Map of the Pavonia Ferry's route across the Hudson River
The Pavonia Ferry's Chambers Street Ferry Terminal at West Street and Chambers Street, 1938

The Pavonia Ferry was a ferry service on the Hudson River which conveyed passengers between New York City and Jersey City. It was launched in 1854.[1] It was sold to the Pavonia Ferry Company of Jersey City[2] for what was considered a low price of $9,050, at New York City Hall, in February 1854.[3][4]

The ferry takes its name for Pavonia, the first European settlement on the west bank of the Hudson first established in 1633 as part of New Netherland and later expanded to region known as Bergen.

In February 1859 Nathaniel Marsh of the Erie Railroad Company purchased the lease on behalf of the Pavonia Ferry Company. He started a ferry which ran from Chambers Street (Manhattan) to the foot of Pavonia Avenue on the other side of the Hudson Waterfront. Legal problems had prevented the Pavonia Ferry Company from establishing a ferry along this route. The New York and Erie Railroad paid an annual rent of $9,050 to transport passengers back and forth.[5] Eventually the railroad constructed its Pavonia Terminal on the landfilled Harsimus Cove. Suburban and long distance travellers would transfer from trains to boats for the passage across the river. Service to 23rd Street began in 1869.[6]

A January 18, 1903 letter from a Passaic, New Jersey reader to The New York Times, commented about the inadequacy of the boats of the Pavonia Ferry, which was then the property of the Erie Railroad. "All their boats are old, small and entirely inadequate to accommodate the crowds during rush hours."[7] The vessels then in use by the Erie Railroad, listed with first year of service, were: Pavonia (1861), Susquehanna (1865), Delaware (1868), Chatauqua (1868), Passaic (1869), Ridgewood (1873), Paterson (1886), and J.G. McCullough (1891).[7]

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  1. ^ "Sale Postponed". The New York Times. February 2, 1854. p. 6. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
  2. ^ "The Pavonia Ferry Lease Sold At Auction". The New York Times. February 16, 1854. p. 8. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
  3. ^ "Corporation Doings". The New York Times. February 24, 1854. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
  4. ^ Erie Railroad Terminal Archived 2012-02-04 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Aldermen's Committee On Ferries". The New York Times. February 1, 1859. p. 5. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
  6. ^ Baxter, Raymond J.; Adams. G. (1999), Railroad Ferries of the Hudson: And Stories of a Deckhand, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 9780823219544
  7. ^ a b "Pavonia Ferry Service". The New York Times. January 20, 1903. p. 8. Retrieved 2010-05-15.

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