Did you know that all NYC Ferry vessels were named by second graders?
Between 2017 and 2019, thousands of second-grade students across New York City competed in our NYC Ferry vessel naming competitions. You may be familiar with some of our 2019 winners like Cyclone Shark, Curiosity, and Tooth Ferry, but there are a few remaining names that have not yet been displayed on our vessels. We’re excited to announce that the ships which were temporarily named by their hull numbers (such as HB107), will soon be sailing down the East River by a new name!
Read the inspiration behind some of our 2019 winners, including ones you already know and others that you will be sailing on soon!
A second-grade class at P.S. 65 in St. George, Staten Island worked together to dream up the name Dream Boat. Here’s what they had to say about their choice:
“Many people take the ferry and have some quiet time before they get to the busy city. During the trip, they have time to think and dream about the possibilities that are on the other side like job opportunities, awesome schools, great food, cultural, and art experiences to share with loved ones or maybe to imagine what Manhattan island was like back when the Dutch settlers arrived. It’s so exciting to be able to find evidence of the past hidden in the hustle and bustle of what New York City has become today. All of what we see and experience in the city today started with just a DREAM of a better life. That’s why we think Dream Boat would be a great name and maybe give those that notice it some hope for a better life or even just a better day than the one before.”
When asked what it takes to be a super student at P.S. 212 in Gravesend, Brooklyn, one second-grade class responded, in what seemed like harmony, that they must show their best “koalaties.” What are “koalaties” you ask? Inspired by the school’s mascot, the koala, students follow the acronym P.A.W.S. — the qualities that the school deems most important — pride, attitude, wise choices, and safety. The class decided to share the Lady Debra Moody School spirit with all of New York City by choosing the name “Koalafied Cruiser.”
The students hope that New Yorkers will show their P.A.W.S. not only while riding onboard NYC Ferry but in all they do.
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The 2nd grade class at P.S. 329 class came up with the name White Sands.
“Our class did a lot of research on the history of the Coney Island Creek. We found some interesting details but the students found the community of White Sands to be the most interesting. On the south side of Coney Island Creek (with the Belt Parkway to the north), there used to be a community of small homes and bungalows. This community was used as a summer beach community in the mid-1920s. The bungalows were built on stilts above the white-colored sands. The white sand was eventually removed to fill Coney Island Beach, but the name White Sands for the community stood.
We feel that White Sands is the perfect name for the vessel that has its landing in Coney Island because aside from the amusement park, Coney Island is known for its beautiful beaches! And what a better name than White Sands to remind the passengers why they are heading to this community!”
Second graders at P.S. 270 in Brooklyn selected the winning name, River Sprinter, which was inspired by the fast-paced lifestyle of New Yorkers that are always on the go. The class explained, “Speed and saving time are part of the city culture. The River Sprinter describes the need for people to travel quickly and safely. The name River Sprinter will remind people that they can leave their cars at home, and they don’t have to ever worry about getting stuck in traffic. More importantly, this ferry will sprint across the river to get them to their destination on time.”
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Loretta Sullivan, the teacher of the winning 2nd-grade class at P.S.102 in Brooklyn, explained the process her students used to come up with the name, Ferry Godmother. She said:
“My students often take the ferry – whether to the Rockaways, or to Manhattan – and will excitedly tell me the name of whatever boat that they ride on. The Bay Ridge Ferry is a walking distance from most of their homes and has become part of their community.
As we began the name selection process, our class talked about what names would be appropriate and what names were already used for other ferries. Students then wrote their choices for ferry names on a scrap of paper, so I could read them all aloud for a vote. The three names that received the most votes were singled out for a second vote, to determine the winner. Ferry Godmother was the overwhelming favorite. The name was a hit – understandably, given the role that fairy tales play in the lives of second graders.
Once the name was chosen, the students wrote a short paragraph on why that name was best. Many of the students said that the ferry can take you places that are interesting and exciting, places where you can experience new things. The kids connected this quality to the fairy godmother in Cinderella, who, with her magical pumpkin carriage, transported Cinderella from the ball before midnight; her magic, in a way, did the same thing as the ferry. My class is extremely diverse and all the students talked about the many things they did in and around the city. We talked about where the new ferries landings would be, and how these new landings would make it possible for the people in the city to go to even more places, including museums, amusement parks, baseball stadiums, and other places that are important in New York history. The ferry makes it possible to go to different neighborhoods, eat in different restaurants, and learn about the different cultures that make up New York City. Also, while the kids love the ferry, some mentioned that they can get seasick, or a little afraid in the choppier waters. A name like Ferry Godmother assures them that they have nothing to fear. Not to mention, kids – at least the ones in my class – are sure to get a kick out of Ferry Godmother’s cute, maritime pun name.
Forget Me Knot
This name sure is unforgettable! Here’s the reasoning behind why the students at P.S. 102 in Bay Ridge decided to name an NYC Ferry vessel, Forget Me Knot:
“Our class chose the name “Forget Me Knot” because it represents our neighborhood of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Bay Ridge is a diverse community with many of our residents leaving their home country for this new one. People won’t “forget” where they come from, but will embrace Bay Ridge (with its strong connection to the water) and how we are all “knotted” together with each other even though we come from different backgrounds. The word “knot” also ties into how boats and ships travel in our bay. It is a lovely play on words relating to a nautical theme.”
