RedbirdR33 wrote:...The used fog horns and stop watches and while their were some fender benders from time to time by and large it was a safe operation.
Larry you appear to know of what you speak!
Apparently the boats did keep operating if at all possible and there were a few collisions but usually with only minor damage and no injuries.
Looking at a Proquest news archive of the New York Times
, the winter of 1926-27 seems to have been one of the foggiest. On Nov. 30, 1926 the West Shore ferry Albany
collided with the CNJ boat Cranford
as they arrived at adjacent slips at the Cortlandt Street and Liberty Street ferryhouses. There was heavy fog and the current swung Albany
into the Cranford
. Most of the damage was to the Cranford
, some broken railings and some splintered wood. The collision's impact pushed the Albany
into the Cortlandt Street slip's timbers (or 'fenders') but there was no damage and no injuries, just a very rough ride!
On Dec. 11, 1926 West Shore ferries -- despite an extremely heavy fog -- were running with delays. Heavy fog descended on the harbor in January and lasted intermittently for three days. Reportedly it was heaviest on January 22nd. On that day West Shore boats on the 42nd Street run were reported to be averaging a fifteen minute delay. That means they were really crawling as the trip normally took about five minutes. Cortlandt Street service was cancelled. In February there was another extremely heavy fog and this was one of the few times that all West Shore ferry operations were cancelled, although only for a few hours in the morning. In mid-March there was another period of heavy fog, intermittently over several days. The Times
reported that "unlike in earlier fogs," the Cortlandt Street service was not suspended. On the afternoon of March 12th ferries were delayed by the fog and it was reported that westbound trains were delayed at Weehawken when they were held for late running ferries.
Arthur Adams commuted on the West Shore boats from Englewood for a year or two in the late 1940s and his father had been a West Shore commuter for many years. He wrote in Railroad Ferries of the Hudson
, it was seldom that the 42nd Street boats stopped running. "Foggy days were scary," he wrote. The 42nd Street boats intersected the path of the big liners that docked along the West Side of Manhattan north of 42nd Street so passengers were always a bit on edge when the boat was slowly picking its way through a real pea-souper.
However, this was all before today's 'Nanny era' and people accepted some risk, it was viewed as part of life. How did Adams get to Manhattan when the boats weren't running? I don't think he said, I don't think he had it happen.