Journal News – March 17, 2016
by Megan McCaffrey
An FDNY boat that played a significant role in the fire department’s Sept. 11 rescue efforts will soon be a fixture in the Westchester dining scene.
The 129-foot boat was purchased at an auction earlier this month by Michael Kaphan and Edward Taylor, owners of Purdy’s Farmer and the Fish in North Salem.
Kaphan and Taylor are in the midst of construction on a second restaurant location in the Hudson Harbor waterfront development in Sleepy Hollow. The boat will be docked outside their new restaurant and open to the public. It is is slated to open in July.
Taylor, who also runs a wholesale seafood company called Down East Seafood, found the auction listing. They plan to keep the ship’s name and honor its history.
Named the McKean after fallen firefighter and marine engineer John D. McKean, the boat was built in 1954 and served the New York City Fire Department for decades. On Sept. 11, 2001, fire captain Ed Metcalf led the boat to the sea wall near the World Trade Center where the crew pulled more than 200 civilians on board. They delivered first aid and safely transported the injured to Jersey City.
“We want to keep it as a historic vessel and hope they return the plaques to us,” Kaphan said. “It’s fully operational, with fire cannons and everything.”
The second location from Farmer and the Fish (the new restaurant’s name is not yet confirmed) sits only 12 feet from the Hudson River and has a 300-foot promenade. There will be seats for 50 inside, and another 40 on the outside waterfront patio. Expect a menu similar to that of the original restaurant, with seasonal, locally grown ingredients and fresh seafood.
The McKean is currently docked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Kaphan and Taylor plan to sail it up the East River and the Hudson to its new home in Westchester next week.
Kaphan said he is still waiting on permits for both the restaurant and the new boat, but if all goes according to plan, they will open on the 4th of July.
“We want to take some people out on the boat out and fire off the water cannons.”