Via NYC Ferry
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat” commented Mayor Bill di Blasio at a press conference in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, this morning touting the surge in popularity of ferries. NYC’s ferry service is expected to carry as many as 9 million passengers by 2023, twice the original projections. And to accommodate this, Mayor de Blasio said he was increasing spending on ferries, including a $300 million investment for three new, larger 350-passenger capacity boats, news docks and piers and an additional port for maintenance. The current NYC Ferry fleet contains 20 150-passenger capacity vessels.
There’s more coming
When the Duch settled New York City as New Amsterdam in the 17th century, it was the area’s waterways that drew them in. Four hundred years later, the city is once again reclaiming its waterfront locale, with countless new developments rising on the Hudson and East Rivers, increasing the need for more transit options. The booming NYC ferry, which, in 2017, served nearly three million riders across its four routes currently in operation, has exceeded the projected number by approximately 34 percent or 800,000 riders.
As the subway system quickly and publicly goes down in flames, along with the congestion pricing plan for alleviating traffic, New York City’s ferries are showing the transit world how it’s done, with politicians, commuters, and communities all on board. In honor of NYC Ferry’s #ferryearthweek, an effort to promote the green and sustainable features of the ferry from April 16-22, 6sqft decided to take a deeper look at the success of NYC’s ferry system, how it’s changed the transit landscape of the city, and what’s to come in the near future.
Image © 6sqft
Two neighborhoods underserved by transit will get a bit more accessible this summer. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that construction has officially kicked off for new NYC Ferry landings on the Lower East Side and in the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx. Skanska USA will construct four docks at Corlears Hook, East 90th Street and Stuyvesant Cove on the East River as well as at Clason Point Park in Soundview. According to the city, the new LES and Bronx routes will serve more than 1.4 million riders each year.
Photo of Fairway on the Red Hook waterfront, via CityRealty
The story of Red Hook is ripe for a movie-rights bidding war. In the past, there were mobsters and maritime ports, hurricanes and housing developments. Now there are politicians and developers fighting to rebuild and locals fighting back. In the end, what will happen to Red Hook is unknown but none of the massive proposals will happen in the near future. It is a small community in a big city that is tackling the issue many neighborhoods have dealt with in the past – how to grow.
After the massive Hurricane Sandy rebuilding effort, there is a very solid and passionate local population and a growing cluster of cool restaurants, retailers, and artists attracted to the area. That coupled with the recent political attention by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio and the developers drooling over the possibilities of the 130 acres of land ripe for redevelopment (that’s six times the size of the $25 billion Hudson Yards development) make Red Hook very newsworthy.
Transportation, development, and more
In a city with both its subway and bus currently in crisis, hearing anything positive about a transit system seems impossible. But, as the New York Times reports, the popularity of New York City’s ferry service continues to grow, with its fleet carrying 700,000 more passengers than officials had first expected. Plus, two of the four ferry routes already serve more riders than had been projected for 2019. The success of the citywide ferry, which serves as an alternative to the problem-plagued trains, has officials brainstorming ideas for express routes to get commuters to their destinations even faster.
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The Astoria route of the NYC Ferry officially launched today, the fourth route introduced by the city this year. The service stops in Astoria, Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, East 34th Street and Wall Street, the complete trip totaling 47 minutes. While the ferries have been popular with commuters, two extra boats were added and fleets under construction were redesigned to be larger in June, concerns about recreational boaters coexisting without colliding into ferries have grown. As the New York Times reported, one free kayaking class won’t run their program until deciding it’s safe enough to do so.
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Considering the NYC Ferry has been so popular since launching on May 1st that it had to charter two extra boats to meet demand, it’s not surprising that the city-subsidized ferry hit the 1 million rider mark as of today, a month earlier than expected. Mayor de Blasio celebrated the milestone earlier today with a press conference in Long Island City, also announcing that the fourth ferry route, the Astoria line, will launch on Tuesday, August 29th.
More ferry news
As 6sqft covered last month, the city’s ferry service, which launched May 1, has been so popular that frustrated passengers often face delays, long lines and overcrowding when trying to board. While officials had anticipated demand on the weekends for the NYC Ferry to be high, they did not expect how much this demand would “outstrip supply,” as the New York Times reported. To meet demand, the city will charter two extra boats that will carry 400 people to serve the summer weekend crowds.
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Mayor de Blasio’s citywide ferry service initiative, which launched May 1, was meant to provide commuters with an alternative to the problem-plagued subway. However, just under a month after the city launched the NYC Ferry service, passengers have faced delays, long lines, and overcrowding. As the New York Times reports, the ferry service transported roughly 26,000 passengers in total this past holiday weekend, with the East River Route carrying more than 9,600 people each day. In response to high demand, an extra three boats were put into service.
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The much-anticipated NYC Ferry service begins today, lessening the commute to Manhattan for many outer borough residents. The first commuter ferry took off from the new Rockaway route at 5:30 a.m. Monday, picked up more passengers at Sunset Park and then arrived in Lower Manhattan in just about one hour. Newly renovated ferries will also launch today on the East River Route, which services Midtown and Financial District communities. On Sunday, Mayor de Blasio held a christening ceremony and took the first ferry ride from the Rockaways to Wall Street.
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