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Thread: Piers 25 and 26 in Tribeca - Hudson River Park

  1. #1

    Default Piers 25 and 26 in Tribeca - Hudson River Park

    Gritty Tribeca Piers Start Final Season

    By Carl Glassman

    As usual, Bob Townley was up at dawn one Sunday morning last month, picking up trash, sweeping away puddles, and surveying the scene on the Tribeca pier that has been his domain for the last 10 years. Walking past the Yankee ferry, where a chicken clucked from the stern, he strolled to the end of the pier. There he found two geese gazing out at the river. Seeing him, the birds hissed and honked their displeasure.

    “Who are you talkin’ to?” Townley shot back.

    So began a typical day on this sawed-off slab of Manhattan called Pier 25, where burgers and lemonade are served at the “Sweet Love Snack Bar,” mini-golf costs two bucks, and some of the city’s best river views are available, free of charge, from the remnants of an abandoned driving range.

    After a decade of summers during which Townley’s organization, Manhattan Youth, leased Pier 25 from the state, his days of running the homely piece of waterfront—a funky backyard for many locals—are coming to an end. Demolition of Tribeca’s two piers, 25 and 26, is expected by next spring.

    Last month, Gov. George Pataki announced the long-anticipated allocation of $70 million for the rebuilding of the Tribeca portion of Hudson River Park, a project expected to be completed in 2008.

    After the two piers are rebuilt and reopened, they will be home to bigger, slicker versions of what is there now. For Pier 25, an 18-hole mini-golf course, beach volleyball and an artificial-turf lawn are planned. The pier will also have a wondrous children’s playground filled with challenging climbing equipment and lots of water play, designed by Donna Walcavage, the creator of the playground in Rockefeller Park. There will be a community dock and a landing for water taxis, and in the water just off the pier will be moorings for 60 to 100 boats. The upland area will contain a skate park, a dance floor and landscaping.

    Despite the promise of a revitalized waterfront, however, there is also talk of what will be lost.

    “I think the aesthetics and the sense of freedom of an old Tribeca pier will be gone,” said Townley, a Battery Park City resident, who 10 years ago presented Community Board 1 with his plan for the pier in the form of a drawing scribbled on a napkin. “And I think that the users of Pier 25 will feel a loss of ownership.”

    It is yet to be determined what Townley’s role will be on the new Pier 25. He would like his organization to run the food concession, volleyball courts and mini-golf. But for the first time, the operators of the piers will be chosen, by the Hudson River Park Trust, through a competitive process.

    The waterfront future is unclear, too, for Cathy Drew and her River Project on Pier 26.

    When Drew, a long-time Tribeca resident, got the idea for studying the local river habitat from the pier in 1986, it was still a parking lot where car auctions were held. Today, the River Project has a staff of 10, a wide variety of river creatures swimming in its tanks, and more young interns helping out than ever before.

    A far larger marine biology center, or estuarium, has long been envisioned for a rebuilt Pier 26. But Drew hopes to come back. “We feel capable of being the new operator,” she said.

    Chris Martin, spokesman for the Hudson River Park Trust, said that the agency has reached out to several organizations, including the Army Corps of Engineers, Cornell University, and the State University of New York, as well as Drew’s River Project, as possible operators of the estuarium. “There is no set decision about how it will operate,” Martin said.

    In the interim, Drew’s program may be homeless. She said she would like to operate at Pier 40, but Martin sounded doubtful. “There are no discussions at this time,” he said.

    Next door to the River Project on Pier 26 is the Downtown Boathouse, a former produce warehouse that is a kayakers haven.

    Jim Wetteroth, also a long-time Tribecan, started the boathouse with Drew in 1987. He built it up from a spot used by a few kayakers to the boating home for 200 oarsman.

    When Pier 26 is rebuilt, a new boathouse will be one of four centers for human-powered crafts in Hudson River Park. In an interview, Wetteroth seemed resigned to giving up the reigns of the facility once the pier is rebuilt, though the Downtown Boathouse organization may still be the operator.

    “I don’t know whether I’ll be involved,” said Wetteroth, a plumber who turns 65 this month. “It will be a park, a lot cleaner and more professional and everything like that. But I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable in it.”

    As Wetteroth hammered away, repairing a floating dock just south of the pier, Joanne Chin, a neighbor from across the street, sat with her dog on Pier 25, as she often does, enjoying the air and the quiet of the river.

