Letters tothe Editor

Ferry Riders of San Francisco and New York: Unite!

Published: March, 2002

Dear Editor:
As a Tourism Representative for the State of New Jersey I just wanted to fill you in on some important facts which are the following.

Both football teams, The Giants and The Jets, play all of their home games in Giants Stadium which is located in East Rutherford New Jersey. Though these teams have been playing here since the 1970s the original state of incorporation and home offices are in New York.

Most of the aquamutting that you are writing about are ferries out of various New Jersey cities such as Weehawken, Jersey City, The Atlantic Highlands and the birthplace of Frank Sinatra Hoboken. On that horrific day, September 11th, companies such as New York Waterways, Horizon Cruises, The Spirit of New Jersey, The Water Taxi, and the Lady Cruises evacuated thousands of people out of lower Manhattan to Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Atlantic Highlands and Bayonne. The residents, local hotels and hospitals gave evacuees emergency medical care, as well as emotional and housing assistance.

September 11, 2001, is a day people in the New York/ New Jersey Metropolitan area will not forget for we are still grieving over the loss of loved ones and friends and when those of us who live or work on the waterfront look across to lower Manhattan we are constantly reminded of the void in the skyline, and what we will never see again.


Suzanne Clare

Executive  Director

Gateway Tourism Council, New Jersey

Peralta Blues

Dear Editor:
Just to say I read the article on the new Peralta with interest. Growing up in San Francisco, I remember using the old ferry system until it was phased out. I’ve been away for many years, but its good to see ferry use making a comeback there - enough to have a magazine about it.

Living in New York City, and being to some extent part of the ferry revival program here, I also am an advocate for better design, citing a lack of intelligent and socially-oriented design features for local waterborne public transport which Graham Claytor points out so well. If we could look to the designers of Starbuck’s interiors for ideas, for instance, we might find ways to make traveling more attractive. Also, I can’t agree more that larger vessels would serve as well or better than the smaller ones now used by NY Waterways.

But if only these could be like the grand old ferries I remember - with high ceilings, long wooden benches, those marvelous walking beam engines, and that steam whistle. And they were painted white from stem to stern, and there were what seemed then like acres of deck space.

Keith Rodan

New York City


Dear Editor:
There ought to be a law against having such a good paper and web site! Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward to this year’s Oakland’s Port Fest. If I miss this one too, I’m killing myself. Also, tell that shipyard up there in Seattle to hurry up and get that High Speed Ferry completed. We need it for Vallejo Bay Link and us Sacramento commuters, baseball, football, and sightseeing/tourists, all from the Sacramento Metropolitan Area. We want a better way to get to the Bay Area and Amtrak just ain’t cutting it. Thanks. God bless you!

Charles Hooper

Folsom, Calif. 95630-4626


Dear Editor:

I must say that the February Issue explored more humorous sides of ferry events than Gunzell has ever witnessed. Keep up the ferry reviews, we like it.

Gunzell Out

Dear Editor:

Thanks for another great edition. As a born and bred New Yorker it is especially welcome.

Anne Richter


Dear Editor:

I really enjoyed your current Bay Crossings. My mother in New York was thrilled to see it and it has proved quite useful when talking to people about our plans for water transit. Thank you so much.


Diane Howard

Member, Redwood City Council

Dear Editor:

What a surprise to see the article by John Bollinger in Bay Crossings. He seems like a guy with a good since of humor, and obviously a good writer. I look forward to reading more articles from the New York.


Rolando Arroyo, M.D.

In Love with Bay Ferries

Dear Editor:
My husband and I have been drawn to ferryboats since we were children. We were born in the Bay Area (San Francisco and Oakland). My father-in-law was a crew member of the S&P Ferries in the mid-30’s and my father commuted by ferry for many years.

We were married December 23, 1951 and just celebrated our 50th anniversary. The first years of our marriage ferryboats were plentiful.

We remember crossing from San Francisco to Larkspur on a gorgeous sunset evening in the late 1950’s, after we had spent a year away from home. That was absolute heaven, being back on our beautiful San Francisco Bay. We are happy that the ferries are back.

Mrs. E. A. Robertson

(Carol Robertson)


Finding Your Inner Harbor

Dear Editor:
Picture yourself sitting at a picnic table in a park along Alameda’s Inner Harbor and watching people play basketball, tennis, baseball, soccer and volleyball while boats go by in the distance. There’s nothing wrong with this picture, except that the City is in no hurry to make it happen.

It is time this vision started becoming reality. This site was designated as a region-serving park in the Reuse Plan for the closed Naval Air Station, but it has been languishing in a state of neglect ever since. All of the outdoor sports areas are in place but showing the effects of being out of sight and out of mind. With little more than some backboards, nets and bases, regular sporting use of this park on San Francisco Bay could begin.

In addition, a large, well-maintained recreation building is boarded up, plenty of parking and a beautifully landscaped campground. This campground, next to the breakwater at the Encinal Boat Ramp, is ideally suited to become the first kayak campground on San Francisco Bay. The recreation building goes unused even though the old Navy gym on the other end of Alameda Point gets regular use.

Over at the other end of Alameda Point between the estuary and the Wildlife Refuge, plans are underway for the city developing and operating a world championship golf course and convention facility. But there’s a conflict here. The City has multiple goals to achieve. Bringing in revenue is one, providing public park space another, and implementing the Reuse Plan written with citizen input is another. In the Reuse Plan golfing was one option for this area. At the tip of this area, an 11-acre, region-serving park was presented as more than an option. It was part of the map. The Bay Trail following the shoreline was also part of the map.

The conflict in goals became public recently when drawings were presented to one of the reviewing agencies, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission. The 11-acre Alameda Point Park has been reduced to 3 miniparks totaling 5.5 acres. The Bay Trail has been routed between fairways.

The 11-acre, region-serving park should be put back on the shoreline, somewhere. A walk along the Bay Trail should not feel like a visit to a country club.

For an online field trip, go to the City of Alameda Green Party’s website at www.cagreens.org/alameda and click the Local Issues page.

Richard Bangert

Alamedans for Parks and Trails spokesperson