Staten Island Ferry

Timeline created by iohare
  • Jan 1, 1500

    Native Americans run boats from various location of Staten Island

    Native Americans run boats from various location of Staten Island
    For many years before Europeans arrived, the Leni Lenape ran canoes between the lands of various tribes in the area, connecting New Jersey, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Long Island by canoe
  • Henry Hudson's ship the Half Moon arrives in New York Harbor

    Henry Hudson's ship the Half Moon arrives in New York Harbor
    In early September 1609, Henry Hudson's ship the Half Moon arrived in New York Harbor. Sailors from the ship ferried to land and Native Americans to the ship to trade. This was the beginning of relations between the two peoples.
  • The Dutch form a settlement in Manhattan

    The Dutch form a settlement in Manhattan
    In 1626, the Dutch formed a colony known as New Amsterdam in Lower Manhattan. Its main purpose was for trade, to procure and send furs back to the Netherlands. In an area that consists of mostly islands, ferries were an important means of transport in the area. Rowboats and Native American style canoes continued to be used throughout the 17th century.
  • First charter issued for a ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island

    First charter issued for a ferry between Manhattan and Staten Island
    Ferries had operated between Staten Island and other areas throughout the settlement but the first official charter was issued in 1712. A 21 year patent was issued to Nathaniel Britton, James Garrison, John Dove, and John Billiou to run a ferry from Staten Island. Despite this, no records of a service actually run by these men has been found.
  • First Record of an Advertisement for a Ferry Service from Staten Island

    An official notice was placed in the New York Weekly Post Boy advertising a ferry servic run by Silvanus Seamans between the Narrows on Staten Island and Manahattan. It ran once each way every Tuesday and Friday carrying both passangers and frieght. It is likely that ferries were operating from other points on the island at this time as well. *An image of the advertisement would be inserted here if it can be obtained from microfilm holding at the public library.*
  • License renewed for ferry service from New Brighton to Lower Manhattan

    Jacob de Hart was a farmer who ran a ferry from New Brighton for many years. Rights to run a service were now always as easily granted.
  • License granted to run service after a dispute

    Solomon Comes tried to renew rights earlier granted to Jacob de Hart, whose farm he had inherited. They were eventually granted but they were at first opposed by Otto van Tuyl. Van Tuyl got so upset that he was prosecuted for "disrespectful words spoken to the governor and council." He actually had a successful service already running from Sailor's Snug Harbor on the island's North Shore to New Jersey. His whole operation was sold in 1774.
  • Announcement of Service between Stapleton and Manhattan

    New York Gazette announced a change of ownership. "Notice is hereby given that John Watson & Hannah Jones, now keep the Ferry House on Staten Island where Thomas Lepper lately lived, All Gentlemen and others that travel that Way, may depend on good Entertainment for themselves and Horses, and good Boats always ready to transport them to or from New York, with all possible Expedition." Of note is the fact that one owner was a woman. The differing surnames suggest she was not married.
  • An accident on a ferry sailing the Kill Van Kull kills 2

    John Beck operated a ferry between Port Richmond and New Jersey from 1764. As was becoming more common, entertainment was provided on his boats. A stage onboard his ferry was upended due to rough waters. An actress known as Mrs. Moore and her maid both drowned in the Kill van Kull as a result
  • Ferry traveling between Blazing Star, New Jersey and Staten Island washes into a mud bank

    The New York Journal reported on this date of an incident the previous night when a northwest wind pushed it into a mud bank. The mud went up the men's thighs. They were not rescued until the next morning, when two travelers and all the horses had died. All but one survivor suffered from frostbite due to the severe winter weather.
    *show newspaper article if available*
  • Dock Street used as a ferry service for British Soldiers

    During the Revolutionary War, Staten Island was a strong Loyalist hub. British soldiers set up camp on the North Shore of the island and used piers at the foot of Dock Street to disembark. They planned to attack the rest of New York from this southern stronghold.
  • The colonies declare independence from England

    The Declaration of Independence declares the colonies the United States of America as free and independent from England. The Revolutionary War had already been underway for a few years, which important battles taking place throughout the tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
  • British military restricts ferry travel

    An official announcement was made of this date that only Cole's Ferry at the foot of Dock Street could be used for transport on and off the island. Decker's Ferry would later be opened to travel as well. This was so that the British military could ensure that the residents of Staten Island could not assist patriots during the Revolutionary War.
  • Taylor and Skinner Map notes the location of 5 ferry services on Staten Island

    The Taylor and Skinner Map of 1781 did not depict ferry routes but their locations were noted. These included Decker's Ferry in Port Richmond, Cole's Ferry in Tompkinsville, Billopp's Ferry in Tottenville, Smoking Point Ferry in Rossville, and New Blazing Star Ferry in Travis. The map shows the many roads connecting the different ferry landings, revealing how integral the ferries were to trade and transport on the island. The map was reporduced by historian Loring McMillen in 1933. *show map*
  • Cornelius Vanderbilt establishes ferry service from Clifton to Whitehall

    Cornelius Vanderbilt establishes ferry service from Clifton to Whitehall
    Cornelius Vanderbilt would go on to make a fortune in the transportation industry and was one of Staten Island's most well known residents. He captained many boats himself and his boats were known from their speed. He would later own ferry services along the Hudson, in California, and across the Atlantic and eventually expanded into steam railroads. He was one of the wealthiest men in the world when he died in 1877.
  • Vanderbilt pilots the Dread

    Vanderbilt pilots the Dread
    The Dread became well-known for its speed and was popular with customers. It was a periagua, which was a flat-bottomed boat with high guards, propelled by sails on 2 masts. Its flat bottom allowed it to carry many passengers and animals easily but there was a risk of them going overboard if waters were rough.
    Pictured is an image of the Staten Island Quarantine Station with a periagua in the foreground made in 1833.
  • Richmond Turnpike, modern day Victory Boulevard is chartered

    Richmond Turnpike, modern day Victory Boulevard is chartered
    This road connects the East and West Shores of Staten Island. It was developed mostly by Daniel D. Tompkins, former governor of New York State and eventual Vice President of the country. He would later be part owner in Robert Fulton's steamboat company and own a ferry service. The road connects the ferry landing in Tompkinsville with the landing at New Blazing Star, present-day Travis. Money spent by travelers along the route helped multiple neighborhoods to develop.
  • The Nautilus, the first steamboat to be used on the route, is launched

