A 62-year-old decommissioned FDNY fireboat will get a new life as a museum just north of the Tarrytown Lighthouse, thanks to restaurateur Edward Taylor, who purchased the 129-foot vessel and is refurbishing it to serve as an attraction near his new Sleepy Hollow eatery.
The fireboat John D. McKean is named for an FDNY marine engineer who died at his post in 1953 while trying to save the fireboat George B. McClellan after a steam explosion. Engineer McKean’s son and grandson went on to become FDNY firefighters. The vessel has seen high-profile duty in New York Harbor, fighting flames at the Manhattan terminal of the Staten Island Ferry in 1991, shuttling more than 200 stranded people across the Hudson to safety in Jersey City on September 11, 2001, and rescuing passengers from US Airways Flight 1549 on January 15, 2009, after Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s successful river landing.
Mr. Taylor and his partner won the boat at auction, plunking down $57,400 for a vessel that originally cost $1.4 million. Extensive restoration has added to the cost of what Taylor admits was not an entirely rational purchase. He told the New York Post, “When I first saw this boat, I fell in love. Nothing is computerized, it’s just old-fashioned gauges and steel and casted pipes. They don’t make things like this anymore.”
At Barasch & McGarry, we’re delighted that a private citizen has decided to step up and preserve a piece of FDNY history. How many of us have said at one time or another “Never forget”? Now we’ll have one more physical reminder of FDNY service and heroism accessible to the public.