Over and Back: The History of Ferryboats in NY Harbor

Over and Back: The History of Ferryboats in NY Harbor

by Brian Cudahy
     
 

Ask the average American anywhere in the country to answer the association question Staten Islandand you get Ferryin 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

Overview

Ask the average American anywhere in the country to answer the association question Staten Islandand you get Ferryin 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 highlt significant footnote in America's past and present; the colored illustrations prserve 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The first steam-propelled ferry crossed the Hudson River in 1812; by 1900, five major railroads operated ferryboat services to Manhattan. Before the Civil War, ferries were the only system of mechanized transport for local short-haul trips in, around and across New York Harbor; they were operated by private companies, railroads and, after 1905, the city. Cudahy's ( Under the Sidewalks of New York ) well-documented, exhaustive history covers nearly two centuries, tracing technological improvements in engine and vessel design and changes in service caused by bridges and tunnels. Enthusiasm for his subject leads to a great deal of minutiae, such as identifying the ferryboats Lincoln used on his inaugural journey to Washington. The Staten Island ferries (capacity, 6000) are described with a look at special-purpose ferries (from the city morgue to Potters Field on Hart Island). For transportation historians and ferryboat buffs, here is a treasure trove. Illustrated. (Mar.)
Library Journal
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 worked New York City waters since the early 19th century. More importantly, this book is one of those gems that successfully appeals to both the general reader with only a passing interest in this subject and the specialist wanting detailed data and a solid bibliography to support serious study. While the future of ferryboats in general is uncertain, this history will long serve to evoke the blast of the horn and the ring of the bell for all of those fortunate enough to have experienced this mode of transortation. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-- Harold N. Boyer, Marple P.L., Broomall, Pa.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780823212453
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
Publication date:
01/01/1990
Edition description:
1
Pages:
472
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile:
1480L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

BRIAN J. CUDAHY's books include Around Manhattan Island: And Other Maritime Tales ofNew 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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