    The Nautilus, the first steamboat to be used on the route, is launched
    The Nautilus entered service on this day in 1817. It was the first steamboat to regularly go from Staten Island to Manhattan and was part of a service run by former governor Daniel D. Tompkins. Early steamboats were wooden paddle steamers, with side wheels tdriven by a beam engine. They were single ended, meaning only one end of the ferry could connect with the slip, requiring the boat to maneuever each time it left Manhattan. The image shows the Nautilis around 1830 docked in Manhattan.
  • The Bolivar and the Marco Bozzaris enter service

    The Bolivar and the Marco Bozzaris enter service
    The Bolivar and the Marco Bozzaris, both steamboats, joined the service in 1825 and would keep service up when the Nautilus was retired in 1832. The Nautilus and the Bolivar are both pictured at a Manhattan ferry landing in an 1830 illustration.
  • James Stuart, a travel writer, remarks on his ferry ride

    James Stuart described a ride from Manhattan to the Quarnatine Station in Tompkinsville that he took in June 1829 in his book, Three Years in America. His remarks include a description of the filly stocked on board bar, which also served cooked food. He also described "the shores of Staten Island are finely indented and sprinkled with the white, clean looking villas of this country. The island rises quickly to a considerable height." *final would include full quote*
  • Samson ferry hits the rocks at Robbens Reef

    Samson ferry hits the rocks at Robbens Reef
    Samson, one of the ferries running from Staten Island's North Shore hit the rocks of the reef, causing water to flood the cabins. pumps and buckets kept all safe from drowning until the Hercules could bring two fire engines from Manhattan at five o'clock the next morning. Accidents like this are the reason a lighthouse was later built on the site.
  • Sylph introduced into service

    Sylph introduced into service
    A single-ended steamboat that was considered a sumptuous travel boat with bars and lunch counters.
  • Renamed Staten Island Ferry

    Previously called Richmond Turnpike Ferry. Naerly the entire company was owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt by this point
  • Vanderbilt acquires the Richmon Turnpike Company

    Vanderbilt acquires the Richmon Turnpike Company
    Between 1838 and 1848, Cornelius Vanderbilt acquired increasing interest in the Richomnd Turnpike Company, which owned the ferry running out of Tompkinsville. Daniel D. Tompkins had died a poor man due to not managing his money and Vanderbilt picked up where he left off in Staten Island transportation. Both men did much to develop transportation in the borough.
  • Josephine introduced into service

    Josephine introduced into service
    A single-ended steamboat that was considered a sumptuous travel boat with bars and lunch counters. It ran from the East Shore of Staten Island to Whitehall in Manhattan as part of a service run by the New York and Staten Island Steam and Ferry Company.
  • Staten Island and New York Steam and Ferry Company is formed

    Staten Island and New York Steam and Ferry Company is formed
    Vanderbilt consolidated his operation with the Tompkins and Staples Ferry running out Tompkinsville and the People's Line out of Stapleton to form the Staten Island and New York Steam and Ferry Company. Included the Hunchback, Sylph, Josephine, Columbus, and the Staten Islander. It ran ferry service from Tompkinsville, Stapleton, and Clifton to Whitehall at the tip of Manhattan for 6 cents. Pictured is the Josephine.
  • The Columbus wrecked near Governor's Island

    The Columbus was a boat run by the New York and Staten Island Steam Ferry Company, which was Vanderbilt's main competition. It was crushed by ice between Governor's Island and Manhattan. The boat was old at this point and along with the Staten Islander had been described as "miserable old hulks that infest the highway between Staaten Island and this city."
  • A steam railroad starts on Staten Island

    In 1860 a steam railroad first started operating on Staten Island. It ran from the ferry landing in Clifton to the Amboy ferry in Tottenville, both this major stops along the Staten Island Railroad today. It was set to coincide with the schedule of the Clifton and Westfield boats, which each ran once an hour. The Staten Island Railroad Company would later purchase the ferry company.
  • North Shore Staten Island Ferry Company

    North Shore Staten Island Ferry Company
    This company was established by public subscription and called the People's Line. It was to compete with the exclusive ferry that was run for rich New Brighton residents. Ships included the Wyoming, Flora, Pomona, and the Golden Gate. The company took riders both to New Jersey and to Whitehall. Pictured is thir landing at Whitehall in 1862.
  • Mary Otis Willcox writes about the ferry

    In her book, published in 1923, Legends, Store, and Folklore of Old Staten Island, Mary Otis Wilcox provides recollections of rides on the North Shore ferries. The fare was five cents. She mentions the Huguenot, allowing historians to date her rides. Men passed the time by smoking cigars while women stayed in the ladies cabins. They generally sat upstairs, possibly outside if with gentlemen. "It was here that many a happy hour was spent of a sunny morning by youth and maiden in joyous converse."
  • The Great Civil War begins

    The Civil War between the states of the North and the South begins over issues such as states rights and slavery. It would have a profound effect on the entire country
  • Westfield departs for service in the Civil War

    The Westfield was sent to serve the Union. It was blown up byits Commander so that Confederate forces couldn't seize it when it ran aground off the coast of Texas. Sadly, the commander and several crewman were killed in the blast. This was the first of many boats conscripted for the war. The ferries were easily maneuvered in the shallow waters of the south and the decks good for carrying guns, making the ferries "floating tanks." The spacious cabins were useful for the sick and injured as well.
  • The Clifton (II) is put into service

    A boat in the same design as the original Clifton and the Westfield but of a smaller size was ordered to replace boards that had been conscripted by the government for the war effort. Annoying residents, the government purchased the boat for $70,000 and sent it into action on May 13, 1863
  • The Westfield (II) enters service

    With so many boats being taken for the war effort, the company paid for new ones to be built. Government funds in purchasing some of the boats assisted in this effort.
  • Postage Stamps used in lieu of coinage

    Besides a depleted fleet, the Civil War caused a shortage of metal for coinage. Riders instead had to pay fares in pennies and postage stamps. On this date the fare collector counted $70 of each currency. Considering fares were only between 5 and 10 cents, this was quite a sum.
  • Richmond County Gazette publishes an article criticizing ferry service

    Richmond County Gazette publishes an article criticizing ferry service
    At this point only one company ran ferries from Staten Island's East Shore to Manhattan. The Richmond County Gazette complained on beggers and peddlers on the boats. Some complaints were similar to those of riders today, like that the boat didn't wait for a train running even a minute late, leaving passengers stranded. Other complaints included the lack of late evening boats and filthy conditions. They stated "Staten Island is at the mercy of George Law." Law ran the company at the time.
  • Clifton is sent to serve in the Civil War

