Gondola makes stop at Ilion Marina

Kim Dunne

When Joe Deverell purchased an original gondola five years ago it was only a fantasy that one day he would take it on the Erie Canal.

Now he is on his way to New York City by way of the canal.

Deverell made a stop at the Ilion Marina Monday night and set up camp for the night before heading back out on Tuesday morning.

Deverell says he started on Sept. 11 in Cross Lake, where he lives, and so far the trip has gone well.

“There was one day of rain on Saturday which was kinda tough,” Deverell said. “It's hard enough standing up the entire time without being soaking wet.”

He also says the wind is blowing in the wrong direction.

“There has been a huge battle with the wind because it's blowing in the opposite direction of where it is supposed to be blowing, so I'm headed into it,” Deverell explained.

Before his stop in Ilion, he was at Lock 20 in Marcy.

“I seem to go further then I want to every day,” Deverell said.

Deverell explains that he was exhausted by the time he reached Ilion, because of the 20 miles he came from Marcy.

“It gets to be very tiring if you have to go long distances,” Deverell said. “But there was no where else I found to stop between Marcy and Ilion.”

A handful of people gathered around Deverell as he talked about his gondola and his decision to take on the Erie Canal.

Deverell said his gondola was built in 1990, he bought it in 2002 and it came from Italy.

He says he's been a salesman for 15 years and would quite often travel the Thruway and see the canal.

“I wanted to see (the canal) from a different perspective,” Deverell said. “There are many artistic elements to the gondola such as wood carvings and metal work. It's a piece of floating artwork so I decided to go for it.”

Deverell paid $15,000 for the gondola.

Deverell says the reason he's headed for New York City is because on Oct. 1, three people from Venice and three people from the United States are going to row a gondola down the Hudson River to New York City.

“I'm going to go meet them with my gondola as kind of a greeting for them,” Deverell said.

Milly Borzello was one of the people listening and watching Deverell in the gondola. She is 93 years old and recalls her days in Italy riding in a gondola back in the 1970s.

“My son-in-law was stationed in Italy and my husband and I took a couple vacations to visit him in Italy,” Borzello said.

Borzello got the opportunity to recreate her Italy vacations when Deverell took her for a ride in the gondola on Tuesday morning.

“This is so fun,” Borzello said excitedly from the water.

After the stop in Ilion, Deverell was on his way to Little Falls.