NYC launches new Staten Island ferry, named for peace activist Dorothy Day

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Another modern new Staten Island ferry entered service Friday — the third new boat to take passengers since February 2022, designed to better withstand rough weather and with such passenger amenities as hone charging stations, better seating and an upper-level walking track.

And like many other ferries, it’s name for a famous Staten Islander, Catholic journalist and activist Dorothy Day.

“It’s not just a name on a ferry,” city Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said from a podium at the St. George ferry terminal in Staten Island.

“If we want to keep her alive, it’s more than taking [this] ferry — it’s continuing to fight for justice,” Rodriguez said.

After a small ceremony held by Department of Transportation officials, clergy from the Archdiocese of New York, and friends and family of the ship’s namesake, the $85 million, 4,500 passenger Dorothy Day departed St. George on its inaugural run to Manhattan.

Day, a Brooklyn-born peace and social justice activist who founded the muckraking newspaper the Catholic Worker in 1933, fought for the city’s poor during the depths of the Great Depression.

She did much of her writing on Staten Island, where she is buried.

“God raises up prophets to disturb the comfortable and to comfort the disturbed,” Bishop John O’Hara said during Friday’s ceremony.

“You don’t have to go to the holy land to find prophets — all you have to do is go to Staten Island,” he said.

Passengers like the new boat’s amenities.

Dayquan Johnson, who was on the first leg of a long commute to a security job in the Bronx, was among those on the first passenger run.

“It’s new, it’s nice,” he said. “It’s real clean.”

“I had no idea I was on a maiden voyage — this is why you live in New York,” said Mary Bullock a painter and Staten Island resident.

The Dorothy Day is the last of the modern Ollis-class of ferries ordered by the city. The first ship was named for Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, a Staten Island native who died fighting in Afghanistan in 2013. The Ollis entered service in February 2022.

The second Ollis-class ferry, the Sandy Ground, is named for the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited settlement of free Black people, located on Staten Island’s south shore. It entered service last June.

“Don’t call me a saint,” Day was once quoted as saying. “When they call you a saint, it means basically that you are not to be taken seriously.”

But she’d have less compunction about being emblazoned on a boat, peace activist Brendan Fay opined Friday.

“She would love to be called a ferry — it’s the only piece of public transit [in New York] that’s free.”