Two of the most popular natives of Staten Island (the southernmost of New York City's 5 boroughs), Pete Davidson and Colin Jost, cast members of “Saturday Night Live” joined a consortium of New Yorkers who placed the winning bid in an auction for a 57-year-old Staten Island feryboat that ended on Wednesday, January 19, according to Paul Italia (comedy club owner) who did the bidding for the group.
Paul Italia said that they were considering turning the vessel into “an arts and entertainment venue” but added it was too soon to know what was feasible.
“The reality is that everyone who came together on this has a sincere motive to see the right thing happen, to restore a piece of New York.”
According to Mr. Italia, the buyers were a group of like-minded New York natives who wanted to save the ship from being scrapped. Davidson and Jost got involved because the boat (known as the John F. Kennedy ferry) “had a special place in their hearts as Staten Island natives.”
Another investor is Ron Castellano, who describes himself as an architect, developer and contractor. He said the ship had significant historic value as the last of an old style of ferries.
The Kennedy ferry (1965-commissioned) was by far the oldest ship in the city’s fleet when she was retired in August 2021, Vincent Barone, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.
Despite her age, the ship was popular with riders because she had broad promenades on her decks that provided space for riding in the open air and made it easy for guests to board and disembark.
The buyers have ~2 weeks to move the ship, which is 277 feet (84 m) long, 69 feet (21 m) wide, and weighs 2100+ tons.