Our Founder, John Krevey (1949 – 2011) was a waterfront entrepreneur and activist who brought historic ships to New York City’s West Side. He was a passionate about the history of the working waterfront and a strong advocate for waterfront accessibility to the public. Pier 66 Maritime carries on his work with a proactive stance for public access to the water and to preserving the maritime history of the New York City Harbor and the Hudson River.
“He leaves us a great legacy — and it’s not just about saving a rusty ship. It’s that spirit of sticking to your ideals, and creating a world where so many people are welcome.” –– Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, Feb. 28, 2011 Article
“He was the waterfront before the waterfront was cool,” said his friend and colleague John Doswell
“Krevey was one of the earliest members of Friends of Hudson River Park, the civic group advocating for the 5-mile-long waterfront park. He was a member of the Friends’ board of directors until 2010….A lifelong enthusiast for historic ships, he bought the decommissioned U.S. lightship Frying Pan, which was lying in the mud in Chesapeake Bay in the early ’80’s.
…with a group of a half-dozen like-minded enthusiasts, Krevey got the ship afloat, installed a truck diesel engine and started a legendary coastal sea voyage to the Hudson River in 1983. They encountered storms, engine failures and short rations before they brought the limping vessel into the Hudson.
The Frying Pan had several berths over the next few years, including Pier 25, at North Moore St., in Tribeca; Chelsea Piers; and the Intrepid pier at W. 46th St. The ship was even moored in the middle of the Hudson River at one point. In 1995, Krevey acquired an old railroad barge that had been used to ferry railroad cars across from New Jersey to Manhattan and tied it up on the north end of Pier 63, at W. 23rd St (now at Pier 66 at W. 26th st).
With Frying Pan as an attraction, Krevey turned the 350-foot-long barge into a public-access boat landing, Pier 63 Maritime, with a small bar and restaurant that became a neighborhood gathering place where boat owners could tie up.
In 2000, Krevey and friends put in a bid to buy the John J. Harvey, a decommissioned fireboat, from New York City. The Harvey found a home at Pier 63 Maritime. And on Sept. 11, 2001, the vessel helped evacuate Battery Park City residents during the World Trade Center attacks and then, under radio direction from the Fire Department, trained its powerful, functioning water pumps on the blazing towers.
Four years ago when the Hudson River Park Trust acquired Pier 66, Krevey was able to convince the Trust to designate the former railroad float bridge at W. 26th St. as the new site for the barge. It became Pier 66 Maritime and the new neighborhood gathering place.” — The Villager, Feb 16, 2011 Article
- Type: Rail Road Barge
- Built: 1946
- Dimensions: 326′ x 40′ x 10.5′
Originally built for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad, later known as the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, this historic car float was just like hundreds used to carry railroad cars from New Jersey to New York City prior to the expansion of trucking via the bridges and tunnels we have today. Pier 66 Maritime is located at one of the few remaining float bridges that were used to receive these barges. The float bridges rode up and down with the tides so as to always match the height of the surface of the barge.
In 1995, the barge was purchased from a shipyard in Staten Island. After several weeks of work in the yard (the deck was mostly gone) it was towed by a single large tugboat to its original location at Pier 63. On the way, the tug had to run off for another job and left our Founder John Krevey & his crew floating in the Kill Van Kull for several hours before coming back to finish the job.
Eventually, the barge was floated into location and ramps were attached to the cement bulkhead. The barge was then slowly pulled away from the bulkhead until the other end of the ramps were perfect and dropped in position into a precut notches. At that time, four giant spuds (large lengths of 24” diameter pipe), contained within “spud wells”, two at each end of the barge, were cut loose and allowed to drop to the river bottom, thus anchoring the barge in position.
The barge was moved from Pier 63 to the float bridge at Pier 66 in 2007 using the same process.