I'll be traveling on the Cross Sound Ferry today from Connecticut to Orient Point and every time I do that I remember the early years of that ferry service. At least they were my early years - not sure about theirs.
Back in the late 1970s we made regular trips to Massacusetts to visit family there. We had a little girl in 1975 and had little money to spare so in the beginning to drove around because it was cheaper. But then the gas crisis hit and suddenly it was cheaper to take the ferry than it was to use up so much gasoline, so we began doing it. It was so much more convenient not to have to make that drive through Westchester and Connecticut and we loved that, but the accommodations were less than idea.
There were three boats in the fleet then: two small ones and one old mine sweeper from WWII. The small boats were so small you had to back off of them when you arrived and there was only one small cabin without enough seats if the weather was bad and you couldn't sit outside. Not terribly convenient with a two-year-old in tow. The old mine sweeper was the preferred boat but by today's standards that was pretty small as well. At least it had adequate seating inside.
The terminal was not much better. There was a tiny little shack of a terminal on both shores, with one small bathroom. I'll never forget having to use it so badly when I was eight months pregnant with my second baby that I had no choice but to enter the horrible little thing. It smelled badly and didn't seem all that clean but I had no choice. Imagine my chagrin when I flushed the toilet and, though no fault of mine, began to overflow-right across the small floor and out into the area where the attendant sat. It was a horror story for sure.
So today, with the lovely terminals full of public rest rooms and the huge boat that will bring me back to Long Island, I will simply sit back and enjoy the trip. Sometimes progress is a very good thing.