Episode 301 : A New Hope

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Set sail on the Fast Ferry with Hear UR: Season 3 Episode 1: A New Hope. We begin our season with the origins of the Fast Ferry, a story that can be told through one man’s journey: former Mayor of Rochester Bill Johnson. Diving into his origins, we travel through time, stepping inside City Hall during his inauguration and the Port of Rochester as the Ferry plan came to fruition. We hear the voices of supporters and critics of the Ferry, and learn the history of Ferries around the Rochester area. Listen to the true Ferry Tale that has remained in the minds of Rochesterians for over a decade, and ask yourself: was Bill Johnson being conned? Were his intentions pure despite several ill-informed decisions?

Additional Information


Works Cited

“Air Canada to end service to Rochester by November.” WHAM (Rochester, NY), 12 October 2018. https://13wham.com/news/local/air-canada-to-end-service-in-rochester-by-november

Armon, Rick. “Silver, area Democrats will make a ferry trip.” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 3 July 2002. https://www.newspapers.com/image/136692907/?terms=Bill%2BJohnson%2BFast%2BFerry%2Btourism

Blackwell, Jeffree. “Mayor calls for an end to bickering over the harbor.” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 2 July 2000. https://www.newspapers.com/image/136506225/?terms=Bill%2BJohnson%2Bfast%2Bferry

“Celebrants a spectrum of the city: many are proud of Rochester’s first black mayor.” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 2 January 1994. https://www.newspapers.com/image/137532038/?terms=Bill%2BJohnson%2Binauguration

“City Council Backs Ferry Bid.” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 22 December 2004. https://www.newspapers.com/image/137150250/?terms=Fast%2BFerry%2Btimeline

Dobbin, Ben. “Black Outsider Favorite in Rochester Mayoral Race with BC-Black Mayors – Box.” AP News, 29 October 1993. https://apnews.com/f5032ea85074b0764ae7da22776308e6

“Feeding the Ferry.” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 12 August 2002. https://www.newspapers.com/image/136729346/?terms=Bill%2BJohnson%2BToronto%2BRochester%2BFast%2BFerry

“Johnson, William A., Jr.” Who’s Who Among African Americans, edited by James Craddock, 29th ed., Gale, 2014, pp. 607-608. Gale Ebooks, https://link-gale-com.ezp.lib.rochester.edu/apps/doc/CX3199609410/GVRL?u=nysl_ro_rochstru&sid=GVRL&xid=821c062a

“Monroe Crime up 1.1% in ‘92.” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 5 October 1993, https://www.newspapers.com/image/138309433/?terms=Rochester%2BNY%2Bcrime%2C%2Bschools%2C%2Bviolence

“Not Bill Johnson alone, but all of us, together.” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 2 January 1994, https://www.newspapers.com/image/137532048/?terms=Bill%2BJohnson%2Bcampaign

Santos, Fernanda. “Two Failures Do Not End Dreams of a Rochester-Toronto Ferry.” The New York Times, 26 May 2007, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/26/nyregion/26ferry.html

“Sniping and squabbling won’t fix city schools.” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 21 March 1993, https://www.newspapers.com/image/136439633/?terms=Rochester%2Bschools%2C%2Bdrop%2Bout%2Brate


This has been Hear UR, a podcast from the Department of History at the University of Rochester. The lead researcher for this episode was Margaret Brennan. This episode was produced by Eleanor Lenoe and sound engineered by Ben Horn. Our narrator for this episode was Eleanor Lenoe.

The coordinating producer for this season of Hear UR is William Gousis. The executive producers are Thomas Fleischman and Stephen Roessner. Music for this episode was provided by Podington Bear and the Tunk.  “Johnson’s Dream” was composed and played by Eleanor Lenoe. Our Theme Song, The Ferryboat Serenade, was written by Harold Adamson, Mario Panzeri and Eldo di Lazzaro and arranged by Eleanor Lenoe. It was Performed by Elizabeth Tighe, Lauren Bayles, Diarra Bell, and engineered by Ethan Weinstein. 

A big thank you to Mayor Bill Johnson for agreeing to be interviewed for this podcast.  The production team at Hear UR would also like the following people and organizations: Thank you to Michelle Finn and The Rochester Public Library for their guidance and access to newspapers and research materials.

Thank you to Colleen Law and WROC Channel 8 for access to their extensive news clips. Thanks to Melissa Mead from Rare Books and Collections at the University of Rochester for her insight into proper research methods and practices. And a special thanks to Sandra Knispel for interview advice, Sofia Tokar for social media tips, and Janelle Hart for her Graphic Design work.   

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