‘Dorothy Day’ Joins Staten Island Fleet, Commissioned By Mayor and DOT
4,500 passenger Ollis-class vessel is named after 20th century Catholic peace activist born in Brooklyn Heights
The Dorothy Day was officially commissioned into the Staten Island ferry fleet Friday, ready to ricochet around the waters of port authority with unprecedented ease. The $85 million Ollis-class vessel is named after the legendary peace activist, and after passing her Coast Guard inspections, she is fit for passenger service.
“Ferries are a crucial component of the city’s transit system,” said New York City Council
Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, chair of the Committee on Transportation and
“I applaud the administration’s efforts to build a safer, more modern ferry fleet, and I am excited that the newest member of the fleet will bear the name of Dorothy Day, a New York City hero. I look forward to continued investment in and expansion of our ferry network.”
Dorothy Day, born in Brooklyn Heights in 1897, was a Catholic convert who spearheaded the Catholic Worker movement during the Great Depression. She was a lifelong pacificist – even during WWII – and ran soup kitchens, including one in the Lower East Side that is still active today. Day was commended by Pope Francis during a 2015 visit and was submitted as a candidate for canonization to the Vatican by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Day was the editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper and remained pious while also retaining her unique radical anarchism and pacifist activism. To reach her cottage on the south shore, Day regularly took the Staten Island ferry. She was laid to rest in Pleasant Plains.
“While most of the world knew Dorothy Day as an activist and a radical, her neighbors on the
South Shore knew her as a kind and generous woman of deep Catholic faith who loved her
community,” said New York City Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli.
“It is appropriate that generations of Staten Islanders will now ride a boat dedicated to her memory.”
The Dorothy Day is the third ship to be commissioned into service this year. The Staff Sargeant Michael H. Ollis began passenger service in February – named for the hero from New Dorp killed while saving his fellow soldier while serving in Afghanistan – and The Sandy Ground, the other Ollis-class vessel, honors one of the first Black settlements in the U.S. on Staten Island’s South Shore, a stop on the Underground Railroad.
All three ships were manufactured at Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, Fl. The funding for the ferries was allocated by senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer (D–NY). The triad of new boats are boasted to be more modern, safe and fit for extreme weather than the older ships.
“For more than 200 years, the Staten Island Ferry has been a symbol of New York City’s harbor
and an integral part of our city’s transportation system,” said U.S. Representative Nicole
Malliotakis of Staten Island and southern Brooklyn. “I was able to visit the facility where the Dorothy Day ferry was built and to christen her last year. Our city’s commuters will benefit greatly from having this new state-of-the-art ship as part of its fleet.”
“We are pleased to welcome the last vessel of the Ollis-class Staten Island Ferry fleet named in
honor of Staten Islander Dorothy Day. Millions of commuters and visitors will ride this ferry,
and many will get to know her story,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella.
“We want to thank DOT Commissioner Rodriguez and Borough Commissioner Caruana for their
support in this effort and are honored to share in this proud moment for Staten Island today.”
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