Author Topic: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today  (Read 1483 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Michael Gallagher

QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« on: Oct 16, 2018, 06:47 AM »
When Queen Elizabeth left New York for the final time on Wednesday 30 October 1968 who would have thought that 40 years later – in October 2008 – another Cunard Queen would be coming to the end of her sea life and ending her association with New York as QE2 did on 16 October 2008.

QE2’s first call on Wednesday 7 May 1969 at her second home (perhaps Americans would say it was her first home!) was the last proper and triumphant maiden arrival made by an ocean liner.

For weeks before her American debut New York was ready to welcome QE2 – “Welcome the Queen” signs were in many Fifth Avenue shop windows alongside photographs of the ship. And on the morning just before her arrival American newspaper front pages were filled with aerial images of QE2 taken hundreds of miles out in the Atlantic and broadcasters proclaimed her arrival would be “fit for a Queen”.

Four days, 16 hours and 35 minutes after leaving Le Havre QE2 arrived at Ambrose Light and thousands turned out to welcome the new Queen in New York on 7 May. Mayor John Lindsay boarded the ship from a coastguard cutter outside the Verrazano Bridge along with other civic dignitaries and press for the last leg of her journey and he honoured Cunard by officially proclaiming it ‘QE2 Day’ in New York. It certainly was a tremendous welcome.

Hundreds of small craft including a Chinese junk escorted her to her berth at Pier 92 and helicopters jockeying for space with light aircraft buzzed around her. Ship whistles made a chorus and geysers of water cascaded up from a flotilla of tugs and fire boats. Two RAF Harrier jump jets raised a cheer from British passengers as they screamed in at high speed and then hovered on either side to escort QE2 towards the Statue of Liberty. QE2 made a leisurely entrance two miles up the Hudson north of her pier at west 52nd Street before turning round in mid-river and berthing alongside just after 1500 hours.

During a short ceremony in the Queens Room Mayor Lindsay was presented with a gold medallion by Cunard Chairman Sir Basil Smallpeice to commemorate the ship’s first arrival in the city.

The gold medal, inscribed on one side with an outline of QE2, had caused a little bother, both with the Bank of England and the United States Treasury Department. The first difficulty had been in getting permission from the Bank of England to take gold out of the country. Then Washington had to give permission for the medal to be imported into the United States without being put into Fort Knox along with America’s gold reserves. The letter authorizing the importation was not issued until Mayor Lindsay promised to sign a declaration that he would not melt the medal down for its gold content!

Mayor Lindsay, who claimed “the new Queen is a pride of New York as it is of Britain”, presented Sir Basil with a glass seahorse. Of the arrival welcome, Captain Warwick would later write: “It was a sight and experience which I am sure many more than myself will never forget.”

QE2 remained in New York for two days where various receptions took place on board and many arrival celebration dinners were held all over New York. 1,000 supper dance guests included the Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten, who was to return with QE2 to Southampton; Mary Soames, the wife of the British Ambassador to Paris and daughter of Sir Winston Churchill; John Freeman, Britain’s Ambassador to America; Lord Caradon, the British Ambassador to the United Nations and John A Roosevelt, son of the late President of the United States. Other ambassadors included those from France, Sweden, the Soviet Union, Ghana and Morocco.

QE2 was the biggest happening in New York and, over the course of the next 39 or so years, she would call there 710 times.

As is always the case, some arrivals and departures are far more memorable than others but perhaps the most poignant arrival occurred on Monday 7 January 2002 when  QE2 was the first passenger ship allowed back in New York after the 911 atrocities the previous September. While proceeding up the Hudson QE2 paused opposite Ground Zero and sounded her whistle before Social Hostess Maureen Ryan threw a wreath into the River. It not only signalled that QE2 was back in New York but it was a tribute to what had happened and a sign that routine was returning. In happier times she played a key role in the Statue of Liberty’s 100th birthday celebrations in 1986 and she departed from New York on her 1,000th Voyage in 1995.

On Thursday 16 October 2008, 14,405 days after her first departure on 9 May 1969, her job was done and with nothing else to prove QE2 showed Queen Mary 2 just how to make a farewell and dignified final exit from a City that will always remember her.
« Last Edit: Oct 20, 2018, 10:40 AM by Lynda Bradford »

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #1 on: Oct 16, 2018, 06:48 AM »
Passengers embarking today will have found the following Daily Programme in their cabin and tonight's dinner menu.

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #2 on: Oct 16, 2018, 06:50 AM »
"When the curtain falls, it's time to leave the stage"

QE2 leaves New York for the final time
« Last Edit: Oct 16, 2018, 06:52 AM by Michael Gallagher »

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #3 on: Oct 16, 2018, 06:54 AM »
"Follow Me. I'll lead the way!"

QE2 shows Queen Mary 2 how to do it!

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #4 on: Oct 16, 2018, 06:55 AM »
"Goodbye"

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #5 on: Oct 16, 2018, 10:02 AM »
Loving the memories of QE2 ten years ago.  Thanks Michael for the story comparing her first visit to New York and her final sailing from the city. 

Wherever QE2 went she was welcomed and people did not want to see her depart.  She is truly the one and only!
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Clydebuilt1971

Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #6 on: Oct 16, 2018, 11:59 AM »
Thanks so much for the narrative and the photos Michael!!

The shot with file name QE2&QM2NY083 is now my desktop wallpaper :)

Gav

Offline Thomas Hypher

  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 2373
  • Total likes: 4132
  • QE2, a home from home - beautiful from all angles!
Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #7 on: Oct 16, 2018, 12:55 PM »
I seem to remember being just under QM2's funnel for the final departure and it was probably the most sombre part of the final tandem personally (short of when we came together on the final sea day to salute each other) as it brought into focus how much of an end of an era it was.

