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The Pavonia Ferry was a ferry service which conveyed passengers between New York City and Jersey City. It was launched in 1854. It was sold to the Pavonia Ferry Company of Jersey City for what was considered a low price of $9,050, at New York City Hall, in February 1854.
In February 1859 Nathaniel Marsh of the Erie Railroad Company purchased the lease on behalf of the Pavonia Ferry Company. He started a ferry which ran from Chambers Street (Manhattan) to the foot of Pavonia Avenue on the other side of the Hudson River. Legal problems had prevented the Pavonia Ferry Company from establishing a ferry along this route. The New York and Erie Railroad paid an annual rent of $9,050 to transport passengers back and forth. Eventually the railroad constructed its Pavonia Terminal on the landfilled Harsimus Cove. Suburban and long distance travellers would transfer from trains to boats for the passage across the river.
A January 18, 1903 letter from a Passaic, New Jersey reader to The New York Times, commented about the inadequacy of the boats of the Pavonia Ferry, which was then the property of the Erie Railroad. "All their boats are old, small and entirely inadequate to accommodate the crowds during rush hours." The vessels then in use by the Erie Railroad, listed with first year of service, were: Pavonia (1861), Susquehanna (1865), Delaware (1868), Chatauqua (1868), Passaic (1869), Ridgewood (1873), Paterson (1886), and J.G. McCullough (1891).