Islander rusts away in New York; bills pile up
Fans of the ferry Islander will find little comfort in her as yet undetermined fate. Instead of sailing away into the sunset and a new life the ferry is rusting away at a dock in New York City where it has been moored for some time.
On February 23, Don Slovak, a farmer and trucker from the town of Valatie, N. Y., just east of the Hudson River and about 15 miles south of Albany, placed the winning bid on eBay for the former Steamship Authority (SSA) ferry that served the Vineyard route for 57 years.
At the time of the purchase Mr. Slovak told The Times he liked what he saw and read on eBay and decided to speculate. He said he had some interest from people in other countries.
The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), the corporation responsible for Governors Island in New York City, purchased the 770-passenger, half-century-old ferry for $500,000 in July 2007. GIPEC put the ferry on the Internet auction block rather than pay an estimated $6 million for needed maintenance and repairs.
But according to a story published Friday in The Times Union newspaper of Albany, the ferry has become a "titanic headache" for Mr. Slovak.
The newspaper reported that Mr. Slovak claims he was hit with new conditions demanded by the state before it would release "the rusted craft, which remains moored in New York Harbor."
Ms. Slovak has filed a notice of claim alleging breach of contract. In legal documents, Mr. Slovak contemplates suing to recover $171,400 in lost profits from his deferred plans to flip the ferry to a new owner.
Mr. Slovak has been trying to sell the ferry whole or in parts and has been marketing it to Third World countries, the newspaper reported. A lawyer for the town of Kinderhook has told Mr. Slovak not to bring the ferry to his farm, where officials said he maintains a junkyard and operates an unlawful auto transport business.