New York City New Deal...
Staten Island Ferries built with New Deal funding
Frank da Cruz
Mon Feb 24 20:31:28 2020
|Gold Star Mother
|Miss New York
In 1935-38, three new Staten Island ferryboats were built at United Dry
Docks, Inc., on Staten Island with a $3 million grant-loan from the federal
Public Works Administration: the Gold Star Mother, the Mary
Murray, and the Miss New York, creating 1500 jobs for about a year.
- Short, C.W., and R. Stanley
Brown, Public Buildings, A Survey
of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental
Bodies between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public
Works Administration, United States Government Printing Office, Washington
(1939), p.600: Municipal Ferry boats for the New York City Department of
Docks: "These ferryboats ply between St. George, Staten Island, and South
Ferry, Manhattan. They are the double-end type, 267 feet in over-all length
and 66-foot beam, and have a main deck, an upper deck, and a hurrican deck,
and will accommodate 3,000 passengers and 34 vehicles each. The main deck
has space for vehicles and smoking cabins for men and women. The upper deck
consists of 1 large cabin surrounded by an open promenade deck, and the
hurrican deck accommodates life rafts, 2 operating bridges, and quarters for
the officers. Oil is used for fuel and the speed is 18 miles per hour. The
3 boats were completed in in April 1938 at a total construction cost of
$2,778,648 and a project cost of $2,912,222."
Pappas, Phillip, The
story behind the Gold Star Mother ferryboat, Staten Island
Advance, 20 May 2015.
New Streamlined Ferryboats To Go on the Staten Island Run, New York
Times, 11 Oct 1935, p.27: "3 New Streamilined Ferryboats To Go on the
Staten Island Run: "The city will build three new stream-lined ferryboats
for service on the Battery-Staten Island run, F.J.H. Kracke, Commissioner
of Plant and Structures, announced yesterday. Construction of the boats
was made possible by an allotment of $3,000,000 in PWA under a
loan-and-grant arrangement. The agreement was approved yesterday bye the
Board of Estimate."
Contract Awarded, New York Times, 15 Dec 1935 p.151:
"A contract has been awarded to the United Dry Docks, Inc., for the
construction of three steel, semi-streamlined ferryboats to cast a total of
$2,775,000 and to be used in the Manhattan-Staten Island ferry service, the
Department of Plant and Structures announced yesterday. The city will pay
for the construction through a PWA loan which was granted several months
Make Jobs, New York Times, 12 Jan 1936, p.128:
"Construction of three semi-streamlined boats for the Battery-Staten Island
line of the city's ferry system, which is to start at once, will provide
emplyment for at least 1,500 ship workers, F.J.H. Krackle, Commissioner of
Plant and Structures, informed Mayor La Guardia yesterday. Contracts for
the three boats were formally signed on Friday between the city and the
United Ship Building and Drydock Corporation. The vessels, which will cost
$2,736,000, will be built at the corporation's plant at Mariners Harbor,
S.I. They are to be paid for out of a PWA loan obtained for the purpose."
Ferries Really 'She's'—Three Get Feminine Names,
Brooklyn Times Union, 28 March 1937, p.28: "PWA provided 45 percent
of the funds for the boats, which will cost $912,000 each ... they will have
a capacity of 3,000 passengers and 34 vehicles. They will displace three
boats built in 1905."
Dedicates a New Ferryboat,
New York Times, 8 May 1937, p.21: "Mayor La Guardia dedicated the new
city ferryboat 'Gold Star Mother,' which will run between Manhattan
and Richmond at Mariners Harbor, S.I., yesterday ... Arthur S. Tuttle, State
PWA engineer, said the Federal Government has contributed $1,397,250 for the
construction of the three new ferries of thiech the Gold Star Mother is the
first. Mayor La Guardia said that the United States Attorney General had
construed a ferryboat as a building in order to make the PWA loan possible."
at Launching of $912,000 Ferry Boat, New York Daily News,
4 June 1937 (Brooklyn, section 23): Charlotte Murray of Flushing smacked a
champagne bottle on the nose of a $912,000 streamlined ferry boat yesterday
and immortalized in city records a Revolutionary heroine. The new
municipal ship, second of three, is the Mary Murray... [who]
beguiled British brass hats with wine and cakes—and covered the
retreat of Gen. George Washington from the Battle of Long Island. Mary
Murray was Charlotte Murray's great-great grandmother."
New York Times, 21 December 1937, p.20: "Miss New York, the new
municipal ferryboat built by the United Shipbuilding Corporation at an
approximate cost of $1,000,000, was launched yesterday at Mariners Harbor,
S.I ... The Miss New York is a sister ship to the Gold Star Mother and the
Mary Murray, also being built by the United for the city."
Ferryboat in Service, New York Times, 28 Feb 1938, p.3:
"The city's new $1,000,000 ferryboat, the Mary Murray, named after the
revolutionary war heroine, was put into service at South Ferry yesterday
afternoon at 4 o'clock." Apparently it was christened in June, but not
put into service until the following February.
PWA Job Starts Here Today, New York Times, 13 July 1938, p.9
(last paragraph) "The PWA also has aided the Staten Island communication
system by financing the construction of three new ferry boats in service
between South Ferry and St. George. It provided $3,125,000 man hours of
- PWA Projects in New York City
1934-1939, Docket #1085, Ferry Boat, $1,296,675, 1938/04/07 (no further
information available, the PWA non-federal project descriptions are lost;
only the dockets