SS United States Conservancy
January 23, 2011
SSUS at sea
Vintage photograph of the SS United States at sea.

Important SS United States Conservancy Updates
  • Status of Conservancy's Exclusive Sales Option
  • Fundraising Campaign Underway 
  • New York City Happy Hour Monday, January 24
    Gorgeous SS United States Replica Key Chains for Sale
  • Conservancy's 2011 SS United States Calendar still Available! 

SSUS July 1, 2010 by Patrick Murphy

The SS United States on July 1, 2010. Photo courtesy of Patrick Murphy.

Last spring, the SS United States Conservancy signed a nine-month exclusive sales option to purchase the SS United States from NCL and Genting Hong Kong, the vessel's current owners.  This option agreement was made possible thanks to an extraordinary pledge from philanthropist Gerry Lenfest, who donated funds for the ship's purchase as well as 20 months of ship maintenance costs.  We are grateful to NCL and Genting Hong Kong for favoring our bid over competing bids from scrapyards.  Our sales option agreement expires on February 1, 2011.  We are now a little over a week away.


The Conservancy has been working very hard to lay the groundwork so that its exclusive sales option can be successfully executed.  Before the Conservancy - or any potential buyer - is permitted to purchase the SS United States, a large number of legal and regulatory requirements must be fulfilled.  The Big U, like every other vessel of her vintage, was built using some materials that are now closely regulated.  During the past year, the Conservancy has been raising additional funds and identifying the remaining elements on board the vessel that must be safely remediated in conjunction with the vessel's eventual restoration.  The good news is that many of the original materials used in the ship's construction have already been removed by the vessel's previous owners.  Her interiors are now largely a "blank slate" and offer up to 650,000 square feet of prime real estate for redevelopment.


Once title transfer is accomplished, the Conservancy will have only 20 months to raise the necessary funds to cover the ship's historic preservation and to broker a public-private partnership that will finance the ship's conversion into a dynamic mixed-used attraction. The project is complex and costly, but with your continued support, we are confident that the ship's massive red, white and blue funnels will once again shine and symbolize the nation's pride and potential.


 The generous pledge from H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest to the SS United States Conservancy has only given our national flagship a temporary stay of execution.  Once the Conservancy acquires title to the vessel, it will only have a very short window of time to raise the funds needed to "Save Our Ship" for future generations. 

Our short-term fundraising goal is $1 million.  These crucial funds will support detailed plans for a shipboard museum and partial restoration of the ship's historic power plant, national public outreach, and the expansion of our unique collection of SS United States artifacts, and historical materials.   We plan to build an SS United States museum aboard the refurbished vessel in conjunction with a public-private partnership that will redevelop the vessel as a multi-purpose stationary attraction with hospitality, retail, dining, entertainment, and educational offerings.   As a point of clarification, redevelopment costs related the ship as a for-profit enterprise (hotel, restaurants, retail, etc.) will come from private investors.  


We would like to thank everyone who has already responded to our membership drive and fundraising campaign.  Without your donations, letters to elected officials and newspaper editorial boards, Facebook and Twitter outreach, and attendance at our events around the nation, the SS United States would, quite simply, not still be with us. 


El Rio Grande Restaurant NYC

The next Happy Hour and meeting of the SS United States Conservancy's New York Chapter will be held on Monday evening, January 24th.  We apologize for the short notice - we hope that those of you in the tri-state area may be able to adjust your plans at the last minute and come out and show your support!

Message from Paul Stipkovich, New York Chapter Chair:  "As you all know... the clock has been ticking. At this time it is critical that, as a group, we all pull together and show Mr. Lenfest, the Conservancy and any other U.S. port city just how serious the New York Chapter is in its commitment to the SS United States and its future.   If there has ever been a time to "take the ball and run with it" it would be now.  I trust each and everyone one of us will attend this Happy Hour knowing how critical it is that we continue raising money and awareness to support the Big U.  SAVE OUR SHIP!"



El Rio Grande

160 East 38th Street (corner of 3rd Avenue)

New York, NY 10016



January 24th, 5:30pm to 8:30pm



$25. prix fixe per person. This will include a private room, beer, wine, margaritas and Tex-Mex appetizers. The management of El Rio Grande (a famous Midtown institution) is offering its facilities at significantly reduced rate. Anything outside of the pre-set menu above is available at one's own cost.


Please RSVP to Paul Stipkovich ASAP.   



SSUS Key Tag 
These 3.25 x 1.125 x 0.125" anodized aluminum key tags are made in the USA and are exact reproductions of the key tags used on stateroom keys aboard the SS

United States. Included in each package is a reproduction key tag with both the SS United States Conservancy logo and a stateroom number on the back, and an informational card about your stateroom. Higher level packages include more goodies as well. All proceeds from these sales go to the SS United States Conservancy. Special thanks to Mario Alvarez-Garcill´┐Żn for conceptualizing these gorgeous keepsakes and for overseeing their production.


Tourist Class Package - $15.00

The Tourist Class Package includes a key tag to Tourist Class stateroom D38, as well as an information card about your stateroom and Tourist Class amenities.


Cabin Class Package - $18.00

The Cabin Class Package includes a key tag to Cabin Class stateroom M136, an information card about your stateroom and Cabin Class amenities, and a collectible 5x7" SS United States postcard.


First Class Package - $21.00

The First Class Package includes a key tag to Cabin Class stateroom M91, an information card about your stateroom and First Class amenities, and two collectible 5x7" SS United States postcards.


"Duck Suite" Package - $24.00

The First Class "Duck Suite" Package includes a key tag to First Class suite U89, more commonly known as the "Duck Suite" for the paint and gold leaf murals of water birds adorning its walls. These were the accommodations of choice for many of the ship's most famous passengers, most notably the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The package also includes an information card about the suite and First Class amenities, an attractive black cardboard padded jewelry box and bow for the key tag, and two collectible 5x7" SS United States postcards.


Available exclusively through Gregory Shutters "Don't Give Up the Shirt" website.



Order now while supplies last! The SS United States Conservancy's 2011 calendars are 14 x 10.875", printed in full, brilliant color on high quality glossy paper, and are twin-loop bound to ensure that they will lie flat when hung on a wall.  Designed by the talented Gregory Shutters, whose ongoing "Don't Give Up the Shirt" website sells gorgeous tee shirts, posters, stickers and more, the new calendar's theme is "Ship of the Stars" and features gorgeous color images of the ship then and now while highlighting the many celebrities, politicians, and other notables who sailed aboard her.  Important dates throughout her career are also highlighted.  All calendar proceeds will support the SS United States Conservancy's efforts to save America's flagship.

SSUS Plank Owner Logo

The Conservancy's national campaign titled "Save Our Ship" (SOS) offers a customized "Plank Owner" certificate for tax-deductible donations of at least $25 via its DONOR WEBSITE.  

Please click on the link above and give as generously as you can.  If every American contributes even a modest amount, the SS United States could be saved, but we are in urgent need of your help!  Your continued support is what fuels our determination to save the SS United States!

For the latest news about the SS United States,
visit our Save Our Ship blog

SSUS Plank Owner Logo

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SS United States Conservancy
P.O. Box 32115
Washington, DC 20007
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