Eighty-four years ago, on June 29, 1927, the Ile de France sailed into New York Harbor on her maiden voyage. Famous for being the most beautiful ocean liner of the day, the Art Deco inspired ship had a dining room that was decorated in marble and gold and featured a chrome fountain in the center. George Wharton Edwards, an American artist, told the New York Times: “It is so far out of the ordinary and its general beauty is so colossal that it baffles one.” Vincent Astor told the reporter that it was simply “the steadiest steamship he had ever traveled upon.”
They don’t make ’em like that anymore. But the port along the Hudson River is thriving again, and if you close your eyes at around 4:30 pm on an afternoon when one of the Carnival Cruise Ships is heading south toward the harbor, you can almost picture it: the grand and stately Ile de France, pulling into Pier 57 with a band on board on guns booming in welcome.