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The students at P.S. 307 chose Purpose because New Yorkers have a purpose for where they are going and why they choosing the ferry as a form of transportation. They said, “There is often lots of traffic on the road. There is not that much traffic on the water. Taking a ferry named Purpose will get you to your destination fast and on time. Everyone has a purpose. The NYC Ferry vessel has a purpose.”
Signs to Liberty
P.S. 347 is a unique school where there is a population of deaf and hard of hearing students, as well as students who have deaf parents and family members. The school was founded on the Lower East Side of Manhattan as the first public school for the deaf in the country, and currently serves children from Pre-Kindergarten to 8th Grade.
The teacher of the winning second grade class explained the thought-process behind the name Signs to Liberty. Check it out:
“Our second-grade class brainstormed a name over two library class periods, and it was evident (once they realized we couldn’t name the boat after Pokemon or Disney Princesses) that they wanted the name to incorporate aspects of American Sign Language. We began the process of picking out words that pertained to ASL and narrowed it to “hands” and “signs,” and the vote was nearly unanimous for “signs.” For the next part of the name, we wanted a positive word that was indicative of the values, culture, and visual identity of New York City. The students raised their hands and suggested a number of powerful words, and the word liberty particularly stuck out. After playing around with word combinations, the class agreed upon “Signs to Liberty.” They agreed it is a wonderful name because there is a chance the Statue of Liberty can be seen from the vessel.
The Statue of Liberty is something that every person around the world correlates with freedom, inclusiveness, progressivism and charity. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is what New York City is all about. New York City gives everyone an opportunity to experience the American Dream. When riding a new ferry vessel, every passenger will be reminded that New York City is and has always been a haven for liberty and a pioneer for human rights. It is a city that has universal Pre-K for its children, free breakfast and lunch for all students, and a plan for protecting the environment.”
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As one of the first name-changes to take place, you may have already seen or sailed on Cyclone Shark before. The name, which derives from the old and new of Coney Island, was selected by students at P.S. 212 in Gravesend.
The word “Cyclone” comes from the famous wooden Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster. The Cyclone is a historical landmark and attraction that sits by the Coney Island coastline. The students expressed fond memories of the wooden coaster that was built in the 1920s. The word “Shark” comes from the “Ocean Wonders: Sharks!” exhibit at the New York Aquarium. Just like the Cyclone, the students had expressed their joy in visiting this great deep-sea wonder nearby their school. These old and new attractions help connect neighbors from near and far. The vessel, Cyclone Shark symbolizes the meaning of bringing people together by connecting New Yorkers and visitors from all different communities.
The clever students at P.S. 516 in Sunset Park named the Tooth Ferry! Here’s a peek of their submission on why they chose the name:
“Tooth Ferry would be a great name for a ferry because it has a play on words. Our name idea sounds almost like Tooth Fairy. Losing teeth is one of the exciting things that happen to 2nd graders. We think lots of second graders would be pumped to ride a ferry called Tooth Ferry. We also think this would be a funny name for the ferry. We have been studying cityscapes and the ferry boats in our art class. It would be really cool if you could even decorate the boat to look like a Tooth Fairy. We think Tooth Ferry would be a good name for the ferry boat because when we think of the Tooth Fairy we feel excited, elated, happy, glad, and overjoyed. This is how we hope all of the passengers who ride the New York City ferry feel on their journeys.”
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Curiosity represents the values of Maritime culture, NYC culture, and is one of the Core Values of P.S. 676. The 2nd-grade class voted on this name after brainstorming a list of possible names using a word bank full of values, adjectives, and nouns.
Here’s what led them to the name, Curiosity:
“We chose Curiosity because we are a curious group of students who know that it takes curiosity to learn. We know that school isn’t just about answering questions but asking questions too. Students’ curiosity is the lamp that lights the way in all our lessons. As residents of Red Hook who live near the water, we are curious about all things maritime-related. We are curious about ferries too and are excited to take a ferry trip!
We also believe curiosity represents maritime culture because the people who developed maritime commerce and industries had to be curious to invent things like ferries and all of the interesting machines and vehicles needed to support maritime activities. We have even had the opportunity to learn from the founder of Red Hook Water Stories and we’ve observed how curious she is and how that quality has led to her amazing achievements towards preserving maritime history and culture in our neighborhood.
We also chose curiosity because we believe New Yorkers are curious. New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world, meaning its residents and their ancestors were curious enough to immigrate to a new place and often learn a new language. Native New Yorkers must be open-minded and curious in order to co-exist harmoniously with diverse neighbors, friends, and coworkers. We practice curiosity in our classroom by learning about each other’s cultures and listening to each other’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas.”
A second-grade class at P.S. 31 in Greenpoint proposed the name Melting Pot. They explained that Melting Pot would make a great name because the area of Greenpoint has always been home to people of many different backgrounds.
“We think it is a good name for the ferry landing because of the fact that so many immigrants took a boat to get to our very own Ellis Island. This is a way to honor those who went through difficult times and risked their lives to come to not only the United States but to New York. When people hear the name Melting Pot we want them to think about not only the great country we have but also the amazing neighborhood we live in that has such strong immigrant roots and many thriving cultures. Lastly, Melting Pot is the best name because people from other areas of New York City can come and visit our neighborhood of Greenpoint, which helps bring together people from all different places.”