On Friday April 8, 2016 we lost our dear friend Gino Ferrari. Gino was an icon in the New York maritime industry and a person who both maintained the highest standards and at the same time always looked for ways to make life just a little better and a little more fun for everybody in the industry.
I first met Gino in 1988. My father, Henk, had an invite to the Jacksonville Shipyard tanker party at the Four Seasons. This was a very well known Christmas season reception that was eagerly attended by senior shipping personnel. At the last moment, Henk got called out on a job and he told me to attend in his stead. I had only been working for a few months at Martin & Ottaway, but Gino received the message, and right away introduced me to a number of big tanker executives when I arrived. At that time, most names meant little to me, but over the years I got to know many quite well.
However, more importantly, I got to know Gino quite well, and when you knew Gino you did not have to know everybody, because he did, and was always eager to make introductions for you.
Over the years everybody at the office always enjoyed Gino’s company and generosity. For many years Gino had a great office at one of the top floors at 21 West Street. The office had a roof top patio and a barbeque. Gino told us young bucks at M&O (who, now almost 30 years later, are the four partners) that, any time we wanted, we could bring up our burgers or sandwiches and enjoy the fresh air. Every now and then, when the weather was nice, we would find some food somewhere and take the elevator to his office. Often Gino was not there, but we’d make ourselves comfortable on the deck and enjoyed the view, the fresh air and our food and sat there talking about the good things in being part of the maritime industry.
Meanwhile, the Four Seasons Tanker party never left my mind. After the party, I had come home late to my wife and young family. Anne asked how it went, and I told her that I liked the Four Seasons best of all restaurants I had ever been to. I promised her I would take her to the Four Seasons some time. Life is busy, and such promises made are not always carried out. However, just a very few years ago, Anne and I were in New York City and I had the chance to take her to the Four Seasons. We had an absolutely beautiful and leisurely lunch, and, so many years later, I still think that nothing tops the Four Seasons for pure restaurant class.
Gino liked it when I told him how I showed my wife the tops in restaurant class, but when I think of class in people, I only think of Gino Ferrari.