It’s Time to Sink the SS United States

Plus, loathsome Dave Portnoy bets $200,000 on the Phillies.

The SS United States in South Philadelphia has been evicted

The SS United States in South Philadelphia (photo via Don Robson/Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

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It’s Time to Sink the SS United States

I can’t believe that it’s 2024 and we’re still talking about the SS United States. You know the SS United States. It’s that hulking, decrepit-looking ship you see every time you park at the Ikea in South Philadelphia. We’ve been talking about the SS United States for so long that I can’t remember a time when we didn’t talk about it.

The ship was once a big deal. It was built at the beginning of the 1950s. And it’s said to be the fastest ship of its kind to cross the Atlantic. Cool. Great. But then the company that owned the SS United States ran into some major financial difficulties and, well, the big ship got dumped here in the mid-’90s.

And ever since then, people have been trying to figure out what the hell to do with it. I recall the plan to make it part of a hotel and entertainment complex. That never happened. Then there was the company that said it was going to restore the SS United States to its former glory and sail the ocean blue as a passenger ship once again. That didn’t happen either. Other proposals evade my memory. After all, it’s been decades of failed ideas and pipe dreams.

Now here it is 2024, and the SS United States is making headlines again. After a rent dispute between the conservancy that purchased the vessel in 2011 and the landlord of the berth where the ship sits, a federal judge has ruled that the conservancy doesn’t owe the landlord money but has ordered the ship to leave the pier by September. And now, the conservancy is trying to raise $500,000 to move the ship. Even though there’s no clear plan for what to eventually do with the ship. And even if there was a clear plan, we’d have absolutely no reason to believe that the plan would be feasible, given the failure of every single plan in the past.

I say sink the ship. Or scrap it. Both of these are viable options for a ship in this predicament. And appropriate ones in this case.

This wasn’t a warship. It was just a commercial ocean liner that happened to be fast. We as Philadelphians certainly owe it nothing. The ship has literally nothing to do with Philadelphia. It wasn’t built here. It doesn’t have some prestigious history of sailing out of here. Philadelphia has simply been stuck with the ship since the 1990s. And Philadelphia is exactly where it has been left to rust and rot ever since.

So bon voyage, SS United States. Don’t let the door hit you in the, uh, aft.

Ed. Note: This story has been updated to make clear the nature of the judge’s ruling in the case.

Dave Portnoy’s Big Phillies Bet

Loathsome Barstool Sports owner Dave Portnoy just bet $200,000 that the Phillies will win the World Series. If he wins, his payout would be $1.4 million. Maybe the SS United States conservancy should give him a call. (Please don’t.)

By the Numbers

764: Average square footage of a new apartment in Philly these days, according to a new report. Think that’s small? Just be glad you don’t live in Seattle. Not only is the weather as gloomy as can be, but the average size of a new apartment in Seattle is just 661 square feet.

$0: What officials say it cost taxpayers to fix the embarrassing misspelling on the new I-95 sign in Philadelphia. ICYMI, the sign went viral after folks realized that it read “Cenrtal Phila” instead of “Central Phila.” The contractor who made the error covered the cost of the fix.

70.5 degrees: Temperature of the ocean water in Atlantic City as of Tuesday morning. That’s the first time this season that the ocean water hit the 70 degree mark. One week ago, the water was 67 degrees. With temperatures in Philly expected to hit 94 degrees on Wednesday, might be time to go for a dip.

Local Talent

Still riding the Kelce train? Get to Sea Isle City this week for the annual Jason Kelce Beach Bash, benefiting the Eagles Autism Foundation. Not your thing? Don’t worry. There are plenty of other things to do this week. Check out our full guide here.

Oh, and speaking of The Family Kelce, Travis Kelce just weighed in on Andrée Goldberg, Kylie Kelce’s beach bully. You can read what Travis had to say about the mini-scandal here.