This week BillyBey Ferry began operating the Goldman Sachs (GS) catamarans for public use. Though the famed "Goldman Sachs boat" will never live up to the expectations in your head (a Mad Men-era open bar made of cherry wood with Tiffany shades covering the wall sconces), it is still a serious upgrade from the average ferry that docks at the World Financial Center.
Goldman Sachs had previously kept the boats at the pier to improve the commuting experience for Goldman Sachs employees traveling to its Jersey City offices, but they were left sitting at the docks, unused, since spring of last year. According to the New York Times, Goldman Sachs representatives won't say why it took so long for the boat to begin service.
Since the boat sits at a public pier, it must be made available for public use. Your average Joe or Jane can now buy a $6 ticket for a roughly 10-minute one-way trip from the World Financial Center dock in Lower Manhattan to Paulus Hook, New Jersey. Another Goldman boat runs from Pier 11's Wall Street location to New Jersey. If you were to take a bus and train to make the same trip, it might take you 40 minutes, and that's an optimistic estimate.
The inside of the Goldman boat is decorated with dark faux-wood paneling and spot lighting. Bar stool style seats made of black leather and stainless steel are located near the windows, allowing you to gaze outside and watch the waves as they crash against the boat. There are also comfortable green and navy blue striped seats. Unlike the average ferry, the life jackets are not visible or easily accessible. Instead they are stored inside the seats where a sign alerts you "Life Jackets Under Seat." I tried to tug at the seat in an attempt to access the life jacket, but I didn't have any luck. If you're worried about boating accidents on the Hudson River, I suggest taking the regular ferry.
For a point of comparison, I decided to take a look inside what might now be considered the blue collar ferry. I couldn't even see outside; the windows were fogged up. The seat upholstery was decorated with a 1990s-style print. The legs of the chairs were covered with rust.
Even though the Goldman boat is a "public" vessel, the passengers appeared more dapper than those waiting for the other ferries. A man wearing designer glasses and a coal gray suit, pocket square included, entered the boat with several other men and women dressed for success. I didn't spy anyone wearing sneakers or Ugg boots; it was strictly a heels and black leather shoes crowd.
Most of the passengers remained quiet, staring at their phones, except two men, who began discussing upgrading to new software at work, until they turned to office politics.
"There's no drama and there's no comedy with these guys. I mean, who are these guys? It's not like it used to be." Moments later, one of the men said, "Yeah, he was talking about it. He stopped by... Yeah, she's talking to Human Resources. You cannot sexually harass Maureen," one of the men said, laughing.
Welcome to the Goldman Sachs boat. Put your feet up and enjoy the view.