About a year ago I posted an announcement describing an August 2013 tour of the Yankee, a ship built in 1907 that had a rich and colorful history before becoming an immigrant ferry boat at Ellis Island. The Yankee is in fact the last existing Ellis Island ferry boat, which is saying something if you stop and think about it. The ferry is owned by Victoria and Richard Mackenzie-Childs and, until recently, was docked in Hoboken, New Jersey. Well, the couple have moved across the harbor to Red Hook, Brooklyn and have begun a new chapter in the Yankee’s 106 year history by preparing to open it up as a sort of floating meeting place and cultural center. Red Hook is a better neighborhood to make a go of it; it is a former working class neighborhood in our fair borough that has been steadily and inexorably transforming into a hipster conclave in recent years.
This project is destined to be either a disaster or a stroke of genius. I would love to see the venture succeed provided the owners respect the rich tradition of the boat and its unique role in our history. Frivolity is an important part of life, but I get peeved when I visit an important place and find people engaging in some type of organized silliness. I must say they seem to be putting the love in. I may have to take a field trip this fall and investigate for myself.