Previous Events



Theater on Columbia’s Decks

From August 18 – 21, the first large-scale cultural event to be held onboard Columbia in decades was a site-specific theater piece by the Buffalo-based Torn Space Theater in partnership with the New York City-based Temporary Distortion. This cutting-edge performance included immersive light, sound, and cinema and gave viewers a modern look at the historic Columbia.


Celebrate a Year in Buffalo

On August 19th, we unveiled a collectible series of art posters commemorating Columbia’s time in Buffalo. Buffalo artists Joel Brenden, Brian Grunert, Jon Mirro, and Julian Montague were inspired by the 114-year-old steamboat Columbia as a work of art and a technological marvel, and also by the rich history and maritime heritage of Buffalo. To view and purchase these  posters, please visit our online shop here.

A huge thanks to Lockhouse Distillery for hosting, and to Decora, a hip-hop artist, DJ, performance poet, and event curator hailing from the Hudson Valley, for providing the music.

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Buffalo Tours

From August 18th through the 21st, free tours aboard Columbia were offered to the public. Each 45 minute tour offered a walk around the main deck and a view of the historic ballroom. SS Columbia Project crew members also spoke about the recent hull repairs and the long-term plans for the vessel to the 100 people that attended.

 


Summer Evening on the Fireboat John J Harvey


On Wednesday, July 20th, Fireboat John J. Harvey hosted SS Columbia Project’s board, advisors, and donors for a perfect summer evening on the Hudson River. The fireboat was at capacity with 100 people onboard. Just imagine the number of people who will be able to experience what it is like to be on the water when Columbia is back in service!

Thanks to our Buffalo friends Community Beer Works for providing the beer and Leonard Oakes Estate Winery for providing the wine and cider! A special thanks to Stefanos Metaxas for photographing the adventure, and to advisory board member Huntley Gill for making the trip possible.



Inaugural Steamboat Speaker Series Event Featuring John Pollack


On Tuesday April 26th, The J.M. Kaplan Fund hosted our inaugural Steamboat Speaker Series event featuring John Pollack, author of Cork Boat and expert on making seemingly unlikely vessels float.Click here to see more photos of the event taken by Stefanos Metaxas.

John captivated guests with his inspiring story about fulfilling his life-long dream: to build and sail a boat made from wine corks. John faced a range of obstacles from a lack of corks (ultimately needing 165,321) to strict deadlines to transportation troubles to raging rapids. He faced each challenge with creativity and determination — and, in the end, it was the community of friends, family, volunteers, and hundreds of supporters that made his adventure and sail down the Douro River Possible.

Just like John’s Cork Boat, restoring Columbia and preparing her for a new life on the Hudson River is a team effort. We could not have gotten this far, and we cannot continue, without your support.



Landmarks50 Luncheon


On March 9, 2016, we presented the SS Columbia Project to an impressive group of preservationists and civic leaders at the Landmarks50 luncheon at the Public Theater.


Lecture at Roosevelt Island's New York Public Library Branch


Executive Director, Liz McEnaney, presented a lecture entitled The SS Columbia and the Return of the Hudson River Day Liner at Roosevelt Island’s New York Public Library Branch in conjunction with the Roosevelt Island Historical Society on March 8, 2016. In this presentation, Ms. McEnaney shared the history of 114-year-old Columbia, its National Historic Landmark status, and plans for its revitalization.


Presentation at PechaKucha Night in Brooklyn


On March 4, 2016, Executive Director Liz McEnaney presented the story of Columbia in the form of twenty slides at PechaKucha Volume 8. With only twenty seconds of speaking allotted per slide, this was a great crash-course in Columbia’s past, present and future!


Happy Hour at Jimmy's No. 43


Jimmy’s No. 43 hosted a happy hour for all Neighborhood Preservation Center office groups on Friday, February 26th. SS Columbia Project Executive Director, Liz McEnaney, kicked off the event with a presentation about the current and future state of the Columbia.


SS Columbia Ballroom Series


The Ballroom Series was launched in December 2015 with the goal of raising $50,000 to restore Columbia’s ballroom through a series of monthly dinners, receptions and other events. Designed by the architect Frank Kirby, Columbia was the first steamboat in the United States with a proper open-air ballroom, with innovative archways, and etched and leaded stained glass.