    “I like it like this,” said Chin, who often comes to the pier in the company of her two parrots. “If the pier is upgraded I hope it keeps the comfortable feel. Everything is becoming glitzy in Tribeca.”

  2. #2
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    So true. It would be great if some part of the new park could maintain the kick-back feel of cool Pier 25, with its Bob Marley music and burgers on the grill.

  3. #3

    Default Pier 26 - Hudson River Park

    Cross Street: Hubert Street

    The north side of Pier 26 is home of the Downtown Boathouse, where members can store small craft such as canoes and kayaks. The public can borrow these canoes/kayaks or launch their own for free (donations suggested). The River Project, an ecological education and research center that studies Hudson River life, is located on the west side of Pier 26. Nearby you can try your skills at the Trapeze School - the first of its kind in New York.

    In the future, Pier 26 will be fully rebuilt and extended to cover its original footprint. It will continue to have a boathouse and boat launch for non-motorized boats. The Pier will also be home to an estuarium – a Hudson River education and research center – with interpretive science exhibits, a science garden and classroom space. A restaurant will also be located here to serve park patrons.

    Getting a kayak at Pier 26. 3 July 2005.

  4. #4
    Forum Veteran
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    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI



    Continued excellent coverage of HRP. Such an amazing project. Looks like it might actually be completed sometime kinda soon.

    Are there any portions that are still not funded?

  5. #5
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District


    Off the Waterfront


    Published: July 31, 2005

    ALTHOUGH many of the old piers that line the Hudson River have been made over in recent years, outfitted in brick-lined dog runs and sporting fields topped with "turf grass," Pier 25 in TriBeCa is still scruffy and untouched, and defiantly so.

    The pier, which lies near West and Harrison Streets, holds a clapboard hamburger stand, a miniature golf course made from recycled garbage, a couple of volleyball courts and a sculpture park with found "artwork" fished from the river. Docked on its northern edge is an old wooden ferryboat, the Yankee.

    Last month, however, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation approved spending $70 million to redesign the TriBeCa section of Hudson River Park, which includes Pier 25 and neighboring Pier 26. Because construction will most likely begin this winter, this is the last summer locals will be able to congregate on this determinedly nondescript spot.

    No one denies that both piers need to be rebuilt. Teredos, or shipworms, have feasted on the pilings, and Pier 26, which holds a small boathouse and a marine science field station, is little more than a nub, the riverside equivalent of a finger that has been snipped off at the knuckle. But many locals who frequent the waterfront worry that something will be lost in translation, that in the building of a new and modern pier a certain casualness will disappear, along with the rotted pilings. The gritty piers are such a part of the community that an homage to them was published this summer in The Tribeca Trib, a local newspaper.

    The man who designed the pier in its current form, a tall, energetic youth organizer named Bob Townley, did so on a piece of cardboard left over from a laundered shirt, which he presented to Community Board 1 12 years ago. When the Hudson River Park Trust, which governs the park, presented the board with its plan to revamp the piers two weeks ago, group members took along a three-color poster and a team of architects.

    Much the new design is faithful to the elements already present on the piers: there will be volleyball courts, a food stand and mini-golf. But the hamburger stand, known as the Sweet Love Snack Bar, is to be torn down in favor of a more modern structure, and Maria Reidelbach, who designed the current golf course (and is the co-author of a book on mini-golf, bound in artificial turf), will now defer to a company, Harris Miniature Golf.

    "It's like a community garden becoming a city park," Mr. Townley said of the redesign. "The community hung out there, drank beers there and worked hard to turn it into something. Then, suddenly, there are rules. Oh, that word - rules."

    BOTH piers have always felt distinctly out of bounds, like frontier territories. Before Mr. Townley arrived, Pier 25 was occupied by the Amazon Village, a rowdy open-air nightclub that offered the previously unheard-of combination of alcohol and bungee jumping (the club was eventually evicted after residents of nearby Independence Plaza complained of blood-curdling screams at 2 a.m.).

    For a time, the pier was also homeport to Poppa Neutrino, the eccentric bohemian who sailed into New York harbor in 1988 on a raft made of garbage, and who, after being grounded by the Coast Guard for a time, sailed back out, eventually to Europe.

    "Until recently, it really was like the Wild West over there," said Cathy Drew, the soft-spoken founder of the River Project, a group that started the marine science field station and the public aquarium on Pier 26. "Everything that applied to the rest of the city didn't apply to us."

