Very Merry Skerry Ferry
Governors Island Passengers Are Going in Style with Launch of New Vessel
Visitors to Governors Island embarking from Lower Manhattan now have a new way to get to the beloved greensward that has become Downtown’s equivalent of Central Park.
The Trust for Governors Island has launched Governors 1, a 132-foot-long, 40-foot-wide ferry that has been custom-built to ply the waters between the Battery and the 172-acre island that has come to be regarded as one of the jewels among local public spaces.
The new vessel was over the last two years at a cost of $9.2 million in the Warren, Rhode Island shipyard of Blount Boats, from a design by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group. The family-owned Blount firm has been a prolific contributor to the armada of ferry vessels that ply New York harbor, including Statue Cruises’ Miss Liberty, launched in 1954; the Michael Cosgrove (the smallest of the Staten Island Ferry fleet, at just 65 feet long), which dates from 1962, and the 1989 ferry Sensation, which now operates as a Hornblower party boat, based at Pier 40. The overall budget for the new Governors Island ferry project, including design and construction, was $11.5 million.
Michael Samuelian, the departing president and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island, said, “we have ambitious goals to make Governors Island a year-round hub for learning, innovation, arts and culture with a extraordinary car-free park that’s open, accessible and activated all four seasons. The state-of-the-art vessel will not just improve service to our growing visitor population, but it will greatly enhance access for our current and future tenants.”
The new ferry is not only larger, but also faster than its predecessors, which means that the capacity to shepherd visitors from the Battery Maritime Building to Soissons Landing, on Governors Island, will increase to 1,000 guests per hour. This will represent a significant improvement over the current limitations, which have sometimes led to hour-long waits on the Manhattan side.
Part of that extra capacity will likely be used to facilitate this year’s extended season and longer hours on Governors Island. For 2019, the park will be open a full six months (through October 31), and late-night weekend hours (now through Labor Day) will allow visitors to linger and watch the sunset until 10:00 pm.
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