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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FRENCH BICYCLE GODDESS, c. 1898

The Love Boat: 1908

The Love Boat: 1908

New York circa 1908. "Municipal ferry Richmond." Where men are port and women are starboard, in theory at least. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

 

Sex Minus Smoking

Notice there is NOT a "no smoking" sign on the mens side of the boat. In the more civilized days of travel women were often allowed refuge from the crude habits and language of many of the opposite sex.

Unchanged in 1960s

The Hoboken ferries looked exactly the same in the 1960s, except Men and Women had become Smoking and No Smoking. The gates and hardware were the same. I imagine they had gone to diesel though.

First of the fleet

The Richmond entered service in 1905, one of a new fleet of five boats the city ordered after it had taken control of the ferry from the railroad that had previously operated the service. Each of the boats was named after a city borough, with "Richmond" being the county name for Staten Island. With a length of 245 feet and a width of 48 feet, it was somewhat smaller than the six primary boats in the current fleet, though larger than the two boats used for overnight service. By extrapolating from the capacities of the current boats, the Richmond probably carried between 2,000 and 2,300 passengers.

Several more boats joined the fleet as passenger traffic increased during the 1920's and 1930's. After almost 40 years of service the Richmond was withdrawn from service in 1944. It was converted into a barge, presumably to help with the war effort, and went to the scrappers in 1947.

Smoking habits might be the reason for the separate Men's and Women's entrances. At the time it wouldn't have been socially appropriate for men and women to smoke in front of the other gender, so public spaces such as train stations often had separate waiting/smoking rooms for men and women. That could have been the case on the ferry too. In fact, on the upper deck, which doesn't appear to be gender-separated, there are a couple of signs which appear to read "No Smoking."

 
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