    Rather than conscript the boat, the US Government purchased the Clifton for $90,000. The Clifton was also destroyed to keep it out of Confederate hands when off the coast of Sabine Pass, Texas on September 8th of the same year.
  • Northfield is sent to serve in the Civil War

    The Northfield became the third of the Staten Island ferries to join Union efforts in the Civil War, leaving the fleet depleted but sacrifices like these were common during war times, with forces lacking the funds and time to build new ships and vehicles.
  • Northfield (II) joins the fleet

    Northfield (II) joins the fleet
    The new Northfield joined the fleet on this date.
  • Middletown joined the fleet

    Middletown, another steamboat joined the already large fleet of the New York and Staten Island Steam Ferry Company in 1864.
  • Staten Island Railroad Company purchases the ferry

    Staten Island Railroad Company purchases the ferry
    The Staten Island Railroad Company purchased the New York and Staten Island Steam Ferry Company, consolidating most transit on the island into one service. Their franchise on the company expired in 1865 but the company continued to run the survive for another 20 years after that. The company was owned by George Law, a powerful business man in New York, who lived on Fifth Avenue. His portrait shown here was painted by William Henry Powell.
  • Southfield meets her demise while serving in the Civil War

    Southfield meets her demise while serving in the Civil War
    The Southfield also served the Union in the Civil War. It was destroyed when it was struck by a Confederate ironclad known as the Albermarle. It had first been chained to the Miami block the Roanoke River and prevent the Albermarle from advancing into North Carolina. The ship sank and the Albermarle survived.
  • Westfield boiler explosion causes tragic accident

    Westfield boiler explosion causes tragic accident
    The boiler of the Westfield (II) exploded on this date, splitting the ship in two. There were 400 passengers on board at the time and they were catapulted in all directions. The explosion happened while it was docked at Whitehall. Approximately 200 were injured and the final death count was estimated to be 66 but some reports were as high as 100. Shockingly, the boat was rebuilt and continued to serve riders until 1912. Numerous prints illustrated the event in newspapers.
  • George Law purchases the ferry and the railroad

    George Law purchases the ferry and the railroad
    Due to costs incurred for the liability of the Westfield explosion, the company went bankrupt and its mortgages were foreclosed on in March of 1872. George Law, who had already owned the ferry and railroad, repurchased both to become their full owner. He went on to sell it to another enterprise on March 17, 1873, just a few months later.
  • Meeting organized to discuss ferry service

    Meeting organized to discuss ferry service
    William H. Pendleton, manager of the North Shore Ferry, met with Erastus Wiman to discuss a joint company for Staten Island Transit. It resulted in the organization of the Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad Company.
  • Robbens Reef Lighthouse opens

    Robbens Reef Lighthouse opens
    The cureent lighthouse, an iron structure, opened on the reef to prevent boats from running into the rocks. It replaced an earlier granite structure on the site. Today the lighthouse is unmanned but it was manned first by a keeper and then by his widow for many years,. See the map feature on the lighthouse for more information.
  • Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad Company takes control of ferry

    Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad Company takes control of ferry
    Along with help from Robert Garrett of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad Company operated the ferry and railroad from this dte until October 25, 1905. The image shown is part of a timetable from June of 1887.
  • Staten Island Amusement Company started

    Erastus Wiman started ventures to attract visitors to the island. The Staten Island Amusement Company included a state of the art stadium in St. George, just next to the ferry terminal, where another stadium sits today. It sat 5,000 and was known for its great food. Visitors watched the installation of the Statue of Liberty in 1886. The New York Metropolitans, an early baseball team played there. It hosted lacrosse matches, band performances, and an electric fountain with lights,
  • Rail service from Clifton to South Beach introduced

    A service that would later be known as the South Beach spur was introduced. This connected ferry riders landing at Clifton with the beach, which would become a popular summer desination for people from throughout New York City. Also this year, a terminal opened at St. George connecting all of the services together, with a new ferry joining the service. It is from the St. George location that the ferry runs today.
  • Erastus Wiman ferry launched

    The ferry was launched by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and named after Erastus Wiman, a Canadian born man who was a key player in the partnership between Staten Island Rapid Transit Railroad Company and the B and O. It carried 3,000 passengers. It was later renamed the Castleton, after a Staten Island neighborhood. Another boat called the Robert Garret, after B and O owner, was launched at the same time. This was one later renamed the Stapleton.
  • Staten Island officially becomes part of the City of New York

    It was on this day that the City of New York was formally consolidated into the five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. This gave the island the benefit of the city's resources and relationship continues today.
  • Baltimore and Ohio Railroad buys Staten Island Rapid Transit

    Baltimore and Ohio Railroad buys Staten Island Rapid Transit
    B and O railroad bought the entirety of Staten Island Rapid Transit including the ferry in 1899 for $2 million. Wiman had lost money in some of his ventures, which included a stadium, day resort, and wild west showplace all on Staten Island. Despite his loses, Wiman loved the island and it was he would named Saint George after George Law and established ferry service from the landing there, which is the service riders still take today.
  • The Northfield sinks

    The Northfield sinks
    The Northfield was slammed by the Mauch Chunk, a steel hulled ferry from the Central Railroad of New Jersey, shortly after leaving Whitehall. It sunk within 15 minutes of being hit. As it was rush hour, the boat was packed. Tugs arrived quickly and evacuated passengers, saving between 800 and 1,000 lives. 5 people and 12 teams of horses perished. New Jersey boats would be removed from Whitehall Terminal after this. This accident was a major factor in the city taking over ferry operations.
  • Residents angered when city refuses to take over ferry service, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad continues administration

    Complaints from residents about the ferry had been growing, especially after the sinking of the Northfield in 1901. The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce was very vocal about the unsanitary and unsafe conditions of the boats and their unreliable service. After discussions involving residents, the chamber of commerce led by Cornelius Kolff, business owners, the borough president, and the commissioner of docks and ferries, it was decided that Staten Island Rapid Transit would continue to run it.
  • Bids to build 5 new ferry boats announced

    Before the City of New York took over service, it was decided that the fleet needed to be updated with 5 new boats that would form the 5 Boroughs class. Borough President George Cromwell announced the bids along with other prominent islanders. These boats would be the first owned by the city.
  • Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan boats ready to launch

    Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan boats ready to launch
    4 of 5 new boats for the 5 Borough class were ready for launch in the Baltimore shipyard where they were built. Only the Manhattan was successfully launched that day, the others not making it into the water until later. Richmond (named for Staten Island county) was built by the Burlee Dry Dock Company in Port Richmond on Staten Island, making it homegrown.
  • Staten Island Ferry becomes a New York City operated service under the Department of Transportation