    In 1986, when Ms. Drew founded the River Project, the only marine life thought hardy enough to survive in the Hudson was of the radioactive variety. At the time, Pier 26 was a tow yard for the city's Department of Transportation.

    One morning, Ms. Drew approached a security guard and asked to set some traps, just to see what they would catch. Eventually, she took over a shed once used as a produce warehouse for Washington Market, and a marine life learning center was born.

    One recent muggy afternoon, Pier 25 was crowded as usual with people trying to escape summer in the city. They had traveled a mere 100 feet from shore, but they seemed content. On benches near the golf course, a group of children, invited by Mr. Townley's organization, Manhattan Youth, were learning to paint. The sky was cloudless and blue. The smell of burning charcoal from the snack shop hung thickly in the air.

    AT the Chelsea Piers, a half-mile up the Hudson, it is possible to stand in a climate-controlled, arch-roofed building and never know you are along the river. At Pier 25, that's impossible. The breeze blows at a steady clip all year, and in the winter snowdrifts pile three feet high. Often, you feel as if the pier itself will break free and be carried off by the current.

    It isn't an unreasonable notion. Several years ago, the pier's edge collapsed into the water, creating a kind of gangplank. Three weeks later, a small airplane crashed into the tip of Pier 25. Instead of drowning, the pilot climbed onto the pier and strolled to shore.

    These days, among the more pressing questions about the piers is how the redesign will affect the current tenants. Although a marine field station is to be built on Pier 26, it is unclear what Ms. Drew's role will be, or if the River Project will be involved at all. The same goes for the Yankee ferry, which was docked on Pier 25 15 years ago by its former owner, an antiques dealer named Jimmy Gallagher.

    Mr. Gallagher used to hold rollicking parties on the boat and spent 13 hard years restoring it. Shortly after the park trust took over the pier, he sold the boat to Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs, who are houseware designers. Like Mr. Gallagher before them, they live on the boat, and when construction on the new pier begins, they will have to leave. The new pier will berth historic ships, but the Yankee may not be one of them.

    None of this comes as a complete surprise to pier fans. Overhauling the piers is something that has been in the works for over a decade, and the park trust has openly collaborated with the community board on the redesign. Ms. Drew has operated on 30-day permit since she arrived at the piers two decades ago. Still, there is a kind of disbelief that the long-talked-about plans are finally a reality.

    "Inside me, I know it's going to be hard because I put so much work into the pier," said Mr. Townley, who is still unsure of his role in the new facility. "But I've always felt people concentrate too much on design and look. Is the pier going to be too shiny and new for us? Maybe not."

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  6. #6
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District


    I walked by the piers last Sunday, and it really was packed. There were some tents set up close to West Street, and a lot of people were in bathing suits. It looked like there was some kind of "massage demonstration" going on. The people there undoubtedly have a good time, but I agree - the pier needs some serious fixing up. It literally looks like it is crumbling into the river.

  7. #7

    Default slup spider

    does anyone know if there is a resturant going up on this pier. The previous maps of this same schematic showed a resturant.

    Also, For YOur Information: construction on this site starts in a few last.

  8. #8
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    I always liked the cheap burgers at the b-b-q stand ... lousy lemonade, though.

  9. #9


    Yankee may go down the river

    Richard Mackenzie-Childs said when his Yankee Ferry has to leave Pier 25 Nov. 12 he hopes to have a new home secured at Pier A in Battery Park.

    The Yankee, a 1907-vessel that once shuttled new immigrants from Ellis Island to Lower Manhattan, has to find a new spot to make way for construction of the Tribeca section of the Hudson River Park.

    Mackenzie-Childs said he was surprised the Hudson River Park Trust didn’t make more of an effort to find room for his ship at Pier 40 near Houston St., but he thinks he may be able to stay Downtown at Pier A. He said William Wachtell, who is renovating the landmark pier in Battery Park, has expressed interest in hosting the Yankee. Wachtell, who owns New York Waterway’s Lower Manhattan ferry routes, has other dock space and has given Mackenzie-Childs confidence that the Yankee will find a home somewhere if Pier A is not feasible.

    Mackenzie-Childs said he won’t be able to tug the Yankee to Staten Island for needed repairs Nov. 12 unless he can guarantee the dry dock site that he has a place to take the boat once it’s fixed.

