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Look at the Staten Island ferries at St George.  “They all look the same,” I once asserted to bowsprite.  She set me straight.   Right now the second Ollis-class, soon to be newest hull in the boro, is making its way up the Jersey coastline at the end of a towline, its bow and windows boarded up for protection from waves.

So on this New Year’s Eve eve, let’s do an out-with-the-old . . . .  John F. Kennedy, currently the oldest–in service since 1965!!–will be the first out.  In fact, a fly on someone’s wall says

she’s already out of service. By the way, who were you in 1965, or what were you listening to?  Or, what were you driving or drooling over?  Watching?

Barberi [1981] will be next out, along

with Newhouse


And in the with new . . .  seen here next to the 1986 Alice Austen.

SSG Michael H. Ollis has been the training vessel for all three ferries of the newest class. She arrived in August here.  Whether at the dock being prepped or

running the harbor and practicing arrivals and departures, Ollis and her crew have been busy.

All photos, recently, WVD, who can’t wait to ride the new ferries and who hopes to get photos of the newest, newest hull in the boro tomorrow.

See my story on Ollis on page 18 here.

They may be fading, clock ticking until they retire, but they’re still working.  This 277′ x 69′ ferry with limits of 3500 passengers and 40 cars came off the ways in

1965.  New ferries are currently during sea trials down south.  The new ferries will be rated at 4570 passengers and no cars on their 320′ x 70′ hull.

Currently TS Kennedy, training ship at Massachusetts Maritime Academy is in a sixth boro anchorage.  She was launched in 1967 as SS Velma Lykes.  After that she was SS Cape Bon and TS Enterprise.  Her dimensions are 540′ x 76′.

As is true for the ferry Kennedy, TS Kennedy will soon be replaced.  In fact, work has already begun in Philadelphia  for the first of five new training ships.   The new boat, referred to as National Security Multi-Mission vessels, will be 524′ x 89′.

Of course, there’s another Kennedy here . . . . the bridge, which is certainly not fading.

All photos, WVD, who just noticed that TS Kennedy has headed into the East River and as of posting is near Hell Gate.

And then there was Robert Cobb Kennedy and his time in the sixth boro. 

Talos.  Know the reference?  I didn’t but will share the response at the end of this post.  It’s entirely appropriate for the very automated  and largest in physical size class of container ships to call in the sixth boro, 1211′ loa.  In fact, another ship of the class is recognized as being (in 2019) as the largest vessel to pass through the new Panama Canal locks.  That ULCV, Triton, has been in the sixth boro several times, once just recently, and I’ve managed to miss it each time. The diminutive tug off the port quarter is Vane’s 95′ Susquehanna with a barge on the wire.

Entering the boro means passing the lighthouse on Norton’s Point, aka Seagate.

Another clue to the length of Talos comes by comparing it to the VZ Bridge tower, which rise up nearly 700′.



I’ve seen photos of Triton, and it has the same blotchy paint.  Anyone know why?

She headed west on the ConHook Range with four McAllister tugs, although none of a tether.

I chose not to follow her through the KVK, so maybe Capt. Brian A. got on the tether here.

Note the size of ferry JFK alongside Talos. JFK has a loa of 277′.

Talos here heads for Port Elizabeth;  over beynd her is Al Qibla, another ULCV.

All photos, WVD, who offers this link on the five Triton-class boats.

Engine here is the AN Diesel & Turbo B&W 11S90ME-C9&10.

Talos, a robot, . .  . has quite the legacy, which you can learn here.  He was finally defeated by the guiles of MedeaHere‘s the contemporary, non-marine Talos.

Also arriving in port before dawn this morning is the CMA CGM 15000 ULCV I’ve not yet seen, CMA CGM Panama.


Spirit of America . . . operates as an icon among icons.


I need to force myself to look hard to see the obvious differences between Spirit and S. I. Newhouse, and others.


Recently, though, Spirit has intruded into my photos more than any other one of the ferries.


Molinari . . .


John F. Kennedy and Spirit . . .


Either Newhouse or Barberi . . .


Positively identified as Newhouse.


And this is the old terminal, actually called Battery Maritime Building and unofficially the Governors Island ferry terminal today.  And how’s the progress on its roof?  What’s going on there?  Read all about it here and here. Glass boxes seem currently in vogue in NYC.


Click on the image below to see Battery Maritime Building and more of the sixth boro almost a century ago.


For info on all the classes of Staten Island ferries, present and past, click here.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, except the nighttime photo by Seth Tane.

And finally . . .  here’s a bowsprite image used in a article without credit!  And by bowsprite’s report, she’s received no response from marine when she’s contacted them about . . . crediting her art.  Hmmmm…  See her original published image from four years earlier here.



Care for a shot of Melville?  ““Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries–stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.”

Paraphrase that a bit, take liberties,  and you might come up with:  “When you gallivant, chances are you’ll end up in the water.”  If Melville were around the sixth boro these days, he might add something about the likelihood of seeing folks with digital cameras and–if among those gallivants there’s a bowsprite–inks/charcoal pencils too.

The whale lives


here, 100 miles plus east of the sixth boro’s easternmost reaches and if you go


up these stairs marked by a rendering of the orange ferry John F. Kennedy, you’ll


see this . . . 38 pieces of bowsprit’s art on display.


The exhibit called “Working Girls of New York Harbor” is up now til the end of May.


And if you feel a thirst that water fails to quench, the exhibit is located one floor above stainless steel vats filled with thousands of gallons of fermenting, living brews.


Here’s the front of the exhibit postcard, with evidence that bowsprite has turned her gaze and inked what she saw in increasingly distant waters.


Oh . .  and the opening’s tonight in Greenport.  Gotta run.   More Greenport soon.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

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February 2023