Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | November 6, 2009

Riot on the Ferry Terminal


I was returning home from my class at ASA when I noticed an abnormal number of people waiting for the Ferry back to Staten Island. Tempers were flaring there – as I walked into the terminal, I saw a drunken man screaming at his girlfriend, who was visibly scared as she ran away from him.

When I got in, I saw that the place was packed, and that the police were telling everyone to leave. It was nice outside despite the chill, so I figured I’d take the next boat to avoid the crowds. I found a bench, unpacked a turkey sandwich I’d had purchased at a nearby Duane Reade and started to eat. 

Next thing I realize, scores of police cars, motorcycles and ambulances are rushing down from Bowling Green in the direction of the terminal. We knew something bad had happened, but the police weren’t talking. I asked around and it turned out that there had been a riot inside the terminal, and that some people had been badly injured. I couldn’t find out the origin of the problem, so I found myself a safe place to stand and ponder on what to do next. By then it was close to 2 PM and the police were still keeping the terminal empty while two ferry boats idled on the water, flanked by both NYPD and Coast Guard boats.

Around me, everything reeked of beer and cheap booze – it was clear that many of the revelers at the Yankee victory parade had gotten well juiced early in the morning (something I noticed when I was on the 7:45 boat), and that their judgement was clearly impaired.

A few minutes later, a policeman with a bullhorn announced that the terminal would open soon, and that the crowd would be allowed back in ‘in an orderly manner.’ As soon as he finished speaking, a fight broke out between two women and right next to them two guys began a fist fight. Out came the cops, and then the ferry boarding was delayed indefinitely.

I was tweeting about it and also posting photos on Facebook as I went along… but then I realized it was time to get back on the subway and go down to Bay Ridge (Brooklyn), where I could take a bus to Staten Island. Others had the same idea, and when I got to 86th Street the streets were mobbed – apparently the MTA did not add additional buses even being aware of the situation in Manhattan. I waited for about twenty minutes, and got on the fourth bus that pulled in later that afternoon.

I reached home at around 4 PM, and after resting a while, I am still cranky. An afternoon was wasted because of a few idiots (apparently the first fight broke because a Philly fan insulted some drunken Yankee supporters). I am also appalled that transportation authorities – who prepared everything in order for things to go smoothly this morning – were unable to respond to a temporary emergency.

As expected, few news outlets published anything in reference to this – as of Saturday, November 7, I only found a couple of comments on Staten Island’s local paper, the Advance – which basically put up some photos and videos sent by readers who were – like me – caught up in the mess.

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