The 599-passenger vessel responsible for rescuing 558 passengers this past winter enters service in partnership with Big City Tourism, providing scenic tours of New York Harbor as part of the region’s tourism comeback

NEW YORK, NY— The greenest and most modern ferry ever put into service by NY Waterway was christened yesterday at a ceremony at Pier 79 in Midtown. The 599-passenger Franklin Delano Roosevelt will enter service today as both a commuter ferry and for scenic tours of the harbor with Big City Tourism, a dynamic minority-owned business that is helping to bolster our region’s post-pandemic tourism comeback.

The FDR has already lived up to its historic name. While in use for a harbor tour in December 2022, the vessel responded to the scene of a Staten Island Ferry stranded by an engine fire, rescuing 558 passengers. Today, the FDR got a proper send-off at a special ceremony where crew members were also recognized and honored for their participation in the rescue.

"This is a remarkable boat with a remarkable crew. We are so proud of the NY Waterway team that helped shepherd hundreds of passengers to safety during a time of trouble. As a leader on sustainable operations, we are just as proud that the Franklin D. Roosevelt is the most advanced ferry in the NY Waterway fleet and represents our vision of the future of the harbor, enhancing the environment and boosting tourism as the region continues to bounce back from the pandemic,” said NY Waterway CEO Armand Pohan. “We are delighted to have a high-energy partner like Big City Tourism that's committed to bringing the sights and sounds of the harbor to visitors from all over the world.”

“We are honored to have this relationship with NY Waterway,” said Big City Tourism President & Founder Kareem Holmes. “We came to them as a small, black-owned business with a mission to showcase New York City in the best possible light, while providing people with experiences and memories to last a lifetime. They immediately understood and embraced what we set out to do, and we look forward to a long association with NY Waterway and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”  

“We are proud to celebrate the launch of the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt ferry by two of our valued members—NY Waterway and Big City Tourism,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of New York City Tourism + Conventions. “It’s wonderful to see two of our member organizations partner on a special tour of iconic attractions along the New York Harbor, adding new tourism product as visitation to our city continues to grow toward pre-pandemic levels.”

Built locally by New Jersey-based Yank Marine in Tuckahoe, the FDR is the most advanced ferry in the NY Waterway fleet. The ship is powered by low-emission 2,000-horsepower twin EPA Tier 3 compliant engines and has a service speed of 21 knots. The FDR is 109 feet long and 32 feet wide and draws just six feet of water depth, reducing the need for dredging near piers. 

About NY Waterway:

NY Waterway, founded in 1986, operates the nation’s largest privately-owned commuter ferry service. Prior to the pandemic shutdown, NY Waterway carried more than 32,000 passengers each weekday on 23 routes across the Hudson River, bringing New Jersey commuters from New Jersey to Manhattan.  In cooperation with MTA Metro North Railroad, ferries bring commuters from the west side of the Hudson River in Newburgh and Haverstraw to the Hudson Line stations in Beacon and Ossining.  NY Waterway also works with the Trust for Governors Island to provide ferry service to this important recreational space in New York Harbor.               

On dozens of occasions, NY Waterway ferries have provided emergency service when public transit systems are disrupted.  On 9/11, NY Waterway ferries evacuated more than 150,000 people from Manhattan, part of the largest maritime evacuation in history.  In August 2003, when a massive blackout shut down all Hudson River crossings, NY Waterway carried 160,000 people home to New Jersey.

Ferry crews also have rescued more than 300 people from New York waters, most notably the 143 people rescued from US Airways Flight 1549, the Miracle on the Hudson in 2009, the most successful marine rescue in aviation history.

Get updates at 1-800-53-FERRY (7am - 11am Monday - Friday), nywaterway.com,  facebook.com/nywaterway​ or twitter.com/ridetheferry. 

About Big City Tourism’s Harbor Tours:

The Freedom Liberty sightseeing cruises operated by Big City Tourism aboard the Franklin D. Roosevelt are helping boost the NYC region tourism comeback, giving visitors unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline, landmarks, and NY Harbor from the ferry’s open-air decks and comfortable climate-controlled cabin. 

The 75-minute tours depart from Pier 78 in West Midtown. The sightseeing highlights include views of the Empire State Building, Hudson Yards, High Line, Chelsea Piers, World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Governors Island, South Street Seaport, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and DUMBO. After a short Winter hiatus, the tours restart Friday, March 31st and will run 7-days a week.

Tickets are available at multiple retail locations across NYC or can be purchased online at  www.bigcitytourism.com.

Led by President & Founder Kareem Holmes, Big City Tourism’s mission is to “immerse visitors into the real NYC by providing unique, exclusive and genuine experiences.” Big City’s team includes native New Yorkers from all walks of life with a passion for sharing their city.

About New York City Tourism + Conventions: 

New York City Tourism + Conventions is the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide. For all there is to do and see in New York City, visit nyctourism.com 

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