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PR- 200-05
May 20, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today welcomed New York State Senator John J. Marchi and the new ferry that bears his name into service, following the vessel's maiden voyage from Whitehall terminal to St. George. The ceremony also marked the official reopening of the St. George Ferry Terminal, following extensive renovations. The Mayor and Senator were joined by Lieutenant Governor Mary O. Donohue, Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro, Congressman Vito Fossella and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall.

"Today is a great day for New York City," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We celebrate a beautiful terminal, the birthday of a great New Yorker and a new ferry that bears his name. Senator Marchi is one of our City's treasures, and the ferry named after him will serve the people of New York with the same heart, spirit and longevity as he has. There are few who can match the record of service that John Marchi has given to Staten Island and New York City. A decorated World War II veteran, he is the longest serving legislator in the Unite States and has been a tireless advocate for Staten Island for nearly six decades. I am proud to honor him and his service by welcoming into operation the John J. Marchi."

"This decision by Mayor Bloomberg to name a ferryboat for me is a tribute for which I am most grateful," said Senator Marchi. "While it constitutes recognition of my nearly half-century of service in the Senate, it is more than a personal laurel. It is an honor and a legacy and I am profoundly thankful for it. This modern, state-of-the art vessel also tells the people of Staten Island and everyone else who rides it that they are special and deserving of the best commuter transportation New York can provide."

The $40 million, 310 foot vessel, built by the Manitowoc Marine Group in Marinette Wisconsin, joins DOT's 7-boat fleet and will shuttle 4,400 passengers the 5.2 miles between the St. George Terminal in Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The John J. Marchi is the second of three new generation vessels that will replace the Kennedy class ferries, which have been in operation for more than 40 years. The third new ferry, Spirit of America, is expected to join the Guy V. Molinari, introduced in January, and the John. J. Marchi, in Fall of 2005.

The Marchi is equipped with the latest in marine technology including radar, collision avoidance, communications and GPS navigation systems. The pilothouses are fully equipped to monitor and control all vital on-board systems and have been designed to meet the unique operating requirements of New York Harbor. The vessel's twin propellers are powered by a 9,000 horsepower four-engine, diesel electric power plant. The Marchi has a unique steering control system that allows the rudders and the ten foot propellers on each end of the vessel to be operated independently, providing exceptional maneuverability, enhanced passenger comfort, on-time performance, fuel efficiency and emissions control. The boat is equipped with four high-speed rescue boats that are outfitted to allow for rapid deployment.

Mayor Reopens St. George Ferry Terminal After Extensive Renovation

The $130 million renovation of the 55-year-old St. George Terminal features floor-to-ceiling glass for panoramic views of the harbor and incoming ferries. The transparent waiting room is secured by ornamental rails. The new terminal's steel and glass design provides natural lighting and views of the Manhattan skyline. The ADA compliant facility features a heated and air conditioned waiting room, accessible by escalator and elevator, and 20,000 square feet of newly constructed retail space, which will potentially include a waterfront restaurant. A pedestrian walkway connects Richmond Terrace and the terminal entry, while another walkway provides a scenic link to the nearby minor league ballpark.

The terminal also contains upgraded restrooms, public address system and new signage. A Photovoltaic louver system will save 25% of the energy needed to operate the facility. Other "green" features of the facility include an 18,000-square-foot living roof which will support living vegetation of local flora is visible from the public viewing area of a waterfront plaza atop the terminal building. Instead of a storm water drainage system, run-off will be collected in a cistern and used to irrigate the soil of this roof-top garden. Passengers will eventually enjoy two salt-water aquariums in the waiting room funded by Borough President Molinaro and maintained by the Staten Island Zoo. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) administered the project on behalf of the Department of Transportation. The New York Office of Hellmuth Obata + Kassabaum was the architect for the project, and construction management services were provided by Skanska USA.

"This beautiful new gateway to Staten Island is part of a $1 billion series of enhancements for ferry riders," said Congressman Fossella. "The new St. George terminal will complement the new Whitehall Terminal, three new Staten Island Ferry boats and the reconstruction of the South Ferry station. When completed, these projects will make the daily commute more convenient, relaxing and easier for tens of thousands of Staten Island residents. I am proud to have secured nearly $9 million in federal funding for this important project."

"Of all the great things happening on Staten Island this year, perhaps none will be as recognized throughout the City as the new Ferry Terminal in St. George," said Borough President Molinaro. "This is the face we show to the world, the first glimpse many people get of Staten Island. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for ensuring that this Terminal will be a jewel on our waterfront and I know I speak for all Staten Islanders when I say this ferry is a fitting tribute to Senator Marchi, a native son who has been a great leader for our Borough for nearly half a century, and the longest serving legislator in the nation."

"The addition of Marchi is one of many steps we are taking to modernize the Staten Island Ferry service," said Commissioner Weinshall. "As the Staten Island Ferry moves into its second century of operation, we are excited to be able to provide Staten Island commuters and visitors with new boats, equipped with the latest marine technology and two beautiful new terminals."

"Today the St. George Ferry Terminal joins the Whitehall Ferry Terminal as spectacular gateways to Staten Island and Lower Manhattan," said EDC President Andrew M. Alper.

"These two projects are the result of and testimony to successful teamwork by numerous City, State and Federal agencies and more than 20 prime contractors and subcontractors. I am proud of the contribution of my staff at EDC and I want to acknowledge the ongoing support of Borough President Jimmy Molinaro."

The City's Percent for Art Program commissioned Werner Klotz and John Roloff to create an artwork for the new ferryboat. The multi-media permanent installation, entitled The Middle of the World, features a portal in the bridge deck through which passengers can view a video of the ocean floor as the ferry travels between Staten Island and Manhattan. Surrounding the portal, passengers can hear 101 recorded tales of the sea, one for each trip the ferry makes weekly. The artwork received the New York City Art Commission's 2002 award for design.

Senator John J. Marchi was born on May 20, 1921 and has served in the New York State Senate since 1957. He is a World War II veteran, who served in combat with the Coast Guard and Navy in the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters. Senator Marchi's distinguished senate career spans nearly half a century, making him the longest serving legislator in the United States.

The Staten Island Ferry system transports 65,000 passengers a day on the five-mile ride between St. George Terminal on Staten Island and Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan. The boats operate 24-hours a day, 365-days a year and have been a vital municipal service since 1905.


Jordan Barowitz / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Kay Sarlin   (Department of Transportation )
(212) 442-7033

Janel Patterson   (Economic Development Corporation )
(212) 312-3523

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