Over and Back: The History of Ferryboats in New York Harbor

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Fordham Univ Press, 1990 - History - 472 pages
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Ask the average American anywhere in the country to answer the association question "Staten Island" and you get "Ferry" in immediate response. what is regularly billed as "America's favorite boatride"- not least because a round trip still costs an astonishing twenty-five cents- is the last public survivor of New York Harbor's once immense fleet of those doughty double-ended ferryboats.

Dozens of ferryboats in a myriad of liveries crossed the harbor's waterways as recently as one generation ago Most have vanished as though they never were, leaving in their ghostly wakes only fading memories and a few gorgeously restored ferry terminals. The handsomest of these terminals, on the New Jersey side of the Hudson, is probably the one dubbed by Christopher Morley the Piazza San Lackawanna.

Over and Back captures definatively nearly two centuries of ferryboating in New York Harbor, by a master narrator of the history of transportation in America. In stories, charts, maps, photographs, diagrams, route lists, fleet rosters, and in the histories of some four hundred ferryboats, Brian J. Cudahy captures the whole tale as concisely as one could hope.

The transportation expert, the ferry buff, the model builder, the urban historian: each will find grist for his or her mill. The photographs capture a highly significant footnote in America's past and present; the colored illustrations preserve some of the stylish rigs in which the owners garbed their boats, despite coal soot, oil smudge, and urban grime.

Fully a third of the book comprises the most complete statistical compilation that the nation's public and private archives permit. The data show, among other things, that some of the former workhorses of New York Harbor are filling utilitarian or social roles elsewhere in the United States and overseas, and that the newest boats in the harbor began life along the Gulf of Mexico and in New England.

 

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Over and back: the history of ferryboats in New York harbor

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Cudahy, a transportation historian, has written a splendid history of ferryboats, those double-ended, mechanically powered vessels that haul passengers and vehicles across rivers and bays and have ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
7
How It All Got Started 18121824
21
Years of Growth 18241860
42
Years of Growth 18241860 if
65
The Civil War 18611865
90
Patterns After Appomattox 18651900 110
126
The Road to Municipal Operation 19001910
147
A Statistical Interlude
184
Here Comes Red Mike 19101925
204
The Dream Fades 19251955
248
But Doesnt Die 1955 and Onward
293
Contemporary action
355
that links lower Man
366
land the 1982built
408
Copyright

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Page 36 - ... such and so many ferries around Manhattan's Island alias New York Island, for the carrying and transporting people, horses, cattle, goods, and chattels from the...
Page 1 - Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg'd waves! Gorgeous clouds of the sunset! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me ! Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers! Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta ! stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn ! Throb, baffled and curious brain!
Page 40 - Cross the East River ere the advent of steam : Sometimes the old driver the horses would straddle, And sometimes ride round on the circling beam. " The old wheel would creak, and the driver would whistle To force the blind horses to pull the wheel round ; And their backs were all scarr'd and stuck out in bristles, For the driver's fierce stick their old bones would pound. " The man at the gate, in fair weather or rainy, • • Stood out in the storm by the cold river-side, With pockets capacious,...
Page 26 - In a new combination of this kind it is not to be expected that everything should work to the best advantage in a first experiment or that every requisite should be foreseen. The boat which I am now constructing will have some important improvements, particularly in the power of the engine to overcome strong ebb tides, from which, again, other improvements will be made, as in ali new inventions.
Page 32 - I shall instantly insist on all rights to which I am entitled in law and justice. . . ." Stevens promptly replied, "Your letter of this date is couched in terms so very offensive that I shall not have deemed it incumbent upon me to have returned an answer. . . ."147 At the same time Roosevelt was pressing his claims through his father-in-law. Latrobe wrote his daughter, "Fulton I respect & love & believe him to be honest, tho
Page 24 - To give her more strength, she is held together by four-inch braces, each two inches square, which pass through her one foot above the water line, and key on strong plates on the inside of each boat. Reflecting on a steam ferry for Hudson River, the waves usually running up or down, I found a great breadth of beam absolutely necessary to prevent the boat rolling in the trough of the sea. This is attained by two boats and one space, giving 30 feet beam. Second. By placing the propelling water wheel...

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About the author (1990)


BRIAN J. CUDAHY's books include Around Manhattan Island: And Other Maritime Tales of New York and A Century of Subways: Celebrating 100 Years of New York's Underground Railways (both Fordham). He lives in Bluffton, SC.

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