The reality that Crystal Cruises won't be putting the beloved SS United States back into passenger service, after 20 years tied up at a pier in Philadelphia, doesn't mean the 1950s-era ocean liner is destined for the scrapyard.
"The fact that Crystal showed interest at all will hopefully make people turn and look at the ship in a new light, and the fact that New York has another chance of making her a permanent New Yorker," says Paul Stipkovich of the SSUS Conservancy NY Chapter.
Before Crystal Cruises came courting six months ago, with the bold yet impractical idea to re-brand the obsolete ship as part of its luxury fleet, New York City was being eyed as the logical place for the vessel to find new life as a stationary fixture on the waterfront.
"We now have an opportunity again here in Brooklyn, where I thought ship would be a perfect fit," says John Quadrozzi Jr., owner of the Gowanus Bay Terminal, "It's just a matter of getting it in the right hands in the right place with the right development behind her to make it happen."
Manhattan, her original homeport, is also a favorite.
"Pier 76, North River New York, just opposite the Jacob Javits center, that was the United States Lines Cargo Pier, not part of Hudson River Park," says Ted Scull, a maritime historian.
Crystal's feasibility study deemed the "Big-U" to be structurally sound as is, making the prospect of moving her to New York intact, a more enticing one.