    He does want to bring the Yankee back to its home for the last 15 years, Pier 25, once it reopens. He said the park will need the ship back. “There’s a great chance it’ll end up being a very sterile park,” he said.

    Chris Martin, spokesperson for the Trust, said the Yankee can’t go to Pier 40 because the only area where it would fit is deteriorating.

    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.
    Downtown Express | 487 Greenwich St., Suite 6A | New York, NY 10013

    Phone: 212.242.6162 | Fax: 212.229.2970

  10. #10
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Yankee may go down the river

    “There’s a great chance it’ll end up being a very sterile park,”
    BOO! HISS !!!

  11. #11
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    The Old Ferryboat and the Sea:
    A Parable Updated as a Landlord-Tenant Dispute

    NY Times
    November 24, 2005

    The first thing the people who own the Yankee ferry will tell you is that they are ready to shove off. They are willing to collect the chickens that roost on the deck of the 98-year-old boat, round up the squalling puppies that have the run of the ship, and, with regret, cast off in their floating piece of history from Pier 25 on the TriBeCa waterfront in search of a new home.

    But the question is when. Their landlord, the Hudson River Park Trust, with whom the owners of the Yankee once got along so well, has run out of patience.

    The trust, a city-state agency that operates the park, has served the Yankee's owners, Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs, with an eviction order so it can start renovation work on the pier and on neighboring Pier 26, near North Moore Street. The trust has changed the locks on the pier's gate, cutting off access to the Yankee, leaving Ms. MacKenzie-Childs a prisoner in her own home.

    "I'm stuck here," she said the other day. "Everything has to come through the bars of the fence."

    The couple say the Yankee has nowhere to go. Since the ferry's diesel engine has not worked for years, it cannot leave under its own power.

    Angel Franco/The New York Times

    The Yankee, a once-elegant 98-year-old ferryboat, still floats, but it has no working engines,
    a drawback that is complicating efforts to evict it from its TriBeCa pier, where it has been
    moored for the last 15 years.

    "They're there illegally," said Chris Martin, the trust's spokesman. "The trust will exercise any remedies necessary in order to start construction on that pier."

    The trust's Web site says the work is scheduled to start next year.

    For the past 15 years, the Yankee has been one funky occupant of a funky pier that once featured a sculpture garden with driftwood and other objects pulled from the river, a miniature golf course made from recycled trash, sand volleyball courts and a clapboard hamburger stand called the Sweet Love Snack Bar. The Yankee was open to the public on summer Sundays, and sometimes, more than 1,000 people would go aboard to marvel at the ship's four levels of nooks and crannies, its mahogany window frames and its rusted iron and steel hull.

    Mr. MacKenzie-Childs acknowledges that it was not until after the trust received a $70 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to complete the TriBeCa portion of the Hudson River Park that the couple began searching for a new home for the Yankee with vigor.

    They said that the trust had assured them that it would help find the Yankee a temporary home, though the trust denies making any such assurances. The couple say they have canvassed marinas in the five boroughs and New Jersey for another berth to rent, without luck. Some piers are too small for the Yankee. Others, like Pier A in Battery Park City, are in places where the river's currents are so strong that the water would make short work of the fragile ship. They also say they do not want to be too far from Manhattan, where the public is best able to enjoy the historic boat.

    "People want the Yankee to be in a place somewhere they can see it," Mr. MacKenzie-Childs said.

    After starting its life as a luxury ferry in Casco Bay, Me., the Yankee, a 136-foot former steamboat, was used by the military to guard Boston Harbor during World War I. Later, it became a transfer steamer between Ellis Island and Lower Manhattan. After a stint as a Statue of Liberty tour boat, the ship was again pressed into service by the military, as a troop transport during World War II. Renamed the Yankee in 1947, it became the regular shuttle between Providence, R.I., and Block Island for more than three decades.

    Then its sad decline began. At one point, the Yankee struck an oil platform off Long Island and almost sank. Its low point came in 1983, when it was sold as scrap. It was rescued by an antique dealer, Jimmy Gallagher, who towed it to Pier 25 and repaired it. He sold it to the current owners two years ago.
    When the Yankee finally leaves its berth and the pier is redesigned, some neighbors say, something will be lost.

    "People want to beautify it, but they don't realize it is exactly what they need," said Twan Huys, 41, who was married aboard the Yankee in September.

    Ms. MacKenzie-Childs said she planned to stay put for now. She still has electricity and water.

