First New Ferry Arrives in New York, After Detour in Alligator Country

The first boat in New York City’s new fleet of commuter ferries arrived in the city on Sunday morning, completing a voyage from Alabama that was slowed by a side trip through some Florida mud.

The boat, known for now as Hull 200, left Atlantic City early in the morning and passed under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge just before noon. After curling around the Statue of Liberty, it docked at a marina in Jersey City, ending a 13-day trip that began at a shipyard in Bayou la Batre, Ala.

Its arrival was the latest step toward Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of starting new public ferry routes this summer. The mayor has promised a service stretching from the Rockaways to the Bronx that will cost riders the same amount as a subway fare.

But first, Hornblower, the company that the city chose to operate the service, must complete the fleet and assemble it in New York Harbor.

Cameron Clark, a senior vice president of Hornblower, said three more boats would be ready to leave the Gulf Coast next week. Some of the men who served as the live-aboard crew on the first boat will fly back to Alabama and help bring other boats north, Mr. Clark said.

Those boats are unlikely to try the cross-Florida shortcut that bogged down Hull 200.

In hopes of shortening the trip to New York and avoiding rougher seas near the Florida Keys, Hornblower sent Hull 200 on the Okeechobee Waterway, which cuts across the peninsula.

But the boat became stuck briefly in muddy, alligator-filled shallows partway across Florida, causing its captain to decide to reverse course to the Gulf of Mexico. A week later, after going the long way around Florida and up the Eastern Seaboard, Hull 200 finally crossed the path of the Staten Island Ferry.

sourc: nytimes.com

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