Second-graders from two Bay Ridge elementary schools set sail on June 21 on one of the city-wide ferries they named.
Students from PS 170 and PS 102 cruised from the American Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge on “Lunchbox,” soaking in majestic views of the city skyline to celebrate dreaming up monikers for four of the city’s 13 commuter vessels. It was a life-changing voyage for some of the tykes, said an educator.
“We have new immigrant children who have never had the experience of being on a boat or seeing Manhattan from this angle,” said Tony Wu, who is the principal of PS 170 and joined his students for the trip. “They loved it. It’s wonderful to see them learning in the classroom, but it’s so different to see them on a boat. I’m so proud. This is one of the best moments in my career.”
Pint-sized sailors from PS 170 named a trio of boats that now ply the city’s waterways daily, including “Lunchbox,” “The Friendship Express,” and “McShiny.” Students at PS 102 christened a fourth boat “The Owl’s Head,” after the nearby park.
Schools within half a mile of the new ferry landings — which in Brooklyn include Downtown, Red Hook, Sunset Park, and Bay Ridge — were invited to participate in the naming contest to showcase their respective nabes, and for a dash of the flare that can only be achieved through the creativity of kids, according to an Economic Development spokeswoman.
Kids from neighboring PS 971 in Sunset Park also christened a ferry the “Sunset Crossing” — but for some reason the city did not go with one of their other submissions: the “Fuhgettaboutit Ferry.”
After cruising along Brooklyn’s coast and venturing to the distant isle of Manhattan, students circled back to Bay Ridge where they were gifted actual lunchboxes with the “Lunchbox” ferry on the lid as souvenirs from their ride and recognition of their achievement.
Tykes at PS 971 and other schools across the city that pitched in to name the boats will get their own rides on the ferries they named in the coming weeks.