The Coast Guard calls it an “allision.” You know it as a crash. Last night around 7 p.m. the John J. Marchi, a Staten Island Ferry vessel, hit the pier a little too hard and too directly (glancing blows are common), injuring 15. Fortunately the worst casualty seems to be a man with a dislocated elbow. (11 people were killed in a 2003 Ferry crash; you can read a full list of disasters suffered by the line here.) The boat’s propulsion system, by means of which it exerts enough “reverse” power to guide the boat and slow its entry, unexpectedly failed. The crew saw this coming and called for the passengers to “move back.” Local officials praised the crew’s quick thinking but nonetheless sent them all for drug tests.
Update: Tom Robbins informs us that “crash” isn’t the right word. We’re always learning something from that guy.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 2, 2009