Over and Back

Over and Back

The History of Ferryboats in NY Harbor

by Brian J. Cudahy

Hardback Publication Date: 01/01/1990

Ask the average American anywhere in the country to answer the word association question "Staten Island" and you get "Ferry" in immediate response. What is regularly billed as "America's favourite boatride" - not least because a round trip still costs an astonishing twenty-five cents - is the last public survivor of New York Harbour's once immense fleet of those doughty double-ended ferryboats. Dozens of ferryboats in a myriad of liveries crossed the harbour'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 nearly two centuries of ferryboating in New York Harbour, 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 400 ferryboats, Brian J. Cudahy aims to capture the whole tale.
The photographs capture a significant footnote in America's past and present; the illustrations preserve some of the stylish rigs in which the owners garbed their boats, despite coal soot, oil smudge and urban grime. A third of the book comprises a statistical compilation. The data show, among other things, that some of the former workhorses of New York Harbour are filling utilitarian social roles elsewhere in the United States and overseas, and that the newest boats in the harbour began life along the Gulf of Mexico and in New England.
Shipping industries
Publication Date:
Fordham University Press
Country of origin:
United States
Dimensions (mm):

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