Pete Davidson and Colin Jost’s Architect Reveals Plans for Their Staten Island Ferry Project

What do you get when you cross Pete Davidson, Colin Jost, a comedy club owner, and an architect with a Staten Island Ferry? If all goes according to plan, a floating midcentury-style hotel and event space. In January 2022, the Saturday Night Live stars made headlines when they revealed that they, along with Paul Italia, owner of Manhattan comedy club The Stand, were behind the $280,000 purchase of a decommissioned 1965-built Staten Island Ferry vessel called the John F. Kennedy.

Contrary to a few naysayers and jokes made by the comedians about the seemingly questionable decision to finance the project, Curbed reports that the pair, along with Italia, are working with Ron Castellano, the architect behind the New York City boutique hotel Nine Orchard, to transform the ferry into an entertainment destination. In an interview with Curbed, the architect revealed that the foursome have regular meetings to discuss the ferry, which is 300 feet long with 65,000 square feet of interior space. “They have input. They see everything,” Castellano said of Davidson and Jost, who both hail from Staten Island. (Jost even commuted on the vessel to high school every day.)

“It’s going to have a lot of things. I think right now, we have six bars and two venues, operated separately or combined. We have outdoor event space, we have two restaurants”— in addition to 24 hotel rooms, Castellano told the outlet. Per the designer’s website, the project has a $34 million budget.

Notably, the team plans to embrace the structure’s identity. “It’s all going to stay the same outside. We’re gonna keep what we can and just repurpose, make sure it’s nice. But it’ll be the Staten Island Ferry,” Davidson said on a June 2023 episode of Seth Meyers’s podcast, Family Trips With the Meyers Brothers.

As for the interior, design cues will be taken from when the boat was built in 1965. “It’s going to have the aesthetic of the original. It had a snack bar, beautiful bench seats. There’s baby-blue Formica and lots of pink,” Castellano told Curbed. “But when you get down to the engine room, it has that engine-room feel—which we can turn into a darker kind of place.” Color us intrigued.

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