NEW YORK – “Saturday Night Live” comics Colin Jost and Pete Davidson have purchased a decommissioned Staten Island Ferry boat for $280,100 with plans to turn it into New York's hottest club.
Jost and Davidson teamed up with comedy club owner Paul Italia on Wednesday's winning bid for the John F. Kennedy, a 277-foot (84-meter) vessel that shuttled commuters between the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island from 1965 until it was taken out of service last August.
“The Staten Island Ferry is definitely something iconic,” Italia, a real estate investor and co-owner of the restaurant and comedy club The Stand, said Friday. “We wanted to figure out a way to save it and to do something special with it.”
Italia said transforming the 2,109-ton ferry into an entertainment venue will cost millions of dollars and won't happen anytime soon.
“It’s really early stages here,” he said. “You have a great idea and you’re working on executing it and the first step is the acquisition of the boat, and I think that that’s the story right now. We were successful in acquiring the boat and making sure it didn’t go into the scrapyard like the last two.”
Messages seeking comment were sent to representatives of Jost and Davidson, who both grew up on Staten Island and often joke about their home borough and its best-known mode of transport.
Named after the 35th U.S. president, the John F. Kennedy was the oldest ferry in the fleet when it was decommissioned last summer.
The new owners have 10 business days to secure a place to dock the vessel and tow it there. “We're working on that,” Italia said.
The boat was auctioned by New York City's Department of Citywide Administrative Services, and other city departments will have to sign off on operating it as a floating nightspot.
It could help that the city's new mayor is on board. “I love this idea. What a great way to give an NYC icon a second life,” Mayor Eric Adams tweeted Friday.
Adams, who took office on Jan. 1 and was portrayed by Chris Redd on “Saturday Night Live” on Jan. 15, added, “Let us know how we can help and we’ll be there for the maiden voyage.”