    Staten Island Ferry becomes a New York City operated service under the Department of Transportation
    Residents of the Island and the Chamber of Commerce had been fighting for this for a long time. After a change of law the previous year, it was finally possible. Ownership and operation of the ferry officially passed from the Staten Island Rapid Transit Company to the City of New York. The Manhattan was the first boat to sail under this service at 11:30 AM from Whitehall terminal. The Richmond left St. George at the same time and the other 3 new boats joined them at the Statue of Liberty.
  • Municipal Operation of a ferry from 39th Street in Brooklyn to St. George

    This route had also been operated by private companies for many years but just a year after the city took control of the Manhattan to Staten Island route, it also took over this line, streamlining them both.
  • Mayor Gaynor joins the fleet

    Mayor Gaynor joins the fleet
    The Mayor Gaynor was a single-class ferry, meaning it was the only one with its design. It ran for 30 years, despite not being a crew favorite due to its slow speeds. In its last years it transported vehicles only. It was named for maverick Mayor William Jay Gaynor, known as a reformer, who died in 1910. It is shown here in a slip at St. George.
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay publishes "Recuerdo" a poem about a memory of her and a friend riding the ferry.

    We were very tired, we were very merry—
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
    It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
    But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
    We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
    And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.
    We were very tired, we were very merry—
    We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
    And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
    From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
    And the sky went wan, and the
  • Fire at South Ferry Terminal in Manhattan

    This large fire destroyed most of the elevated buildings and the front of the terminal building. 60 Sailors had been confined to the second floor of the terminal in sick beds and had to quickly be evacuated by firemen and the Coast Guard. A ferry boat had just disembarked and had to flee quickly with the breeze carrying flames towards them. Thanks to fireboats, the blaze was contained, no one was killed, and only a few firemen were injured
  • Ferryboat President Roosevelt launched

    Ferryboat President Roosevelt launched
    Another single-class ferry, this boat was named after Theodore Roosevelt and was built in the Mariners Harbor shipyard on Staten Island. It served the line well for 35 years and was a favorite of both riders and crew. Shown here is a man sitting on the Saloon deck of the Roosevelt during the year it was launched.
  • American Legion sails for the first time

    American Legion sails for the first time
    This was the first boat to go by this title, named for the veteran's organization that is very active on the island. It was built in Mariner's Harbor. A flaw in its design meant that the deck was constantly doused in salt water, prompting the deckhands to give it nicknames like the Submarine and the Wet Wash Boat. It sailed for 34 years and was taken out of commission in 1961. Bidders for it proposed uses a dance studio and houseboat but the highest bidder used it for its valuable scrap metal.
  • The Bronx Disaster

    The Bronx Disaster
    The Bronx hit by a five foot wave while passing Robbens Reef Lighthouse on the way to St. George. The wave swept five men overboard, 3 of whom died.
  • Dongan Hills joins the service

    Dongan Hills joins the service
    The Dongan Hills, named for the local neighborhood, was the first of three boats in the Dongan Hills Class. The design allowed for 26 cars and 2,250 passengers. The interiors had dark-wood paneling in the steamboat tradition. It was built in Marniners Harbor.
  • The Tompkinsville joins the service

    The Tompkinsville joins the service
    The Tompkinsville was the second boat in the Dongan Hills class. It had attractive interior dark wood panels. The photo shows the interior of its Upper Saloon deck.
  • Dongan Hills knowcked by Norwegian Tanker

    Dongan Hills knowcked by Norwegian Tanker
    The Dongan Hills was hit by a Norwegian tanker called Tornes due to fog filling the Harbor. It let a fix foot hole in the wooden bow.
  • The Knickerboker sets sails

    The Knickerboker sets sails
    The Knickerbocker was the third and last boat in the Dongan Hills class. Knickerbocker was an old term for a New Yorker coming from the character Diedrich Kinckerboker, who was created by Washington Irving in 1809 for A History of New York. Shown is an image from the boats Christening by Mayor Jimmy Walker. When it was decommissioned in 1965, it was sold and renovated, reopening in Ocean City, Maryland with 2 restaurants, 20 boutiques, a movie theater, and a cocktail lounge in 1971.
  • The Gold Star Mother joins the fleet

    The Gold Star Mother joins the fleet
    The Gold Star Mother, part of the Mary Murray class joined the fleet, after being built in Mariner's Harbor. It was the first oil-fired, as opposed to coal-fired, boat and the first to have women's smoking cabins. It was launched by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and a group of Gold Star Mothers, who had lost sons in WWI. The Gold Star Mother is shown under constuction here. The boat ran until 1970, at which point it was converted into a floating methadone clinicfor 18 months, when it was scraped.
  • The ferryboat Mary Murray is launched

    The ferryboat Mary Murray is launched
    This boat built to carry 32 vehicles, was named for Mary Lindley Murray. She was a Long Island resident during the Revolutionary War who prevented the capture of American soldiers by inviting British soldiers in for food. Representatives from the local Mary Murray chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution were at the ceremony. A portrait of Mary Murray was kept on display in the boat's main cabin. She is shown in a portrait with her picture Hannah by John Trumball here.
  • Miss New York joins the fleet

    Miss New York joins the fleet
    The Miss New York was one of the most popular boats for many years. It was the first boat to have a snack bar, even using waiters in the 1950s. After it was retired in 1975, it was converted into a restaurant in Bridgeport, CT. It was later moved to New Jersey to continue serving a restaurant but was abandoned. It was severely damaged by ice in 1994 and sits idle at a pier today. Its 1938 launch is shown here
  • Gold Star mother records fastest time ever on route

    Gold Star mother records fastest time ever on route
    The Gold Star Mother took her maiden voyage from St. George to Whitehall at 12:50PM. When the captain called full speed ahead, the ferry made the trip in fifteen minutes flat, the fastest time every recorded. Ferries do not usually travel at full speed and to this day the average length of a trip is 22 minutes.
  • Electric Ferries takes over operation of the 69th Street to St. George line

    They ran diesel-electric boats, an improvment from the outdated, turn of the century boats that the Brooklyn and Richmond company had been using.
  • Miss New York collides with Magnolia

    Miss New York collides with Magnolia
    The Miss New York collided with the Magnolia, a tanker, when it was halfway between Whitehall and St. George. The tanker left 400 ft hole in Miss New York and took 5 ft of gaurd rail. Six were injured. The boat was repaired and returned to service.
  • Operation of Staten Island to Brooklyn ferry ceases

