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Pete Davidson and Colin Jost’s $34m plans for Staten Island Ferry features hotel rooms and six bars

The ‘Saturday Night Live’ comedians purchased the Staten Island Ferry for $280,000 in January 2022

Meredith Clark
New York
Monday 25 March 2024 18:01 GMT
Related: Pete Davidson calls Staten Island Ferry purchase a ‘lifelong problem’

It seems that plans for Pete Davidson and Colin Jost’s decommissioned Staten Island Ferry are finally underway.

Back in January 2022, the Saturday Night Live comedians made headlines when they purchased the vessel for $280,000. The pair had teamed up with real estate agent and comedy club owner Paul Italia to purchase the boat, named the John F Kennedy, after it went up for auction.

Since then, it appeared that plans to turn the 277-foot-long boat into a “live entertainment event space, with comedy, music, art, et cetera” had stalled. That is, until architect Ron Castellano confirmed that renovations on the Staten Island Ferry will begin soon.

In an interview with Curbed published on 22 March, Castellano - who owns the New York City-based architecture firm Studio Castellano - revealed exactly what fans can expect from the JFK Ferry project, which has a proposed floor plan of 65,000 square feet and a $34m budget, according to the firm’s website.

“It’s going to have a lot of things,” he told the magazine. “I think right now, we have six bars and two venues operated separately or combined. We have outdoor event space, we have restaurants - two restaurants.”

The fifth floor of the vessel will include 24 hotel rooms with private sundecks, but plans for a pool are still in the works. “A pool is something that keeps coming up. We’re going back and forth,” Castellano said. “There’s little jacuzzi kind of thing, but not a full-on pool. We’d have to do a floating pool.”

People-SNL-Staten Island Ferry (AP2010)

As far as Davidson and Jost’s role in the renovations, the architect explained that the Staten Island natives “have input” on everything. “We have meetings as needed, sometimes twice a week, sometimes every three months,” he said. “Right now, I’m trying to get the design work done as fast as possible.”

According to Castellano, a major key in renovating and designing the newly improved ferry is maintaining its original, retro aesthetic from when it was built in 1965. “We’re not going to trip it out with penny tile and awful fixtures - the stuff we see now in cruise ships. We’re taking what’s originally there and repurposing it,” he explained. “It’s still a work in progress, but it’s not going to be one of those awful casino boats.”

The partners have tentative plans to sail the vessel, which has the capacity to carry more than 3,000 passengers, along the eastern coast between New York City and Miami.

The King of Staten Island actor previously joked that he and Jost were “very stoned a year ago” when they joined a group of investors to place the winning bid for the ferry. He appeared to express his regret over purchasing the boat, which currently sits at a temporary dock in Staten Island.

“Hopefully it turns into a Transformer and gets the f*** out of there so I can stop paying for it!” Davidson told Entertainment Tonight in June 2023.

However, Jost later admitted that he was in fact “stone-cold sober” when they made the financial decision. In response to Davidson’s interview, the “Weekend Update” host commented on Instagram: “Is it worse that I was actually stone-cold sober when we bought the ferry?”

“We’re excited to prove the non-believers wrong,” Jost added. “You’re going to be BEGGING to get on this ferry in two years. Mark my words.”

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