On 30 April 1983, my brother and I headed to the foot of West 43nd Street to board a Circle Line boat for its famous three-and-half hour tour around Manhattan.
On a similar trip in July 1971 I spotted the glamorous Michelangelo arriving and preparing to berth at the Italian Line pier.
No such luck on this trip. By 1983, transatlantic liner crossings had all but ceased (except for QE2, of course), and the cruise industry in was minuscule (compared to today) and still trying to find its market. Worse yet, most passenger lines were either shutting down or deserting New York’s aging piers and setting up operations in more accommodating warm weather Florida ports.
Still, there was much to be seen on the Big Apple waterfront during 1983. As you watch the video above, keep your eye peeled for these highlights:
00:15: A newly arrived USS Intrepid awaiting her conversion into a floating air and space museum.
01:16: Home Line’s Oceanic and Atlantic (currently MSC’s Melody) are both in port today.
02:25 – My brother welcomes you.
05: 30 – We begin passing the Lower Manhattan piers, including the decaying Chelsea Piers. Liners such as Lusitania, Mauritania and Olympic berthed here. Titanic, too, would have arrived at this spot in April 1912 had fate not intervened.
07:45 – The iconic World Trade Center Twin Towers.
10:07 – The world famous Staten Island Ferry makes an appearance.
11:30 – The Statue of Liberty
13:49 – A distant glimpse at Ellis Island, the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the US. It was the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station for over 60 years from 1892 until 1954.
13:55 – Another National Monument: Castle Clinton. Built to prevent a British invasion in 1812, the fortification transformed over the years to become a theatre and and, later, a pre-Ellis Islan immigration arrival station.
14:30 – The Staten Island Ferry in her Manhattan terminal.
00:00 – We briefly see Ellis Island again as a speedboat zooms by.
15:40: 17:00 – The South Street Seaport Museum, including the barque Peking and the Ambrose Lightship.
14: 50 – The Governor’s Island Ferry begins her southbound journey.She bears the US Coast Guard’s red stripe.
16:45 – A garbage scow.
17:10 – The Brooklyn Bridge.
…and much more