So what do we think will happen to her really

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James Doyle

Member
So after hearing the latest bit of good news, IF (and I do understand this is a BIG IF) enough funds are allocated for her to be preserved, what do you all think would be the most viable option? Floating hotel? Retail center? A return to service? Take your pick and discuss why!

I for one would love to see her as a permanent attraction tied up along the Hudson in New York, where she belongs, freshly painted, looking just as she did on her maiden voyage. One can dream, right?
 
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Jim Kalafus

Member
A lot will depend on if the mixed-use Rotterdam succeeds. So far, things seem to be going well with that venture and, long term, it might serve to negate the 35-year-long bad impression the Queen Mary has made: virtually every time you mention adaptive reuse for a liner, opponents rightfully point at the fiasco out in Long Beach and say IT WILL NEVER WORK. Maybe it can work.

Since nothing remains of the United States' interiors, the best bet for long term success would probably be as a ship-themed hotel and conference center, a la Rotterdam. One large bedroom, with portholes, occupying the site of three original cabins would be suitably shiplike for tourists. Not satisfying for history buffs, of course, but far more likely to generate money.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
Realistically, a return to service isn't going to happen. Not that it couldn't as a purely technical matter, but the devil is always in the details. For starters, the main propulsion plant would have to be completely replaced and that would only serve to destroy a vital part of what makes the ship important from a historical perspective.

Once the uneconomical steam plant had been replaced...very likely with diesels...then every single part of the ship would have to be refitted with passenger accomadations, all the required support facilities, and then she would have to be brought up to current SOLAS standards.

I don't see this group being able to lay their hands on the kind of money that's going to be needed to make it happen. What I do see is an ongoing restoration effort that's going to have to be done piecemeal. It'll be a long time coming and an ongoing work in progress but for a preservationist group, far more practical.

The trick is going to be to avoid the comedy of errors which has bedeviled the Queen Mary for the past 42 years. The Rotterdam could very well serve as a model of how to do it right.
 
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James Doyle

Member
Did they retain the original public rooms and decor on the Rotterdam? I'd be curious to see if they would re-build some of United States' original public rooms with updated decor or recreate 1950's chique. What's old is always new again...sometimes!
 
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Jim Kalafus

Member
Rotterdam. Original public rooms retained. The cabins were mostly torn out, and rebuilt as much larger rooms, in atyle sympathetic to the original.
 
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Leo Farnsworth

Member
There is no trick to avoiding the comedy of errors that has been the fate of the Queen Mary for four decades.

Queen Mary's problems began the moment she arrived in Long Beach. Suddenly they were met with a huge ocean liner and no idea of what to do with her. "Oh my, what are we going to do now?"

Greed stepped up to the helm and has had her hands on the wheel ever since.

Remove that factor, replace it with a clear plan for the future for the SS United States, and things should fall in line much like they have for the Rotterdam. It wasn't smooth sailing for Rotterdam, but they had a plan plotted for her and kept to it.

Queen Mary had no plan, and that opened the way for opportunistic operators. When Long Beach realized they had no interest in being in control of an ocean liner, they willingly turned their back and let whomever do whatever in the name of a quick buck. That included gutting much of her and letting much of what wasn't gutted fall into a state of dilapidation, as the fact that she was an ocean liner was in the way of the dollar signs dancing in the vision of operators who couldn't care less, and an owner entity who couldn't be bothered to pay attention to what was happening to their property.

Those now in charge of the SS United States are preservationists/historians/enthusiasts, not developers/attention seekers who see the ship as a pawn in their get-rich-quick schemes ala Queen Mary. "Save the United States" is their mantra, not "Exploit the United States".
 
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Jim Kalafus

Member
>Queen Mary's problems began the moment she arrived in Long Beach.

A point well driven home to potential salvors of the United Sates is LOCATION IS KEY.

If you were going to pick a WORSE location for the Queen Mary than Long Beach, you'd really have to do your research. It is far removed from the other tourist attractions of Los Angeles; the drive out is tedious, and once you are there, you are in a place that has nothing going for it other than the Queen Mary. You dont spontaneously drop in to see her...it requires preplanning, and if you are like most tourists you want to 'multitask' your attractions. When you eye other potentially fun things to combine your QM visit with, you come to realize that Watts, Compton and South Central are by far the most interesting things you can piggyback on to your drive out or back.

She's not a strong enough attraction to overcome the WASTE OF A DAY argument.

