Yankee Ferry Farewell Voyage from Hoboken to Brooklyn

So this evening the Yankee Ferry bid it’s final farewell to Hoboken. See exclusive video here – and my parting thoughts below.

(Click the full screen button for best results – this is full HD 1920×1080.)

Hoboken did nothing to preserve a historical treasure

For one, the Yankee ferry was unique. One might call it the “ugly step child” whereas another might call it an amazing historical artifact worthy of attention, interest and praise.

Call it what you will. But one thing it was not: An incumbrance to any man woman or child.

I believe the Yankee Ferry was a treasure. It was a piece of American history, and should have been reveled. Even the Hoboken Historical Museum wanted to embrace this special vessel.

If I were Mayor of Hoboken, I would have done whatever is necessary to keep this quirky boat in our borders. However, Zimmer did nothing of the sorts – except order them out, and meekly “apologize” afterward. She aided and abetted the eviction of this slice of American history. Just like throwing out stale bread.

But just like the cool floating pool escaped to Brooklyn so now did the Yankee ferry.

What pains me the most in this situation is the utter lack of open mindedness from the administration. Was this ferry such an eyesore? Or a beautiful part of American history? The fact that the owners of the Yankee ferry tried wholeheartedly to reach an amicable agreement only to fall on deaf ears is disheartening. One might suspect hidden forces of influence in this tragic Hoboken event.

Regardless, she’s gone.

Yankee Ferry to leave Hoboken, NJ

7/1/2013 Update:

Got word that after nine great years on the shores of the Mile Square, the historic 1907 Yankee Ferry will be leaving Hoboken forever, and relocating to a new port over in Brooklyn, NY. Apparently Mayor Zimmer “booted them out” (who knows why, probably because you couldn’t collect parking meter money from them…)

Along with Maxwell’s and other unique bits and pieces of character getting stripped away – Hoboken seems to be slowly circling the drain, and may eventually become exclusively cookie cutter condos, strollers and chain stores.

Good luck at your next port, SS Yankee!

Yankee Ferry kicked out of Hoboken by Mayor Dawn Zimmer

8/11/2008 Update:

In case you didn’t have a chance to check out the Yankee Ferry back in June, you have another chance this week!

From Victoria:
“We had SUCH a huge response to the open boat two months ago that, we have arranged to have another one… back by popular demand! We have been asked by EVERYONE!

It is Wednesday, August 13th from 7 to 10 PM.

Brian Lawlor will be performing a soiree, we will be giving tours, AND we will be able to accept cash, checks OR credit cards for purchases of commemorative Yankee trays, as well as many other of our works. It is going to be lots of fun for people to be able to buy our work right on board . . . even our jewelry. AND we will have a delicious and thirst-quenching real lemon aid stand to add to the festivities!

Thank you again for helping us with this, Hoboken411!

PHOTO GALLERY (HOLD MOUSE OVER IMAGE TO NAVIGATE – 19 PHOTOS IN THIS SET)

6/26/2008 Update:

Stopped by the 1907 Yankee Ferry Hoboken open house this week… Here’s my under three-minute “home music video” presentation of my visit. Keep in mind I whipped this together in about 20-30 minutes. Added some random “pop-up” facts about the boat, etc.


Hoboken: Open House tour of the 1907 Yankee Ferry from Hoboken411 on Vimeo.

6/23/2008 Update:

You can finally get a peek inside this historic ferry tomorrow from 7 to 10pm!

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Open house at the Yankee Ferry

“I’m Victoria MacKenzie-Childs. My husband Richard and I have been the proud proprietors for over 6 years of the Historic Yankee Ferry built in 1907. We have been berthed here at the Shipyard for 2 years now. This Tuesday, June 24th, 7 to 10 PM we shall open her gangplank to our neighbors!

This is a wonderful opportunity for us to embrace the neighborhood that looks over us and out to the breathtaking vistas of the Hudson River.

During these hours we will give back to back tours of Yankee, America’s last remaining Ellis Island Ferry, and share ALL of her rich history.

Besides restoring Yankee and keeping her afloat for posterity, we keep her beautifully engaged as a studio and show space for our work as decorative artists. If you are not familiar with our work, you can see some of it on our site, http://www.VICTORIAandRICHARD.com Our guests will be invited to view the new works of Victoria & Richard MacKenzie-Childs under our new design movement, Victoria & Richard Emprise.”