This is my Dad's video of the final departure (pretty sure I can see the helicopter that was used for the aerial photos Michael has posted above in my Dad's video at one point):


In some ways the final departure doesn't seem a decade ago and in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago given how much has changed since.
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #8 on: Oct 16, 2018, 01:48 PM »
Wow Wow and Wow again, thanks for sharing the video Thomas.  To see QE2 sailing past QM2 at such close proximity looking so sleek and elegant is just fantastic.  I could watch this again and again!
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #9 on: Oct 16, 2018, 01:50 PM »
Thanks so much for the narrative and the photos Michael!!

The shot with file name QE2&QM2NY083 is now my desktop wallpaper :)

Gav

Dito

I imagine having a different desktop wallpaper every day with the magnificent photos posted. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 10932
  • Total likes: 11671
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #10 on: Oct 16, 2018, 06:44 PM »
This is my Dad's video of the final departure (pretty sure I can see the helicopter that was used for the aerial photos Michael has posted above in my Dad's video at one point):

In some ways the final departure doesn't seem a decade ago and in other ways it feels like a lifetime ago given how much has changed since.

SUPERB video, really captures the atmosphere.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Rob Lightbody

  • Administrator
  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 10932
  • Total likes: 11671
  • Helping to Keep The Legend Alive
    • Rob Lightbody dot com
Re: Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #11 on: Oct 16, 2018, 06:45 PM »
Michael tells me that some of the photos above...

Have never been seen by anyone before today, and now they're only here.
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online cunardqueen

Re: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #12 on: Oct 16, 2018, 08:56 PM »
If you look very closely under the ships starboard bridge wing probably about 3 persons in theres a rainbow flag draping over the front of the ship...You can guess who had that.
It was actually bought to wave to others Queens on the other Queen each day around 10am , well how was l to know it would be like looking for a rowing boat on the Atlantic...But the thought was there 
« Last Edit: Oct 16, 2018, 08:58 PM by cunardqueen »
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online cunardqueen

Re: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #13 on: Oct 16, 2018, 09:13 PM »
Quote
Michael tells me that some of the photos above...

Have never been seen by anyone before today, and now they're only here.
   

If only they had been for sale in the Photographers shop, i would have bought a copy of each... :(

I would hate to think how much iv sent on the offical photos over the years, i never questioned the price, l was always irritated by those that moaned about the price onboard.
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online Barumfox

Re: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #14 on: Oct 16, 2018, 11:41 PM »
It does not seem 10 years ago and having just got off another historic and charismatic ship today - MS Lofoten in Bergen - and actually discussed QE2's last NY departure anniversary at a post disembarkation meal with other passengers tonight.

Some of the photos from the helicopter were on sale on the ship during the voyage and I got a couple signed by Captain MacNaught having queued up for hours to do so. Cunard were pretty good at this as similar photos were made available on other tandems / meetings and now take pride of place in a number of albums. 

Gary

Online Brandon Sterkel

Re: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #15 on: Oct 17, 2018, 02:41 AM »
So fascinating to see everyone's stories and photos from this historic day.

Even though I did not see this event in person, I own a commemorative shirt from that day 10 years ago.



Queen Elizabeth 2: A 50 Year Legend!

Offline Scott Ebersold

Re: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #16 on: Oct 17, 2018, 02:24 PM »
Amazing photos, Michael. And that video, Thomas, is amazing!!! Cunardqueen -- guuurrrlll, represent! It has been really wonderful to share these memories with all of you.  If only we'd known each other then!

Those disembarking in New York also got a handsome folder for all the commemorative menus, attached below. And, I also received this commemorative Wedgwood plate during one of the last turn down services.
« Last Edit: Oct 17, 2018, 06:05 PM by Scott Ebersold »

Online Michael Gallagher

Re: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #17 on: Oct 17, 2018, 02:52 PM »
Pleased to claim responsibility for the folder and the menus. I loved the old Cunard fleet poster and in 2007 for QE2's 40th wanted to somehow incorporate QE2 into it once and was delighted with what the designers came up with.

Then the strapline 'Taking her place in History' came about.

These folders were issued for the 40th anniversary cruise, the Farewell Round Britain, the two final Atlantics and the Final Voyage.

Budget restraints meant the final Atlantic menus had to be four-page rather than the eight pagers on the other three trips but I do think the Atlantic ones turned out quite smart and worthwhile doing.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #18 on: Oct 17, 2018, 03:31 PM »
The menu with folder and the plate are all a lovely memory of your farewell cruise Scott, and even more special that Michael was responsible for the design of the farewell cruises menus that detail a little of QE2's history. 

I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Scott Ebersold

Re: QE2'S Final New York Call: Ten Years Ago Today
« Reply #19 on: Oct 17, 2018, 03:40 PM »
That's so cool Michael that you are the man behind the menus and the folder! The menus were one of the highlights and helped make the occasion feel even more significant.

 

QE2s Captain Chair for sale...

Started by cunardqueenBoard Miscellaneous QE2

Replies: 1
Views: 692
Last post Sep 24, 2016, 10:45 PM
by Pete Hamill
Were QE2s propellers the most powerful in the world?

Started by Rob LightbodyBoard Technical Matters

Replies: 8
Views: 816
Last post Oct 13, 2018, 10:57 AM
by Rob Lightbody