Moored in San Francisco, where she would be in the heart of the tourist stroll, she'd pick up a substantial number of impulse tourists. she's kind of stranded in her present location.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>the drive out is tedious...<<

There's an understatement for you. I've seen the ship numerous times from the I-405 but I was too busy trying to avoid getting creamed by some of the local drivers to concern myself with a detour.
 
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James Carey

Member
SSUS can't be compared to Rotterdam or QM.

She is just an outside hulk with a name on her.

No interiors, no running powerplant and still filled with PCB's that have to be removed.
 
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Jim Kalafus

Member
An academic restoration of the United States' interiors, rather than a broad interpretation of what they once were, will present problems of its own.

In the context of her day, the interiors were quite remarkable. The queens Mary and Elizabeth had interiors designed around a conservative color scheme based on fluids your body produces while ill, while the Liberte inherited a big chunk of salvaged Normandie material- suitably garish and unfashionable- and subsequently looked like a fairly tacky brothel, and the Ile de France, as rebuilt, was just plain bizarre.
All were at least 20 years behind the times, stylistically.

Italia DID have a few liners on the South American run with airy, high-style interiors, but when the United States made her debut, the North Atlantic was still a fairly grim place to travel.

The impression that the United States made THEN, of brightness, newness, and lack of bordello-clutter, was quite striking. However, to current eyes, not used to enclosed-feeling ships with entire rooms furnished in shades of vomit, the impression will likely be one of an underfurnished formerly-deluxe motel in a part of town that the interstate bypassed.

So, should the interiors be literally reconstructed and cause people to think "It looks like a bad motel" or should they be interpretively rebuilt, with the trick lighting, bold colors, and very of-its-era artwork of the Italia ships? Or the cool, but in its own way lavish, elegance of the Scandinavian ships of the 1950s and 60s? Either way, it will be more crowd pleasing.... but academically dishonest.
 
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Jim Kalafus

Member
In favor of literal reconstruction, is the fact that the United States' original interiors were designed to be entirely removed in a day or two, should troopship work be required. Except for the glass panels in the ballroom and the Navajo inspired artwork in the cocktail bar, there was very little on board that could not be replicated on the cheap.
 
John Clifford

John Clifford

Member
quote:

I've seen the ship numerous times from the I-405...

Actually, Michael, the best area to see the Queen Mary is when you are heading south to the 710 (Long Beach) Freeway, from Terminal Island.
It's a great view when coming off the Gerald Desmond Bridge.
However, I also have to agree about the crazy/idiot ("sometimes stronger adjective term used") local drivers.

Sadly, the ship is near to, but still a slight drive, from the areas near Ocean Avenue.

Even the Pike Marketplace area is good for a view of the ship, but looking out to the Harbor, not close by.

While a park area, a restaurant/banquet facility, and a hotel are close to the ship, it is true that Queen Mary's area is primarily for ship container operations and the Carnival Cruise port.

For the SS United States, it needs to be placed in a viable tourist-oriented area, like is the case with the USS Intrepid, in New York.​
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>Actually, Michael, the best area to see the Queen Mary is when you are heading south to the 710 (Long Beach) Freeway, from Terminal Island. <<

Oh I beleive it. The view I got from the Suicide Memorial Parkway I-405 was far from the greatest but she was still the most prominant object in the local "skyline."

I just never had the guts to do anything beyond try to get away from there as quickly as possible. The drive was horrendous...especially during rush hour...and the locals really were out to get you.
 
S

Sean Hankins

Member
"SSUS can't be compared to Rotterdam or QM."

She can.

The Rotterdam had much of her interior stripped out to the bare metal for restoration, then replaced.

The Queen Mary came to Long Beach as a fully operational liner. Once she became a toy for the city with the deep pockets full of tidelands oil funds to play with, while still trying to figure out what to do with her, they decided to spend hundreds of millions tearing out the lower five decks.

The SS United States had her interior fittings removed but unlike the QM is still structurally intact. If restoration is going to happen, its a question of how she'll be refitted as a shoreside attraction.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>The Rotterdam had much of her interior stripped out to the bare metal for restoration, then replaced.<<

I think the point to be mindful of in this instance is that the Rotterdam at least had her fittings which were there and available for refitting or replacement. The SSUS doesn't.

If I recall correctly, at lot of her fittings were made of asbestos or asbestos based synthetics. Restoring that simply isn't an option though the preservationists could try something else.
 
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