    Due to a decrease in demand, the ferry stopped running. The St. George Terminal would burn in a terrible fire later on and the Staten Island Ferry would use the old 39th Street slips in St. George in order to continue operations while repairs were made on its home terminal.
  • St. George Terminal destroyed in a huge fire

    St. George Terminal destroyed in a huge fire
    It was a 9 nine alarm fire and required the assistance of all off duty firemen in New York, as well as some from New Jersey. 3 died, the entire terminal was destroyed, and the 39th Street Ferry would never run again. The fact that all structures were made of wood contributed to the depth of the damage. Shown here is an image of firemen fighting the blaze.
  • Operation a ferry between Staten Island and 69th Street in Brooklyn begins

    The route was operated by the Brooklyn and Richmond Ferry company,
  • The Five Boroughs are scraped

    The Five Boroughs are scraped
    By this year all of the 5 boroughs had been retired and were scraped for parts. The arrival of the Mary Murray Class of boats allowed this. In between their retiring around 1938 and the scraping the boats were used for various purposes. The Richmond became a barge, the Queens transported high school students and was a WWII relief boat, and the Brooklyn was used to train sailors in WWII. The picture shows sailors aboard the Brooklyn.
  • A man attempts suicide on Mary Murray

    A man attempts suicide on Mary Murray
    Gustave Carl Schild tried and succeeded in taking his own life by jumping off the Mary Murray into the waters near St. George. Deckhands Edward Hillis and Ralph Hale pulled him from the water but were unable to resuscitate him. Edward Hillis would have a hand in saving passengers from gong overboard in an American Legion crash years later
  • Baby born aboard the ferry

    At some point during 1950, Sandra Einbinders was born while her mother was in a taxi aboard the Tompkinsville as she travelled from Staten Island to Manhattan. Her mother wanted to name her after the boat originally but chose Sandra Sharon rather than Tompkinsville. There was debate about what the borth certificate would list as the location of birth but eventually Staten Island was listed.
  • First ferry snack bar opens

    First ferry snack bar opens
    The Mary Murray was the first ferry to have a snack bar, which opened on this date. It sold ice cream, pastry, sandwiches, 2 kinds of soft drinks, and hot dogs. There were even waiters with trays strapped to their hands to deliver coffee and snacks around the boat.
  • Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell ferryboat christened.

    Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell ferryboat christened.
    The boat was Christened by Joseph Merrell's sister, Mrs. John Harvey, when she broke a bottle of champagne against its side. More then 3,000 attended. The boat was 65% complete and would be finished at the maintenance piers at the terminal. Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell was a Staten Island native who was killed in action in WWII and received the Medal of Honor for the single-handed attack in which he killed 23 German soldiers. The local American Legion post and skating rink are also named for him.
  • Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell ferryboat enters service

    Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell ferryboat enters service
    This was the first boat of the Merrell Class. This class of three-tiered boats was considered the largest, safest, and fastest ferryboats in the world. They were designed with war in mind as the Cold War had just begun. Each could carry 3,000 passengers and 45 vehicles. They were intended to be express ferry boats. They were modern with flourescent lights and radar. These ugly but efficient boats were the last steam driven ferries to enter the fleet.
  • Verrazzano ferryboat launched

    Verrazzano ferryboat launched
    This boat was christened by Mayor Impellitteri's wife. It was the second of the Merrell Class. The boat is named for Giovanni da Verrazzano, who was the first European explorer to sail New York Harbor with his ship the Dolphin in 1954. When the boat was still in service, locals debated the spelling of the name. The bridge of the same name has only one z, while the ferryboat has two and it is unsure which is the correct spelling of the explorer's name. It is shown here just before launching.
  • Ferryboat Cornelius G. Kolff joins the fleet

    Ferryboat Cornelius G. Kolff joins the fleet
    The boat had been christened in October of the previous year by Kolff daughter. Cornelius G. Kolff was an active member of the Staten Island community. He was a realtor, author, historian, and preservationist who lived from 1860-1950. A photo from him in the 1920s is shown here. After thirty years of service, the boat went to the Department of Corrections to house overflow prisoners from Rikers Island. It was renamed the Walter B. Keane and later the Harold Wildstein.
  • New Terminal opens at St. George

    After 5 years, a new terminal opened at St. George to replace the one destroyed in the 1946 fire.
  • General Dwight D. Eisenhower rides the ferry

    General Dwight D. Eisenhower rides the ferry
    The presidental candidate rode the ferry boat Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell on his way to give a speech at Borough Hall. The newspaper wrote about him examining the Manhattan skyline during the ride.
  • Gold Star Mother crashes into American Veteran

    Gold Star Mother crashes into American Veteran
    Due to dense fog, the Gold Star Mother collided with the American Veteran, part of another fleet. The collision occurred at about 7:50AM near Governors Island. 13 of the 1,900 passengers were injured. Little damage was sustained by the Dols Star Mother but the American Veteran received a huge hole in its starboard side.
  • Pvt. Joseph F Merrell hits the Ellis Island

    Pvt. Joseph F Merrell hits the Ellis Island
    The Ellis Island was a boat that went between Manhattan and Ellis Island. The Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell hit the Ellis Island in foggy weather when it was trying to dock at slip 7 in Whitehall. The slip was already occupied by the Ellis Island. No one was injured but the Ellis Island sustained damage. The boat would serve for many more years, before being retired and used by the Department of Corrections to house overflow prisoners from Rikers Island.
  • The city takes over operation of 69th Street to St. George line

    Electric Ferries was on hard financial times. The city would quickly lease the operation out again.
  • Verrazzano collides with Norlindo

    Verrazzano collides with Norlindo
    The Verrazzano hit a Norwegian freighter called the Norlindo off the coast of Liberty Island. 7 passengers were injured, 6 windows broken, and part of the railing destroyed.
  • A newly renovated and modernized terminal opens at Whitehall

    A newly renovated and modernized terminal opens at Whitehall
    The $3 million dollar renovation project was described as being a marvel of modern architecture by its organizers. This meant to loss of the turn of the century architecture with its decorative cornices and painted walls, like the ones that remain at the Governors Island Terminal next door. These were replaced with sleek lines and curved glass. Its shown under construction here.
  • Staten Island Ferry eipsode of I Love Lucy

    Staten Island Ferry eipsode of I Love Lucy
    View a clip here
    Fred and Lucy rode the ferry back and forth all day trying to overcome Lucy's seasickness and antics ensured during this famous episode of the iconic American sitcom.
  • Merrell slams the slip at St. George

