Thanksgiving on the Yankee Ferry, New York’s oldest ferry

Forgotten and historic

I spent part of Thanksgiving on the Yankee Ferry.

Built in Philadelphia before the Titanic in 1907, the Yankee Ferry is New York’s oldest ferry. Every 150 feet once transported immigrants to the greatest nation on earth – God Bless America.

Ignored by civilization, forgotten in history, launched before lunar rockets and another Mission: Impossible Tom Cruise snooze, the Yankee Ferry is now home to a couple who also once tasted fame, success and fame.

In the ’80s, artists and creators Victoria MacKenzie and Richard Childs opened MacKenzie-Childs on East 57th. Her brilliant, unconventional, whimsical home designs – tableware, furniture, kitchen crafts, chairs, tables, pots – became must-haves. So acclaimed that her one-of-a-kind, expensive, handcrafted creations have been sold in top department stores.

Like the Yankee Ferry, they faced a finish line. Bankruptcy, bad management – they were brilliant artists, not savvy financiers. The store stays. The name stays. The creations remain. The names of Victoria MacKenzie and Richard Childs are now gone. Taken the place. Possession new. The ability to reuse their original designs or rebrand their famous names is prohibited by law.

Once super famous and wealthy, this couple now lives on the remains of a forgotten ship’s hull – a landmark in American history.

Yankee Ferry
The ferry was built in Philadelphia in 1907.

Since the waterways were not deep enough to bring passengers to Manhattan, this last ferry transported immigrants to Ellis Island. Its long steel hull with guns and cannons guarded Boston Harbor. It carried our WW1 soldiers to ships. His weapon was for protection. It stood guard and looked out for torpedoes. It brought the Hearsts, the rich, the VIPs, the civil servants to Liberty Island.

Now moored in Staten Island, I was on this now-rotting, wood-warped, rope-frayed, forgotten veteran. The wreckage of the bunks, hammocks and empty suitcases of the 16 crew members. A can on deck reads “Black Bear Glue 1888”.

It’s SOS time

In this ghost story, Victoria and Richard and their family were preparing Thanksgiving lunch on the upper deck. Served on stunning one-of-a-kind platters, plates, cups, glasses, a table, a chair they managed to salvage.

This ship – is that how you treat American history? Is this how we should take care of our elderly? Shouldn’t the United States of America honor and remember its veterans?

Staten Island could use a sightseeing monument. A look into history. Another reason to come to this part of town. This is a museum.

Yankee Ferry
New York’s oldest ferry is 150 feet long and was used to transport immigrants to Ellis Island.

Isn’t there a senator, congressman, politician, anybody who realizes we’re ignoring treasure? And after Victoria’s homemade (or in the ship’s galley) cakes, how about making it to a tea shop?

will anyone pay attention

IM the immortal stammer of our immortal Chump of State Biden, “The first thing I’m going to do next year to lick this recession is get all these deadbeats out of the soup kitchens.”

Only in his fog, children, only in his fog.