    "They're trying to smoke us out with the least amount of disruption," she said. "They're trying to beat us down so we say saving this is not worth it."

    Mr. Martin of the trust declined to say what the agency's next move would be, but said crisply, "They've had ample notice."

  12. #12

    Default Same happed to "Town Hall"

    I hope that the Yankee can find a way to get back to pier 25 eventually.

    "Town hall" (the raft near pier 25) was evicted awile back. Papa Neutrino - in protetest - built a small wooden box on pier 25: climbed-in and refused to leave for days. The police eventually came and bodily removed him from the box.

    I saw them remove him that day - He said he was just doing a "stunt" - and is now on to other adventures.

    That pier is the most facinating thing.

    Last edited by infoshare; November 24th, 2005 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Quote not necessary

  13. #13
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel

    Trapped on Pier 25 — Yankee’s owners send out S.O.S.

    By Josh Rogers

    The Hudson River Park Trust locked the Yankee Ferry owners on Pier 25 Monday in a move some fear could jeopardize the safety of the historic vessel.

    “It needs to be cared for,” owner Victoria MacKenzie-Childs said of the 98-year-old ship that once shuttled new immigrants to Lower Manhattan from Ellis Island. “If a fire — if anything would happen, we are complete prisoners on the pier now.”

    She said four days after the Trust gave her the new combination to the locks on the Tribeca pier’s gate — ostensibly to prevent vagrants from entering — officials changed the combination Nov. 21 and locked her husband out.

    MacKenzie-Childs believes they purposely waited until the ship’s caretaker had briefly left the boat so they could change the combination when she was all alone on the Yankee.

    Her husband Richard noticed the change when he came back in the rain Monday night and he managed to climb over the fence. On Tuesday, he was out talking to an attorney to see about getting full access to his ship.

    Victoria said she cannot scale the fence and has remained on the pier since the lockout. At press time, they had not yet complained to the Trust.

    Victoria said in a telephone interview that when they got the combination from the Trust last week, she thought they were being “very sweet, very friendly. There was no indication of any harm or putting us in a dangerous situation.” Now she feels “they are trying to smoke us out. It’s like a kind of warfare.”

    Chris Martin, spokesperson for the Trust, in response to the assertion the Yankee was in danger, said: “That’s fine. We’re right here with the combination. We have PEP officers there.”

    He did not know if Park Enforcement Patrol officers had the combination, but regardless, Martin said the ship would be safe in an emergency because the gate could be opened quickly.

    Not everyone agrees. Julie Nadel, a member of the Trust’s board of directors, said the state-city authority has acted irresponsibly with a vessel on the National Register for Historic Places and should find a place for the Yankee to dock while the Tribeca section of the park is built over the next three years.

    “For people to be locked out on the waterfront is not safe,” said Nadel.

    “Kicking out any historic ship would hurt any waterfront park. What you end up with is nothing but benches, grass and trees.”

    Martin said the Trust has given the owners ample notice to get off the pier to build the park, and have asked Con Edison to shut off the power. If the utility does this before the owners get a generator, that would also endanger the Yankee because they would not be able to pump out water if the hull is flooded.

    Martin said there is nowhere in the park for the Yankee to stay for the next three years, but he said they could come back after the $70-million project is complete.

    “We welcome – we really do — the Yankee coming back and applying for our historic ship policy,” he said. Piers 25, 54 and 97 are set aside for historic ships but none could accommodate the Yankee now, according to Martin.

    Community Board 2 passed a resolution last week calling on the Trust to “not eschew its responsibility to preserve historic vessels in Hudson River Park.” In its application to build the park back in 2000, the Trust asserted the construction would have “no effect” on the Yankee and other historic ships.

    C.B. 2 said the Trust should move the boat to one of two piers in its area, Pier 54 near 14th St. or Pier 40 near Houston St. on either the north or west side of the pier.

    Arthur Schwartz, chairperson of the board’s Waterfront Committee, spoke against the south side of Pier 40 because it would, among other things, block the romantic harbor views where he proposed to his wife.

    The south side has small kayak and other ship programs which oppose the Yankee locating there. The board resolution said the Yankee should be allowed to move to the south side temporarily if the time was needed to prepare another place for the ferry.

    “It’s always been a peaceful boat, well run,” said David Reck, a C.B. 2 member who was perhaps unaware that the ship was armed but not used during W.W. I and II. “It’s never been a nuisance. This has always been a very well-mannered boat.”

