The Story of New York's First Commuter
The article by Sam Roberts is a thorough and excellent examination of how significant moments in history can have large influence on the day-to-day lives of millions. A few highlights from the article, to provide an overview, with a lot more detail available in the full article:
- "This much is known about the maiden voyage of the Nassau: The twin-hulled boat carried 549 passengers, one wagon and three horses. It was captained by Peter Coffee, who would remain with the company that operated the vessel for 50 years."
- "What is unknown is the name of the first passenger — the man (and chances are it was a man) who on May 10, 1814, boarded the Nassau, the first regularly scheduled steam-powered ferry from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Whoever he was, he can justly be called America’s first commuter."
- "In 1814, when 'The Star-Spangled Banner' was written and the steam locomotive was introduced, Brooklyn was still a town. It was incorporated as a village, population 2,000, two years later, and officially became a city in 1834."
- "Today, two centuries after the first ferry left Brooklyn, New Yorkers have not stopped complaining. More than ever, though, they are commuting — and, lately, more and more by ferry."