Ferry awaits final voyage
A Merrell Class vessel Verrazzano that connected the borough of Staten Island to Manhattan sits in a scrap metal yard on the western shore of Staten Island. Retired several years ago, this boat has been stripped down to its metal frame. Cold and eerie, the boat’s decks are badly deteriorated from neglect and by the elements.
The Staten Island Ferry operated sidewheel and propeller-driven steamboats from the beginning of steam navigation until 1982 when the diesel ferryboats Andrew J. Baraberi and Samuel I Newhouse replaced the last trio of steamboats.
The three steamboats, completed in 1950 and 1951 at Bethlehem Steel Company’s Staten Island yard, were named Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell, Cornelius G. Kolff and Verrazzano, the last-named an unusual spelling, with a double ‘z’ for the Florentine navigator explorer Giovanni de Verrazano.
The trio shared a length of 269 feet, gross tonnage of 2,285, capacity for 2954 passengers and a vehicle deck for cars, vans and small trucks.
Boarding these vessels is extremely dangerous and unlawful. It is recommended that you permission first due the high risk of injury and possible arrest.