    Martin has said there is room for the Yankee on Pier 40’s north side, but the Trust doesn’t want to put a non-operational vessel there and close off the possibility of welcoming visiting ships to the pier. He said the agency can’t spend any of the $70 million the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation gave them to build the park on preparing a temporary home for the Yankee during construction. He hopes construction will start soon, and said if the Yankee is still there once the contractors are ready, the delays will cost the Trust $5,500 a day. He did not know the precise day when work could begin.

    Jimmy Gallagher, who brought the Yankee to Tribeca in 1990, restored it, and sold it to the MacKenzie-Childs in 2003, said a week ago that a home for the Yankee could be built in the park for less than $10,000.

    Mike Davis, executive director of the Floating of the Apple youth boating organization on Pier 40, said he hopes the Yankee finds a place but the south side of the pier won’t work. He said he was less open to them coming to the south side when the wife of one of his group’s volunteers showed him a House & Garden article about the Yankee, depicting it as a luxury private residence where the MacKenzie-Childs were running their design business.

    Victoria said she knew the article was seen as “sissy stuff” by some, but she was proud of it. The couple has also opened the boat for public tours, concerts and programs.

    Nadel, a Trust director, said she’d like to see more public programs on the ship, but the main concern now is keeping an historic boat in the park.

    For Victoria, who feels trapped on the pier, she is not ready to believe the Trust ever wants them back, given that last Thursday officers said “would you like us to lock it so you feel more protected” then changed the combination Monday night. In addition, Connie Fishman, the Trust’s president, told her husband on Nov. 7 to “just go away quietly” if they want a chance to ever come back. He sent her a letter the next day that included the quote.

    Fishman did not return a call about the comment attributed to her and Martin, her spokesperson, said he was not aware the Trust ever disputed the quote in a reply.

    Victoria MacKenzie-Childs said they have pursued every suggestion Fishman has made but it’s not easy finding a place that has room for a 147–foot vessel. “We’ve cased the waterfront of Manhattan and every other borough.”

    Victoria MacKenzie-Childs was stuck on Pier 25 Tuesday because the Hudson River Park Trust changed the lock combination in an effort to get she and her husband to move the historic Yankee Ferry off the pier. Her husband is able to climb over the fence.

  14. #14


    Yankee is forced out at home

    Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel

    The Yankee is likely to be tugged to New Jersey Dec. 1

    By Josh Rogers

    After a tense week of lockouts, charges and countercharges about endangering the historic Yankee Ferry in the Hudson River Park, the Yankee’s park career neared what could be its final day as the owners prepared to tug the ship to a new home in New Jersey to make room for construction of the park’s Tribeca section.

    Richard MacKenzie-Childs, who owns the ship with his wife, Victoria, didn’t come close to saying he was “the luckiest man on the face of the earth” as another Yankee, Lou Gehrig, famously said at the end of his career and life, but he did say relations with the Hudson River Park Trust were considerably better since last week when the Trust tried to lock him and his wife off Pier 25 at N. Moore St.

    “I think they did it to make a point that they were very serious about asking us to move,” he said Tuesday. “We always knew they were serious but I guess they wanted to add an exclamation point.”

    He expects a tugboat will move the ship across the river to Liberty Harbor Marina in Weehawken, N.J. on Thursday, Dec 1.

    Last week on Monday, he was forced to climb over the pier fence in the rain to get back to his wife and vessel because the Trust changed the locks four days after giving the couple the combination.

    Julie Nadel, a member of the Trust’s board of directors, said it was “grotesquely irresponsible” of Trust staffers to leave a ship on the National Register of Historic Places and people behind a locked fence without giving them full access in an emergency.

    Nadel said she thinks the Yankee may be invited back sooner under a new administration. “We’ve got a new governor next year and five new appointments to the trust,” she said. “It can only get better for historic ships…. It’s collective amnesia about what the waterfront was and what it could be.”

    Her position on the Trust board is more secure since she is an appointee of Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields, whose incoming successor, Scott Stringer, is a Nadel ally.

    Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, said on Tuesday, Nov. 22 that if necessary, staff people would be able to quickly notify Park Enforcement Patrol officers to open the fence.

    The next day the Trust gave the MacKenzie-Childs the new combination. It was the same day Nadel made a forceful complaint to the Trust and that Downtown Express published a front-page article about the lockout. Martin said because of the reduced staff level for Thanksgiving weekend, the Trust decided the safest thing was to give the couple the combination over the weekend. He said the Trust did not change the locks again after the weekend because it looked like the Yankee’s owners were close to finding a place to move.

    MacKenzie-Childs said he made an agreement Tuesday to dock at Lincoln Marina until the spring, when he will have to find a new home because the marina is expecting a new boat. He has begun conversations with people in Greenport, L.I., and he is hopeful that they will have space in the town marina for the 140-foot ship, at least during the three years the Tribeca section of the park is being built.

    “It’s just a relief,” he said. “It’s temporary but it buys us some time and the knot in my stomach is no longer there.”

    His monthly rent will go from $500 to $1,200 but he said the new marina is giving him a good deal because the rent includes various services for the boat. His first choice though was to remain in the Hudson River Park.

    “We really think we benefit the community and would prefer to be in the park,” he said. As to whether he wants to return in three years, he said: “We would like to at this point. There’s probably no better boat to be in the Hudson River Park than the Yankee because of its history.”

    He said there are not many vessels left as old as the 98-year-old Yankee that have ties to New York City. The ship also has a strong connection to Lower Manhattan in particular since it previously shuttled new immigrants from Ellis Island to the Downtown mainland, was a Statue of Liberty ferry and has been berthed in Tribeca since 1990 when Jimmy Gallagher, the previous owner, tugged the ship from Rhode Island to Pier 25 to restore it. The ship has been mostly nonoperational since the 1980s when it was last used as a ferry to Block Island.

    From Weehawken, the vessel’s next stop will be for hull repairs on Staten Island, where the ship is expected to spend about a month in dry dock.

    Preliminary fence work has begun around Pier 25 and Martin said once Con Ed cuts the pier’s electrical power, the contractor would not have been able to begin the heavy work if the Yankee was still there. The Trust would have been billed $5,500 a day for the delays, he added.

    Connie Fishman, the Trust’s president, declined to comment on whether the Trust endangered an historic vessel last week by changing the locks. Trip Dorkey, the state-city authority’s chairperson, said he did not know the details, but did note the owners had full access to the ship when he visited the pier Sunday.

    He said he had little sympathy for the couple since they are violating the law governing the park by living in it and have known for years that they would have to move for construction. “They promised to leave and they’re still there,” Dorkey said hours before the Liberty Marina agreement was reached.

    The Trust has known people have lived on the Yankee since the agency was created in 1998 and has treated the violation with everything from benign neglect to strong objections short of an eviction order.

    The current and previous owners say the only feasible way to preserve an aging vessel such as the Yankee is to allow people to live on the boat.

    Martin said he did not think the ship was put at risk, but even if it was, the owners deserve the blame because they have known for years that they would have to move. “They endangered the vessel by not making arrangements,” he said.

    He said there is no room in the park for the Yankee during construction, an assertion disputed by Nadel, the MacKenzie-Childs’ and Greenwich Village’s Community Board 2, which asked the Trust to find room for the ship either at Pier 40 near Houston St. or Pier 54 near 14th St.

    The Tribeca section of Hudson River Park is being built with a $70 million federal grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which like the Trust is a state-city authority. The plan calls for rebuilding decaying Piers 25 and 26 near N. Moore St., adding plant life, a playing field and restoring many of the piers’ existing uses, including places for historic ships, kayaks, river-life studies, beach volleyball, mini-golf and a playground.

  15. #15

    Default The Historic Ship Yankee

    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Yankee is forced out at home

    Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel

    The Yankee is likely to be tugged to New Jersey Dec. 1
    I was curious as to exactly where the Yankee would go after being evicted from pier 25. So, I was pleasantly suprised today when I spotted the Yankee while returning from New Jersey today.

    The ferryboat Yankee is visable from the road leading into the Lincoln Tunnel.

    I will be driving by there tomorrow and will try to snap a photo while on the road. It may seem trivial matter but I am interested following-up on what will eventually become of that historic ship.

    If any one else has any info on (location, photo, news) I would appreciate hearing about it.

    One photo is taken from the NJ side of Hudsonr river, the other NYC.......Mega pixels and a telephoto lens is needed here so the boat is hard to is directly accross from the nyc heleport.

    From the Downtown Express, Volume 18 • Issue 36 | January 20 - 26, 2006

    An oil lantern slide of the Machigonne, the original name for the Yankee Ferry. The slide is believed to have been made around 1915.

