Brookhaven Town Spars With Staten Island Over Saturday Night Live Stars’ Ferry Location

staten island ferry
Left: Pete Davidson (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File); Right: Colin Jost (REUTERS/Kyle Grillot)

Elected leaders of Long Island’s Town of Brookhaven and Staten Island have exchanged words about which region should host a decommissioned Staten Island ferry owned by comedians Pete Davidson and Colin Jost.

The Saturday Night Live stars won the ferry for $280,000 in a January auction and said they plan to transform it into a floating bar/restaurant and entertainment venue in New York City near Staten Island, where they both grew up, reports say. However, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine had other ideas. He wrote Davidson a letter on April 4 asking that the owners consider bringing the ferryboat to Long Island.

“While we are well aware of your affinity for your native Staten Island, we welcome you to consider bringing  this iconic vessel to a Long Island venue such as Port Jefferson, Patchogue or even Fire Island,” Romaine wrote. “With easy access to New York City via the Long Island Railroad and equipped to handle lodging needs for out-of-towners, these villages have all of the intangibles to be a new home for your innovative business concept.”

In a news conference via Zoom on Sunday, April 10, Romaine and Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella each pleaded their cases for becoming home of the John F. Kennedy Staten Island Ferry, according to reports. 

While Fossella argued that the vessel carries the Staten Island namesake and is owned by two famous Staten Islanders, Romaine insisted that Long Island’s larger population, bustling waterfront downtowns, and proximity to the Hamptons make it a good fit for the new business endeavor. Jost and his wife, actress Scarlett Johansson, own a home in the Hamptons.

“Long Island is a tourist destination for city-dwellers during the summer months, seeking to enjoy the nice weather on the water,” Romaine wrote in the letter. “According to our tourism bureau, Long Island’s tourism industry recently set records, accounting for over $6 billion in revenue. Millions travel by car and train to Long Island’s East End – including the Hamptons, Montauk, and North Fork Wine Country – during the spring, summer, and fall, and this may be the perfect audience to market your venue. We are confident that Long Islanders seeking entertainment will help keep this new venture ‘afloat.’”

Discover Long Island, a marketing agency for Long Island tourism, expressed its support for Romaine’s idea in a Tweet Monday afternoon that tagged both the SNL stars.

“👋 Hey @ColinJost @TheKingofSI @nbcsnl #PeteDavidson – Help buoy #LONGIsland’s hard-hit tourism industry & anchor a strong recovery for the mom & pop shops in our charming downtowns & iconic destinations!” the Tweet says.

Davidson and Jost have not commented on the matter. They will ultimately decide the ferryboat’s final destination with their business team.

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