So stop by 13th St. by the river and say hello to your floating neighbors! (and not via flood, either!)

8/5/2006:
This 100 year old historic ferry has been in Hoboken almost a month.

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Their floating home

Last Ellis Island ferry now in Hoboken – with two adults, two dogs, and a cat

Two adults, two dogs, and a cat all live in a historic 100-year-old steamboat that has just moved from Manhattan to Hoboken’s 12th Street Pier.

The family is paying $2,000 per month to dock the 136-foot long vessel, called the Yankee, which may host events for the Hoboken Historic Museum in the future.

After staying for 15 years at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park in Manhattan’s Tribeca district, the owners were forced to find a new home due to construction at the old location.

The ship’s residents, Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs, look forward to making Hoboken their new home. “You feel the history in Hoboken when you walk down the street,” said Richard, who discovered Schnackenberg’s Luncheonette on Washington Street during his first walk through the city. “Where else can you get a sandwich for two dollars and change?”

Better than Staten Island

Originally, the MacKenzie-Childs family thought they’d have to settle for Staten Island. They had requested a slip along Hoboken’s waterfront for months and not received a definitive answer. The ship, which is inoperable, was all ready to be tugged to Tottenville.

But within moments of phoning the Coast Guard, which has to approve all activity in the harbor, Richard received the go ahead from Scott Applegate, manager at the Shipyard Marina, to come to Hoboken.

The Marina happens to be located near the Hoboken historic Museum in the Shipyard housing development.

The history behind the Yankee

Over its 100-year history, the vessel has served many purposes, beginning as a luxury steamboat off the coast of Maine where it was christened the Machigonne in 1907. “Machigonne” was the name first given to Portland, Maine by the American Indians who settled there.

In 1917, the mahogany staircases and brass fixtures were overshadowed by the machine guns and canons that were fastened to the boat’s deck after the vessel was appropriated by the United States Army to patrol the Boston Harbor during World War I.

The vessel, which became known as the Hook Mountain, ended its tour of duty in 1919, after which it was used as a ferry between Provincetown and Boston.

Two years later the boat was brought down to New York City and used by Ellis Island to transport newly arrived immigrants to lower Manhattan.

The Yankee gave some of the poorest immigrants, who endured the squalid conditions below deck while crossing the Atlantic, an opportunity to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time. The steamboat is the last surviving Ellis Island Ferry.

Tour of duty continued

In 1929, the vessel began a new venture with the McAllister Navigation Company, where it was used as one of the first Statue of Liberty tour boats.

Thirteen years later, the boat was employed by the U.S. Navy to transport troops around Philadelphia and the Delaware River during World War II. Before being relieved of its military service, the boat was renamed the Yankee in 1947.

For the next 36 years, the Yankee operated as a ferry off Rhode Island, shuttling commuters between Block Island and Providence. In 1983, the Yankee, which had suffered from years of neglect and survived several mishaps, was sent to a New London, Conn. boatyard for scrap.

Seven years later, antique dealer Jimmy Gallagher rescued the Yankee from the maritime graveyard and had it towed to Tribeca’s Pier 25.

Gallagher spent the next 13 years restoring the boat he called home. As a result of his efforts and its history, the boat has been entered into the National Historic Register. In 2003, Gallagher sold the boat for $365,000 to its current owners.

Future role in Hoboken

Since purchasing the boat, the MacKenzie-Childs has rented it out occasionally to help pay for the exorbitant costs of restoring and maintaining a ship of its magnitude. Events on the boat have ranged from wedding parties to jazz concerts and included two separate Tribeca Film Festival parties.

The couple has also hosted several book club meetings, bird watching sessions, and a one-woman show on board the Yankee free of charge.

Richard has already expressed interest in working with the Hoboken Historical Museum to hold theatrical workshops on the boat for local children.

Museum Director Bob Foster is thrilled over the Yankee’s arrival.

“It’s the best thing to happen to the waterfront in a long time,” said Foster, who is already considering ideas for future projects with the boat.

One such event might be a lecture on maritime history, while another could be a Sea Shanty concert that features folk songs used by sailors to ease the pain of heavy labor.

“It’s the only historical vessel on this side of the Hudson,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to their presence and working with them in the future.”

Hoboken NJ

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