8. Hoboken Pier 1
The City of New York boat, anchored in Antarctica. Photo from the German National Archive via Wikimedia Commons.
Byrd’s ship, the City of New York, arrived to New York harbor with much fanfare. It was an old-fashioned multi-masted wooden ship that weighed 200 tons and spanned half a city block. The ship, had “seen duty as an Arctic icebreaker for Norwegian seal hunters starting in 1885. On one run in icy waters in 1912, her captain had been the last to see the Titanic.”
The City of New York would be the first of Byrd’s flotilla to leave for Antarctica. Two-thousand people would eagerly go on board in a public “open house” of the boat at Hoboken‘s Pier 1 just nine days before the ship sailed. Captain Frederick Melville, second cousin of writer Herman Melville, welcomed the visitors, many who had come, like Billy, to Hoboken via the 14th Street Ferry. The entrance fee was $1, which went into the expedition coffers.
Billy took it as an opportunity to scout out where he might be able to stow away, once he got to the City of New York after swimming across the Hudson River on the evening of August 24th, 1928. He would get an unexpected surprise once he got to his hiding spot.
Get a copy of The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica by author Laurie Gwen Shapiro on Amazon.