Want to stay on the oldest known ferryboat in the country? Dine on a table suspended from the ceiling on the passenger deck? Well you can on the historic Ellis Island ferry boat Yankee, berthed across the Hudson River from the Empire State Building in Hoboken, NJ.

photo: Navid Baraty via the NY Daily News

Yankee was built in 1907 in Philadelphia by Neafie & Levy. Early in her career, she was known as Machigonne. The steel hulled ferry, said to be luxurious for a day-vessel, began ferrying passengers between Portland, Maine and the Calendar Islands in Casco Bay. At the start of America’s involvement in World War 2, she was commissioned as USS Machigonne (SP-1043) by the U.S. Navy and used to transport men and supplies between Boston and Bumpkin Island Training Station.

After the war, she returned to commercial service ferrying new immigrants from their ocean-going ships to Ellis Island. Many are said to have had their first glimpse of New York City from the decks of Machigonne. After decades of service in various ferry and tour boat incarnations, she fell victim to neglect and vandalism.

She was rescued by Jim Gallagher in 1990, she was towed to Pier 25 where he began restoring the dilapidated vessel. After 12 years of restoration, he handed the wheel over to Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs who for the past 9 years have been lovingly transforming the historic ferry into a luxurious houseboat.

photo: Navid Baraty

From the New York Daily News: Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs have salvaged an iconic ferry from retirement, infusing it with décor rich enough to match its history.

The revamped Yankee boasts five bedrooms, 16 bunks, on-deck chickens, an Apple computer beside the old-school steering wheel, an expansive dining room and bohemian/artistic furnishings everywhere.

Docked near Hoboken’s Sinatra Drive on the Hudson River, the boat offers an unobstructed view of New York City. The ship is one of the nation’s oldest known ferryboats and landed a spot on the National Registry of Historic Places. Read more…

photo: Navid Baraty via airbnb.com

From the Daily Mail: After bringing the boat back to life, the artists have thrown down the gangway to welcome guests to spend a night on-board. While it may not have all the amenities of a traditional hotel, the boat undoubtedly provides plenty of dinner party conversation.

You can now rent the entire vessel for events, parties or for the family vacation. Sleep on the 107-year old vessel that served in both world wars, ferried hundreds of immigrants to Ellis Island, and countless others along the North East coast. See details and more photos here.

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee