Volume 16 • Issue 49 | April 30 - May 6, 2004

New Yorkers wish two Queens a bon voyage

Downtown Express photos by Robert Stolarik

Queen Mary 2 paused by the Statue of Liberty for fireworks Sunday before its return across the Hudson.

New York bade a sparkling farewell to the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2 on Sunday night with a fireworks display by the Statue of Liberty.

The 151,400-ton Queen Mary 2 had just completed her maiden voyage to New York. Crowds lining the shore in Battery Park gasped and then burst into applause when they first saw the $800-million luxury liner make her stately way into the harbor.

Queen Mary 2 pulled close to Lady Liberty.

The glittering, 20-story, 1,132-foot long Q.M.2 impressed spectators of all ages.

“I thought part of it was a skyscraper,” said Sanne van der Veen, 8, of Brooklyn, who was perched on top of a bench with her sister Wynne, 9, and a cousin, Guillaume Bettig, 12, also of Brooklyn.

“It’s just magnificent,” said Margaret Driscoll, 56, a tourist from Philadelphia.

Fireworks erupted around 9 p.m. after the Queen Elizabeth 2 joined her younger sister in the harbor. Two classy ladies will sail back to Southampton, England together, marking the first time that two Cunard Line ships make a tandem trans-Atlantic crossing. The Queen Elizabeth 2 first set sail in 1969.

The sea-faring sisters accepted a flood of admirers over the weekend from their berths at Piers 92 and 90. Their namesakes Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were last berthed in New York together in March 1940.

Spectators sensed the significance of the spectacle.

“This is a bit of history we’ve got here,” said Suzanna Bettini of the Upper West Side.

The two ocean-liners said good-bye with a few toots of their horns on their way out to the Atlantic.

—Elizabeth O’Brien


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