Jersey via a second ferry at Travis. The ferry operation was purchased by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1838, who sold it to the Staten Island Railway during the Civil War. After Vanderbilt consolidated control of all competing ferry services, they were sold to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and operated by the Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad, which moved the ferry service to Whitehall. Following the Northfield accident in 1901, the New York City Department of Docks and Ferries assumed public control of the service in 1905 (Goldfarb and Ferreri 2009).
For the entire time I lived in NYC, the Staten Island Ferry was free in both directions, providing a delightful trip across New York Harbor and back. The best tourist deal in town, and quite relaxing on a warm summer evening.