When embarking aboard Yankee Ferry, one touches . . . and feels the beauty marks of Yankee’s 108 years afloat . . . the sights she saw—the delight she is.
Built in 1907 (and first named “Machigonne”) by ship builders Neafie & Levy, of Philadelphia, Yankee began her mission to serve. She served as a passenger ferry in Maine’s Calendar Islands and in Boston Harbor until the outbreak of World War I.
In 1917, Yankee was acquired by the US Navy as “USS Machigonne”,
and began her service, armed with cannon, and transporting men & supplies to Bumpkin Island Training Station.
After being decommissioned in 1921, she was purchased by John E. Moore, and sailed to New York Harbor, where she brought newly arriving immigrants from Ellis Island to the shores of Manhattan and to board trains heading West to build America and to change the world.
Beginning in 1929, now named “Hook Mountain”, she served as an expedition boat between Battery Park, Liberty Island, and Governors Island, whilst acting as a billboard for “Hook Mountain”, thus promoting expansion and discovery of one of America’s many Eastern Seaboard treasures, as of then, yet to be explored and developed.
It was during this time, Yankee (formerly Hook Mountain) was one of the first passenger ferries bringing visitors to adore and celebrate the Statue of Liberty when it was transferred to the the National Parks Department, by the US Navy.
A decade later, she was sold to a company based in Rhode Island, which was owned by a man named John Wronowski. She was Christened once again . . . now called “Block Island” . . . and was long employed ferrying islanders to & fro mainland and island.
When America was beckoned to serve the war effort in Europe, she was once more called into service for the second World War, operating under the name “League Island”. After the war, just like the rest of America, she returned to civilian life and focused on the modern age. Her steam propulsion was replaced with the finest diesel engine, and her stack built broad and sleek, like the ocean liners of the post-war world.
She was renamed “Yankee” and with pride, she transported folks from Providence to Block Island until the Coast Guard forced this rugged working lady into retirement in 1983.
For seven years, she lay in a marine salvage wasteland in Indian Point, Providence, RI, forgotten, neglected, vandalized and rotting into the sea.
Then, in 1990, she was resoled and ready to frolic anew! Purchased by Jim Gallagher, who had her towed to Pier 25 in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, her first phase of restoration began. Two years later, she was named to the most honored place upon the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2003, Yankee was purchased by her current owners, renowned artists, Victoria & Richard MacKenzie-Childs. Victoria & Richard enlivened and transformed Yankee to the inspired ship space she is today.
In 2006, she hailed adieu to New York City, due to the high-rising rigidity of gentrification, and the subsequent purging of the grit and history of the maritime history and culture of NYC’s archepelago. She was then towed across the Hudson River to her Weehawken, New Jersey, for safe winter harbor, and then Hoboken, New Jersey.
There she was docked at the 100 year old 12th Street Pier, until Hurricane Sandy tore through Northeastern America.
She was hence (with another storm under her bilge, and another stripe of victory) proudly ushered onto to Hoboken’s 14th Street city pier.
In July of 2013, Yankee celebrated her independence as she was towed back to the City that Never Sleeps and to her current location in South Red Hook, Brooklyn.