On the Cover

With this issue San Francisco Bay Crossings becomes San Francisco Bay and New York Harbor Crossings with the debut of our New York section. It’s made possible by the talents and contributions of John Bollinger, founder and editor of Pierless magazine, the progenitor to Bay Crossings. Bollinger, a fervent advocate for water transit and a snappy writer to boot, offers up entertaining insights that highlight the urgently important role ferries are playing in New York’s recovery efforts.

Published: February, 2002

A fellow ferry-riding friend of mine has been putting it this way since 9/11, “Throw out everything that doesn’t work and re-build it better”. I won’t tell you what he found on the small balcony outside his office on Rector Street on the morning of 9/11, However I will say that for him to still be taking the ferry into Lower Manhattan everyday and rebuilding his business is a great testament to our now unseen, but undoubtedly better future.

Reading this publication right now, you are actively involved in one aspect of this better future, namely letting go of the need to put your rear end in your car seat everyday to get to work. You are an aquammuter, aqua = water+ mmuter from commuter.

Since 9/11 in New York and San Francisco¹s 1987 earthquake, smart and reasonable people have realized aquammuting is the best inoculation to working life in the big city. New York’s daily private ferry ridership has increased about 100% since 9/11.

Along with lowering the level of stress hormones in your body and being easier on pollution levels when you take a ferry instead of your car, you personally kick a power hungry terrorist in the ass. Despite the religious rhetoric, bin Laden is sickly driven to control the only power in the Middle East: oil. Use less oil and remove his excuse.

Michael Stipe of REM was right, it must be the end of the world as we know it. You can be both environmentally concerned and patriotically jingoistic at the same time. Ferry commuting is a perfect way to do both.

This better future, this New World order is why the publication in your hands exists. Bobby Winston, the force behind Bay Crossings, his great staff in the San Francisco Bay area for over two years and I and my much-better-half Ellen for over three years with Pierless (more about that below), have been using our media vehicles to spread this better word about the benefits of aquammuting.

What do San Francisco and New York have in common? Aside from being the two best cities in the country (sorry Chicago, Boston, LA and Seattle), there would appear to be little. One is a city of skyscrapers; located in the harbor of a great ocean with Starbucks on every corner; populated with people from around the world, who work in casual clothes not just on Friday, but all the time. The cost of living in this city is one the highest in the world. Recently they have gone through a major economic shake up in their core industry, but they are starting to turn the corner. Now, guess the name of the other city.

One city has the sunrise over the water; the other the sunset. One city has the Giants, the other has the Giants (okay the other used to have the other Giants too). Yes, one is three hours behind the other, which considering what can happen in a New York Minute is a lot, but both are among the most vibrant important places to live on the planet.

That’s why NYC’s ferry commuters have a new publication and San Francisco’s can get a piece of the city of “toiddy toid and toid” ( 33rd & 3rd), The Producers and Rudy. Yes, two heads and two cities are better than one.

Over the last couple of years of talking with Mr. Winston about of our respective waterfronts, I think that we both have learned a lot. We’ve seen things in a different light. At least, I know I have. Therefore, our collaboration is going to make for a more enjoyable periodical. If nothing else, during this economic shake-and-tremble time period, you can at least muse about a ciy three thousand miles away even if you can’t get the vacation time to get there.

For me, having suspended publication of Pierless two years ago, it is very heartening to see that our original idea was sound. With Mr. Winston’s infrastructure at Bay Crossings as support and taking a conservative pace with the roll out in NYC, we look forward to a bright future.

Bay Crossings has been a success for several reasons, but the most important is the great interest in increasing aquammuting in the San Francisco area not only by the government, the readers and the advertisers but also the many ferries services in the Bay Area.

As for Pierless, we were very well supported by our readers (to this day people still ask if we are going to start it up again); our advertisers ( for a year and a half after we stopped we got calls requesting space); many (please note not all) of the governmental groups and two of the three present private ferry services.

We distributed 11 issues (145,000 copies) of a magazine designed solely to 1) give the readers information and entertainment, 2) give advertisers an audience they could reach in no other way and 3) increase the awareness of the ferry business in NYC.

We succeeded in almost all of what we wanted to accomplish. But in the words of my rebuilding, aquammuting buddy; it is time to “Throw out everything that doesn’t work and re-build it better”.

We are looking forward to setting up the lines of communication again and speculating the future of the waterfront. If you have comments, questions or would just like to be part of the better future of the waterfront, email me at jgb@baycrossings.org.