    Merrell slams the slip at St. George
    1958 was an expensive year for the ferry service. The Merrell slammed into the slip at St. George, injuring 5. Both the Merrell and the slip had significant damage. A slip at Whitehall was closed around same time after the Verrazzano slammed it during a hard landing.
  • Dongan Hills is hit by the Tynefield

    Dongan Hills is hit by the Tynefield
    At 8:11PM the boat the Dongan Hills was hit by a British tanker called the Tynefield on its way to St. George. Thirty people, including passengers and crew, were injured. Many passengers were knocked down but luckily only 2 needed to be hospitalized for their injuries. Despite being smashed, the boat made it to the dock.
  • That Kind of Woman is released in theaters

    That Kind of Woman is released in theaters
    That Kind of Woman was a film featuring Sophia Loren and Tab Hunter that filmed scenes on the ferry in 1959. Only cars were allowed transport during filming. The Advance reported that Sophia Loren yelled in excitement like a child when she saw the Statue of Liberty. They filmed aboard the Mary Murray
  • President John F. Kennedy visits the ferry

    President John F. Kennedy visits the ferry
    President John F. Kennedy is one of many politians to have visited to ferry while campaigning and possible the most famous. The then senator visited the ferry with Democratic County Chairman Joseph A. McKinney to get close to some commuters. His assassination in 1963 affected the whole nation deeply and a ferry boat was one of many government owned properties to be names after him.
  • Bomb planyed on the Knickerbocker

    Bomb planyed on the Knickerbocker
    A bomb was planted and went off on the Knickerbocker, blasting benches and a two foot hole in the deck. It also started a fire. Luckily, a cold draft had discouraged visitors from sitting in that cabin and no one was hurt. It is believed that this was the work of the Sunday Bomber, who had already caused two other incidents in Manhattan. Officers were stationed all over Manhattan to look for him but officials had neglected the ferry and its terminals.
  • Verrazzano smashed by feul tanker

    Verrazzano smashed by feul tanker
    The Verrazzano was smahed by Poling No. 8 a fuel tanker near St. George Terminal. The boat was punctured with a whole 20 by 10 ft, and 15 ft of water accumulated in the previously airtight, underdeck compartments. The only way to stop the ferry was to slam into the terminal slip, further damaging it. Repairs cost $350,000 while the tanker was unscathed.
  • Gov. Herbert H. Lehman ferryboat launched

    Gov. Herbert H. Lehman ferryboat launched
    The last of the Kennedy class was launched on this date. It was named for the governor of New York from 1933 to 1942. He was also a partner in the Lehman Brothers investing firm. He was later a Senator from 1949 to 1957. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Johnson.
  • The Verrazano Narrows Bridge opens

    The Verrazano Narrows Bridge opens
    The Verrazano Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island with Brooklyn, the longest suspension bridge in the world at this time, opened. It has two decks to carry cars between the boroughs. This both connected the rest of New York City with New Jersey via Staten Island and Staten Island with the rest of New York City. The ferry between 69th Street in Brooklyn and St. George stopped, as it had carried mainly cars and was no longer needed. The Staten Island Ferry would also recieve fewer cars.
  • Last run of the 69th Street to St. George operation

    A year after the Verrazano Narrows Bridge opened, the this ferry, which had served far more vehicles than pedestrians, was stopped due to the low ridership. On its last run there were members of the Steamship Historical Society of America and young people giving out copies of The Ferry, the Bridge, and the People, a Eulogy for the 69th Street Ferry. Some riders partied on the boat and many stole life jackets to keep as souvenirs.
  • Ferry workers go on strike

    147 captains, pilots, engineers, and mates of the Staten Island Ferry staged their 2nd strike in a month, inconveniecing thousands. The ferry still ran but on a very reduced schedule. The city used the Condon-Wadlin Act, which prohibits municipal workers from striking when it affects necessary services, and many employees were fired. By June 25th, many were already back on the job. The strike was the result of several issues including union recognition and a breakdown of communication.
  • First Express Bus Route from Staten Island Starts

    Thanks to the opening of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge the previous year, it was now possible to travel between Staten Island and Manhattan via land. The city took advantage of this by starting express bus routes that went directly from Staten Island to Manhattan by going through Brooklyn.
  • Kennedy Class of boats launched

    Kennedy Class of boats launched
    The Kennedy Class included the John F. Kennedy, the Governor Herbert H. Lehmen, and the American Legion (II). These were the first diesel powered ferries to join the fleet. The John F. Kennedy joined first. Each carried 3,500 passengers and 40 cars and took 13 crew members and 1 attendent to operate. All 3 boats are pictured here. The John F. Kennedy is currently still running over 50 years later.
  • Who's That Knocking at My Door? is released in theaters

    Who's That Knocking at My Door? is released in theaters
    Watch the trailer at this link
    This 1967 Martin Scorsese film shot on the ferry. The main character J.R. is an Italain American New Yorker who meets a local girl on the ferry and the film follows the drama of their relationship.
  • Baby born aboard the ferry

    At some point during this year a woman went into labor while Captain Theodore Costa was piloting the Mary Murray. When a healthy baby girl was born, the mother didn't hesitate to name her daughter Mary Murray after her unique birthplace.
  • Passenger cabins added to Merrell and Kennedy Class

    Passenger cabins added to Merrell and Kennedy Class
    Ever increasing numbers of riders led officials to determine that more seating was needed in both operating ferry classes. It was decided that parts of the lower decks that carried vehicles would be converted to carry passengers. In the Kennedy Class these would become known as smoking decks until smoking was banned on the ferry years later. The Kennedy Class could now carry 4,200 passengers and the Merrell 5,400.
  • Fare raised from 5 cents to 10 cents

    One of the cheapest forms of public transit in the United States, the fare for the ferry had been just 5 cents roundtrip since 1905 when the city took it over. In 1972, the fare was raised to 5 cents each way or 10 cents roundtrip.
  • Mary Murray decommissioned

    Mary Murray decommissioned
    Despite not having a radio or telephone and the captain using a whistle speaking tube for communication, the boat served for many years. It was purchased by George Searle with the intention of making it a seafood restaurant in Raritan Bay, NJ. This was surprising, as Searle had nearly died when the boat's feul tank exploded years earlier. He never did convert the boat and today it sits abandoned in Raritan Bay, vandalized and with broken windows.The image shows men in the engine rooms.
  • A car falls off the American Legion

    A car falls off the American Legion
    It was a rare occurrence but cars have gone overboard during the ferry's history. On this day, Thelma Masella and her son Francis, who had cerebral palsy, when it their car when it fell while being loaded at the St.George terminal. Both died. In cases like this divers must recover the remains. An old ferry diving suit from the 50s is in the collection of the Staten Island Museum.
  • Fare raised to 25 cents