    Collector discovers early color slide of the Yankee

    A Pennsylvania collector has discovered an early slide of the Yankee Ferry — the historic ship that was docked in Tribeca from 1990 until late last year when the ship was forced to move by the Hudson River Park Trust.

    The collector, Gregory Ramsey of Harrisburg, Penn., found a reference to the 1907 ship’s original name, Machigonne, in a recent Downtown Express article and e-mailed us a copy of the slide. The oil lantern slide was likely to have been made around 1915 and may be one of the earliest color depictions of the vessel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Below are excerpts from Ramsey’s e-mails:

    Greetings from Pennsylvania! I’m not sure whether it was Forrest Gump who said that Internet research is like a box of chocolates, but here is support for the idea. For the past week I have been scanning and researching a box of about 200 glass lantern slides, circa 1915, that once belonged to the wealthy Joseph McAleenan family of New York City and Centre Moriches. Among the slides was the attached view of a ship which, when I looked at the slide with magnification, bore the (to me, strange) name “Machigonne.” I was pleased and delighted when my initial Internet search led me to the Naval History Center home page ( and specifics of the ship’s history, but then utterly stunned to find Ellen Keohane’s article from the October 14-20, 2005 issue of the Downtown Express, “This Yankee may be out for more than one season,” and learn that the nearly 100-year-old ship, a.k.a., the Yankee Ferry, still exists! I am reeling from the serendipity of it all! I would be very happy if you could forward a copy of this image to the ship’s owners, together with my best wishes for the Yankee’s preservation….

    The photo is one of a related group of glass lantern slides I bought from an antique photography dealer roughly 20 years ago. I retired this past June and am finally getting to some of my long deferred projects. Fortunately since the time I acquired this collection, tools such as computers and scanners have come along or developed to the point that copying, sharing and researching information is now so much easier. The slides are 3 1/4 by 4 inches and are hand-colored (transparent oil colors were commonly used). I am speculating the circa 1915 date based on two other slides in the collection, one with a dated inscription and another showing a car with a visible license plate. Also, I assume the slide shows the use of the ship prior to being chartered by the Navy for military uses in October, 1917. All of the slides seem consistent in date based on subject matter and general appearance....

    I have a long way to go in researching this group of lantern slides, the McAleenan family and all, but it should be fun. (The head of the family at that time was Joseph A. McAleenan, a well-known New York City pawnbroker who lived at 410 Park Ave. and had a large summer home in Centre Moriches — the slides depict the lifestyle of an extremely well-to-do family — family members, clothing, architecture, pets, yachts, sports, etc. and are striking artistically as well.) Discovering your articles on the Yankee was a wonderful surprise and encourages me to keep “digging.”

    “That’s a great shot,” said Jimmy Gallagher, who owned the Yankee for most of its Tribeca stay. “It is the earliest colored photograph of the ship that I have seen.”

    Gallagher said he is certain the picture was taken in Battery Park and he remembers once seeing a similar black-and white photo of an event in the park involving many dignitaries. The Machigonne was built by the Harpswell Steamboat Company in 1907 and was first used to carry passengers between Portland, Maine and the Calendar Islands in Casco Bay.

    John Moore brought the ship to New York harbor in 1914 and used it to take new immigrants arriving on cruises back and forth between Ellis Island to be processed. The vessel, which at one time was docked at Battery Park’s Pier A, also was a Statue of Liberty ferry. Moore was the likely owner when the slide was made.

    In 1947, the Machigonne was renamed the Yankee and ferried vacationers to Block Island, Rhode Island until the 1980’s, when the ship was retired and neglected. Gallagher discovered the decaying ship and tugged it to Tribeca’s Pier 25 where he restored it. In 2003 he sold it to Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs, who continue to preserve it.

    In December, the Hudson River Park Trust forced the ship to move in order to build the Tribeca section of the park. The couple moved the ship to Lincoln Harbor Marina in Weehawken, N.J., where they will be able to stay at least until April.

    “It’s very calm here,” Richard MacKenzie-Childs said in a telephone interview last week. “It’s very easy watching the boat in a marina, but we prefer being part of a community in Tribeca.”

    He has had discussions with the city Parks Dept. about moving to Flushing Meadows Park, although he said that is an out of the way location. He said the couple’s furniture design business has been busy lately and he is thinking about selling the Yankee.
    Last edited by infoshare; October 28th, 2007 at 12:08 PM.

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