A huge thanks for our Ballroom Series hosts: Ian Danic, Joan K. Davidson, Sarah Davidson, Otis and Nancy Pearsall, Carmela Rea and Geoffrey Lynch, and Jon Varnedoe. If you would like to attend or host an event, please contact us at contact@sscolumbia.org.



Snapshots of Columbia at the JM Kaplan Fund


Many thanks to all who joined us at the JM Kaplan Fund on December 14th for a photography exhibition celebrating Columbia’s arrival in the Empire State. This event could not have happened without the talented photographers who donated their time and work to support the SS Columbia Project, including Gene Witkowski and Catherine Gavin, and John Grover. We would like to give a special thanks to our Honorary Trustee Joan Davidson and the JM Kaplan Fund for hosting us on Monday night, and also to our friends at the Johnson Estate Winery who generously donated a curated selection of wines.



Fall 2015 Fundraiser


Many thanks to those of us who joined us on Sunday, November 1st, 2015 aboard the yacht Manhattan and experienced the Hudson River the way it was meant to be seen … via boat! A special thanks again to our advisory board member Rick Scarano and his wonderful crew at Classic Harbor Lines for making this journey possible and to the Hudson River Foundation for co-hosting the voyage.



A People's History of the SS Columbia Short Film


You were on the Columbia. That’s where you wanted to be — meeting the love of your life, seeing the stars and the water, hearing the sound of the feet on the dance floor, throwing your hands up as the band played ‘Shout’, having a good time. Columbia brought people together from different backgrounds – and the memories that were made will stay with them forever.

As we imagine Columbia’s next century of service, we listen to the stories of her past life serving the Detroit region. Here, Detroiters (and a Canadian) share their memories of the boat – histories that will ultimately become part of the onboard exhibition and will travel with Columbia as she journeys to the Hudson River.



A special thanks to oral historian and preservationist Emilie Evans and filmmaker Matt Reznik of Mindfield for putting so much thought and energy into this project.


Cartographic History


We recently partnered with Google and the Hudson River Foundation to “street map “ the Hudson River. New Yorker reporter Andrew Marantz wrote: “The maritime nerds on the John H. Harvey were affiliated with two nonprofit groups – the Hudson River Foundation and the S.S. Columbia Project – that aim to get New Yorkers thinking about the river in new ways.” (Click here for Andrew’s article, “I Was A Google Mapper”) For online adventurers, the Hudson River special collection will be added to Google Maps later this summer. Stay tuned for more information.


3D Virtual Tour of Columbia


Our friends at the Detroit Free Press created an incredible 3D virtual tour of the Columbia. Click here to see the tour. Here’s what you’ll see in the tour: “The SS Columbia is big – nearly 216 feet long and 60 feet wide at its greatest width. Because of the size, we’ve broken up the scans of the boat into 6 virtual tours. In the tours you can control where you go, and which direction you look. You have nearly 1,500 spots to stand and look in 360 degrees – so duck into rooms, walk up the stairs, or float along the dance floor. Along the way you might see some portraits of people who’ve worked on the boat or visited the vessel, such as the Coast Guard inspection team while on a recent test of the boat for water tightness. You might even get a glimpse some Free Press staffers documenting the boat.” A special thanks to Nancy Andrews for spearheading this initiative.


Bon Voyage, Columbia!


We are inviting fans of the Boblo Boats to come bid farewell to Columbia as she begins her journey to New York State. The boat is departing Ironhead Shipyard in Toledo in late August 2015 and will travel 235 miles across Lake Erie to her temporary berth in Buffalo, New York.

On August 13, 2015 from 3-6pm we will offer twenty-minute tours of the vessel to twenty guests at a time. Due to the deteriorated condition of the upper decks, the tours are limited to a walk around the main deck and a view of the ballroom. SS Columbia crew will talk about the recent hull repairs and the long-term plans for the vessel.

Please click here to make your reservations today! Reservations are required and names will be checked upon entry to the shipyard.

The press will be invited onboard on August 13, 2015 from 10-11:30am. All press inquires should be directed to contact@sscolumbia.org.