    In an attempt to raise revenue during a time of financial difficulty, the city raised the fare from 10 cents to 25 cents rountrip per person. This included not just pedestrians but each car passenger as well. The cost of a car was $1.50. During this year, late-night service between 11pm and 5:30am was also stopped to save money.
  • American Legion crashes into the tip of Battery Park

    American Legion crashes into the tip of Battery Park
    The American Legion was on its way to Whitehall Terminal in a dense fog, when it slammed into the tip of the park just before 7:30. Captain Irving Satler had been using radar but the boat was still off course by 700 ft. It was determined the accident was due to poor judgement. Many at the tip of the boat, hoping to be the first off in Manhattan were sent flying. It was brave deckhands who kept them from going overboard. 9 were hospitalized, 144 treated and released, and 98 treated onsite,
  • Pasta Dinner for Marathon Runners hosted on ferry

    Pasta Dinner for Marathon Runners hosted on ferry
    1980 marked 75 years of municipal service. Celebrations included a balloon launch, musical performances, a chess tournament, art exhibits, a poster contest hosted by the Staten Island Advance, an antique car show at the ferry terminal, and more. It was capped off by a paste dinner hosted for runners of the New York Marathon. Food was cooked at Curtis High School and driven to the terminal, where it was served on two docked ferry boats. Literally a ton of spaghetti was cooked.
  • American Legion hits pilings at Whitehall

    American Legion hits pilings at Whitehall
    The American Legion hit the pilings at Whitehall, causing injuries to those on the stairs waiting to get off.
  • American Legion collides with Hoegh Orchid

    American Legion collides with Hoegh Orchid
    During the morning rush, the American Legion collided with a Norwegian frieghter called the Hoegh Orchid. 60 people were injured and there was a hole in the bow. The accident was caused by dense fog and an inoperable radar.
  • Barberi Class of boats launched

    Barberi Class of boats launched
    The Barberi Class of boats included the Andrew J. Barberi, named after a beloved high-school football and Samuel I. Newhouse, owner of the Staten Island Advance and a founder of Conde Nast Productions. This class of boats can carry over 6,000 but carries no automobiles, as the need to carry cars had lessened with the Verrazano Bridge. It takes 15 crew members and 1 attendant to run each boat. This class of boats has no outdoor seating, making it harder to see the famous views.
  • Anna Mae the Elephant rides the Staten Island Ferry

    Anna Mae the Elephant rides the Staten Island Ferry
    Anna Mae was an elephant at the Big Apple Circus weighing 8,000 pounds. She road the ferry to and from Staten Island for a performance at Snug Harbor Cultural Center. She was the ferry's largest ever passenger. An unexcited deckhand was ready with a wheelbarrow and shovel just in case Anna Mae had any business to do during the ride. Anna Mae also appeared on the famous Ed Sullivan Show.
  • Samuel I. Newhouse takes its maiden voyage

    Samuel I. Newhouse takes its maiden voyage
    It took its maiden voyage at 4:10 pm from St. George to Whitehall. Samuel I. Newhouse bought the Staten Island Advance and grew it into the large paper that it is today. He also started Advance Publications, Conde Nast Publications, and Parade Publications. It was an uneventful voyage, lacking the shake that the Barberi had become known for. It would however, develop that same vibration, promoting commuters to call this the Shake and Bake class of boats.
  • Small fire at St. George Terminal

    There was yet another fire at the St. George Terminal but this time doing far less damage. It destroyed only office furniture and files, injuring on one. Unfortunately, many valuable records were lost. Including captain's logs going as far back as the 1940s.
  • Alice Austen ferryboat takes maiden voyage

    Alice Austen ferryboat takes maiden voyage
    Alice Austen was the first of two boats in the Austen class. This class is smaller, carrying only 1,280 passengers and no cars. It is mainly used on nights and weekends. This class also lacks outdoor seating. Alice Austen was a famous photographer from Staten Island at the turn of the 20th century. She was known for her photographs of local New York City life and would have been able to see the ferry crossing from her home at Clear Comfort in Rosebank. Her house is open as a museum today.
  • A deranged man kills 2 aboard the Newhouse

    Juan Gonzalez, a mentally ill man, attacked riders with a 2 foot sword on the 8:30 AM boat. He killed 2 and injured 9 while witnesses shrieked and fled. Retired police officer Edward del Pino stopped him with a warning shot and then held a gun to him until the ferry could dock, preventing anyone else from getting hurt. Juan Gonzalez claimed that God told him to do it and was treated at a psychiatric facility.
  • The ferryboat John A. Noble joins the fleet

    The ferryboat John A. Noble joins the fleet
    500 people showed up to help christen this boat and the celebration included champagne, dining, dancing, and an exhibition of Noble's artwork. John A. Noble was a painter and lithographer from New Brighton on Staten Island, who had died in 1983. He used the New York Harbor and sailing vessels as a major subject in his works. This first ride spent extra time in the Kill van Kull to point out his former studio, as well as his house as it headed back to the Narrows. One of his paintings is shown.
  • Working Girl is released in theaters featuring the American Legion

    Working Girl is released in theaters featuring the American Legion
    View the Opening Scene HereWorking Girl starring Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford includes several scenes shot aboard the American Legion. The main character is a Staten Island resident and the flim depicts typical commuter life in the 1980s. The open scene includes shots of the ferry on its route as well as interior shots of Melanie Griffith's character with friends in their regular commuting group.
  • Whitehall Terminal fire

    A 4 alarm fire at Whitehall Termial was attacked by over 200 firefighters. Automobile transport on the ferry was temporarily banned due to damages, with Mayor Dinkins holding the ban to keep traffic in downtown Manhattan from getting worse. The ferry had to use the Coast Guard dock. The Fire Department blamed the fire on homeless people that smoked crack in the upper levels of the terminal, in recent years authorities have tried to do more to help the homeless population.
  • Fare raised to 50 cents

    The roundtrip fare went from 25 to 50 cents, or 25 cents each way. This was the largest raise in ferry history.
  • Automobile Transport restored

    Mayor Rudolph Guiliani restored automobile transport on the ferry at this time. It had been banned by Mayor Dinkins to reduce downtown traffic. Far fewer cars required transport after the opening of the Verrazano Bridge in 1964, but some drivers preferred the ferry as it was cheaper than the toll and gave them a 25 minute break from driving.
  • Andrew J. Barberi runs into slip at St. George Terminal

