The SS United States has been sitting, rusting, in a South Philadelphia port for most of my life. It’s an historic and storied vessel, but plenty of historic and storied vessels end up being scuttled or sold for scrap. In the past few years I’ve followed the continuing struggle to figure out what to do with this thing. I would run past it when I lived in Old City and would run along Columbus Boulevard in the summer. But its situation has been fragile, with the conservancy that formed to save it was facing with expenses of something like $60,000/month. It looks like they’ve found a solution:
It looks like the SS United States – the large, historic passenger liner that has been docked in South Philadelphia for two decades – will be moving to New York.
The nonprofit SS United States Conservancy, which owns the ship, revealed in a news advisory Thursday that it “has signed an option agreement with a major redevelopment partner” and that it will provide details about the ship’s future at a news conference next Thursday in New York.
Thomas Basile, a spokesman for the Washington-based conservancy, said in an email Thursday that he cannot provide any details about the ship’s new plans until after next week’s official announcement.
Basile would not confirm if the ship will move to New York or say who the “major redevelopment partner” is. But the fact that the news conference will be held at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, Pier 88, at 711 12th Avenue, in New York, reenforced earlier hints that the ship is expected to move there.
Jack Harris took the photo I’ve included here, of the SS United States sailing down the Hudson River on July 3, 1952. It’ll be years, but I can’t wait to step onboard in New York someday in the future.
If you were to count just the Museum of the American Revolution, the Philadelphia Media Network, and now the SS United States, Gerry Lenfest is making an enormous impact.