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The Circle Line is the collective name given to two sightseeing ferry operations in Manhattanmarker:
  • 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.


The two companies split in 1981 from the parent Circle Line company and now have different officers and directors.

Circumnavigation of Manhattan became possible in 1905 with the construction of the Harlem Ship Canalmarker, the first regularly scheduled trip being the Tourist captained by John Roberts in 1908.

On June 15, 1945 Frank Barry, Joe Moran and other partners merged several sightseeing boats to form the Circle Line operating out of Battery Parkmarker.

In 1955 it began operating at its current Pier 83 location. In 1962 it bought the Hudson River Day Line.

In 1981 the two companies split.

In 1988 the 42nd Street company bought World Yachts operating upscale dining cruises from Chelsea Piersmarker. In 1998 the 42nd Street company also launched The Beast, a speedboat ride which takes tourists around the Statue of Libertymarker and goes 45 mph.

In 2007, the United States National Park Service said it was going to terminate Circle Line Liberty franchise and give a 10-year contract to Hornblower Yachts which provides service to Alcatrazmarker. It was noted in the announcement that since 1953 Circle Line has transported 70 million people to Liberty Island. Among the items cited in the transfer was a newer fleet (although Hornblower will have to buy the Circle Line boats) and the possibility of new service to Gateway National Recreation Area. The New York Times reported on December 8, 2007 that the price of the circle line boats to be sold to Hornblower was in arbitration, forcing Hornblower to bring in new boats.

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