    Andrew J. Barberi runs into slip at St. George Terminal
    The boat ran right into the slip without slowing down. 16 people were injured, the ferryboat doors on the upper level destroyed, and slip's pedestrian ramps completely mangled. The crash was blamed on a faulty propulsion system.
  • Celebrations for the 90th anniversary of municipal operations

    Many participated in local celebrations of the continuance of ferry service, despite the fact that the ferry continues to lose money every year. Celebrations included a performance in the terminal by a school chorus, the display of banners made by local schoolchildren, a week long lecture series about ferry history, tours of the Harbor, and activities at the local children's museum and John A. Noble Collection.
  • The Devil's Own is released in theaters

    The Devil's Own is released in theaters
    View the trailer here
    The Devil's Own was a film starring Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford about the IRA and an Irish-American policeman that thwarts their plans. It includes a scene on the ferry and several others around New York City. They shot on the Alice Austen and the Whitehall Terminal
  • Ferry fare abolished

    In 1997, the fare for the ferry was abolished entirely, making the ride free for all. It remains free today. This was part of the "One City, One Fare" initiative, which allowed for free transfers between subways and buses, allowing people from any borough to travel to Manhattan on one fare, thanks to Metrocards starting. Abolishing the ferry fare was also part of an attempt to encourage Staten Island residents to stop taking their cars into crowded Manhattan and to use public transit instead.
  • September 11th Attack on the World Trade Center

    The ferry captains working that day witnessed the attacks and one turned back to St. George without docking in Whitehall, as authorities were worried the ferry might be a target. The ferries then continued to run to evacuate people from Lower Manhattan to safety, despite the risks. Due to the debris from the building collapse, there was low visibility. After that ferry service to the public was stopped, so boats could carry emergency vehicles and personnel to Lower Manhattan and as a morgue.
  • Public ferry service restored after September 11th Attacks

    Emergency personnel and the national guard, as well as volunteers looking for survivors, used the ferry to enter Lower Manhattan in the five days following the attacks. It was only after the Harbor was considered secure and Lower Manhattan partially cleaned up that full service to commuters was restored. Vehicle service has been completely discontinued due to security risks.
  • Ferry Tales documentary is released

    Ferry Tales documentary is released
    View a clip from the documentary here
    Ferry Tales is an Academy Award winning documentary that chronicles the daily commute of a group of woman whoride the ferry each day. It focuses specifically on a group of women who do their makeup during the 30 minute ride using the large mirrors in the on-board bathrooms. It shows a part of ferry life that many forget exists but that is routine for some local residents.
  • A Staten Island Ferry Tale published

    A Staten Island Ferry Tale published
    A children's book written by Catherine Avery St. Jean and illustrated by Paul Frahm was published in 2003. In it a boy named Paul gets to ride in the Captain's cabin and view the Queen Mary 2 from the boat. The book includes illustrations and mentions the crew of the boat, commuters, policemen, and other sites one would regularly encounter while riding.
  • Andrew J. Barberi ferryboat has a terrible crash

    Andrew J. Barberi ferryboat has a terrible crash
    This accident was the worst the ferry service has seen since the Westfield explosion 1871. The assistant captain passed out due to a medical condition and the captain was not at his station. The ferry crashed into the maintenance pier next to the St. George Terminal. 11 people were killed and 70 injured. There was $8 million worth of damage and multiple crew members received prison short sentences, with many being dismissed from their jobs.
  • Spalding Gary jumps from side of the boat

    Spadling Gary's body washed ashore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He was a writer and performer who had previously left messages for friends and family about plans to commit suicide from by jumping off the Staten Island Ferry. He had last been heard from on January 10th of that year.
  • Guy V. Molinari ferryboat starts its service

    Guy V. Molinari ferryboat starts its service
    The newest class of boats is the Molinari Class an it includes the Guy V. Molinari, the Sen. John J. Marchi, and the Spirit of America. This class was designed to bring back the style of the Kennedy class that was a favorite with riders. It once again had car decks, outdoor seating, and dench seats. There were also air conditioning and elevators for the first time. Guy V. Molinari was borough president of Staten Island from 1990 to 2001 and had also been a state assemblyman and a congressman.
  • Refurbished Manhattan Terminal opens

    After 14, the refurbishment of the Whitehall Terminal was completed. The damage from the 1991 fire had been fixed and many improvements had been made. The terminal was not out of service all the years in between but the fire and the ribbon cutting but riders were thankful to no longer live with the construction daily.
  • John J. Marchi ferryboat joins the service

    John J. Marchi ferryboat joins the service
    The second boat in the Molinari class was the John J. Marchi. It was named for New York State Senator John J. Marchi, who represented the borough in for fifty years, having been elected to 25 consecutive terms. The St. George Terminal also reopened on this day after a full renovation costing $130 million dollars.
  • 100th Anniversary of Municipal Service

    At this point in tis history the ferry was serving 65,000 passengers daily and over 24 million passengers each year. The Staten Island Museum opened a permanent exhibition examining the history of the ferry in this same year and work began on an extensive history book about the ferry. A review of service 2 years later found the ferry to be the most reliable form of mass transit being on time 96% of the time.
  • American Legion retired

    American Legion retired
    The American Legion ran for 41, despite 3 serious accidents. It was not scraped but was kept to serve as spare parts for the still running John F. Kennedy. It was originally estimated that the boat would only last 25 years due to the harshness of salt-water.
  • The Spirit of America joins the fleet

    The Spirit of America joins the fleet
    The most recent addition to the fleet was the Spirit of America. It is the last member of the Molinari class. It was originally meant to named the September 11 but local residents deemed this inappropriate, as many regular riders had lost loved ones in the tragedy. Instead a poll in the Staten Island Advance, which has long used the ferry in its logo, determined the name to be the patriotic Spirit of America.
  • Gov. Herbert H. Lehman ferryboat retired

    Gov. Herbert H. Lehman ferryboat retired
    A horn blast after a 10:30PM departure from Whitehall marked this boats retirement. Most passengers were ignorant of the occassion. Dick Kohn, a retired deckhand who had worked many days on the boat, came with his wife and wore his mate's hate for occassion. The boat was sold to a Bronx salvage company in October. Once all salvagable parts were removed it was scrapped with the American Legion sold for the same purpose that year.
  • A Walk Around Staten Island premieres on PBS

    A Walk Around Staten Island premieres on PBS
    Watch the full program here
    A Walk Around Staten Island was one of a 5 part documentary series with historian Barry Lewis that explored each borough through a walking tour. It includes an ride on the ferry discussing its importance to the island. It was made by Channel 13, the local Public Broadcasting Station.