Photo by Mike Shane // www.mikeshanephotography.com
My favorite recent Staten Island (ISLA) Ferry aka Shaolin Yacht Club moment, you ask? I have two besides the glorious mundane rides of the every day as the sun says hello and goodbye or bumping into Mike Shane or Emilio Sparks on accident or the romantic rides with a lover on the way to work or anxiety-stricken rides to the city for big meetings or Thanksgiving Day herbal rides with my cuz Lynn or drinking the perfect #FerryBeer…
► After a SummerStage NYC show one late summer night – back when I worked there – a bunch of friends wanted to go to the East Village for a bar crawl. Because I was lean on funds, I proposed to the group that we ride the Ferry home and get beers on the boat, instead. I was back living in my hometown after a more than few years gone in California, gypsy-life tour managing and then withstanding a gentrified Brooklyn – more confident in my Staten Island-identity to propose something like that! People were actually down! *And we had a house party to hit up in St. George (Hood right by the boat) after, so it was completely perfect. Some of these folks had been in NYC a long time and had never thought to ride the boat. They were truly thankful for this NYC experience!
► My second memorable moment was on a late night Alice Austen boat. I was feeling the need to be outside in the strong wind and darkness. A young black teenager was directly behind me on the back deck outside, of what might have been considered a little encroaching on personal space, but only because NYPD imposed those silly ropes cordoning us off. I was stretching and breathing, feeling the crisp wind on my face, a tad annoyed at the youngin’ all up in my space. Nonetheless, I continue. He says hello. I say hi, in a rather short way, putting my headphones back on. He taps me on my shoulder again, this time I’m slightly more than perturbed, mind you, I had wanted to be alone out there! But he tells me he doesn’t want me to be afraid of him because he’s young and black. At this point, I take off my headphones and tell him that I’m not afraid, but that I had wanted to be alone in that moment to stretch. From there – mind you, this is not too long after Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD the morning I happen to say good morning to him – we have a very personal and honest conversation about being a young black male and young brown woman in this city, and where we shared struggle. We found understanding and shared kindness for those 20 minutes as we parted ways to our homes.
► That’s what I love about the Staten Island Ferry…it’s our shared humanity on a moving vessel on the sea in all it’s good, bad and ugly…it’s just mad real!