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.
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.
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.
With the launch of the much-anticipated NYC Ferry quickly approaching, crews responsible for manning the boats continue to train in preparation. As amNY shares in a new video, before captains can operate the ferries, they must first master a digital simulation at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx. In a small room shaped like a ferry wheelhouse with wraparound screens that provide a 360-degree view of the New York Harbor, captains in training must steer past digital boat traffic and landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Overseen by staff members from Hornblower Cruises, the simulator tests an applicant’s decision-making skills, navigational abilities, and understanding of Coast Guard Regulations.
To celebrate the ahead-of-schedule launch of the Citywide Ferry service, Mayor de Blasio rode the first ferry (named “Lunchbox” by second graders from Bay Ridge) this morning into Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 as part of an official dedication ceremony. Beginning May 1st, all New Yorkers can join in the revelry when the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route kick off. Service to South Brooklyn starts in June, and the Astoria route will be launched sometime in August. In all, there will be 21 stops added throughout the city as part of the expanded service. On top of today’s festivities, the city also released the official new ferry schedules.
Roosevelt Island, the mile-long neighborhood that lies in the East River between Manhattan and Queens, will be a stop on the NYC Ferry route that connects Astoria to Wall Street beginning in August. While this will ease access to other parts of the city for residents of the island, French architect Victor Ostojic has another idea. As Curbed reported, Ostojic published a conceptual proposal of a cantilevered glass-covered ferry terminal on the western side of the island. Located parallel to Manhattan’s East 63rd Street, the terminal would include ground-floor retail, a food court, office space and a luxury hotel on top.
Mayor de Blasio announced today that the Citywide Ferry Service, now officially named “NYC Ferry,” will be launching two routes on the first day of May: the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route. As DNA Info learned, the Rockaway route takes passengers from the new dock on Beach 108th Street to the Brooklyn Terminal, and then Wall Street’s Pier 11. Expect service on the South Brooklyn Route with stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park to begin on June 1. The Astoria Route will be launched sometime in August and the Lower East Side and Soundview Routes have a launch date set in 2018. Find out more here
For the first time in 100 years, ferry service will be available to all five boroughs as part of a two-year $325 million initiative by Mayor de Blasio. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the plan will add at least 200 jobs to the city’s economy. Half of these available jobs will pay at least $50,000 per year or more, according to the mayor. The plan for the citywide ferry service, launching this summer, will be managed by the Economic Development Corporation and Hornblower Cruises, who will hire deckhands, captains and other crew members.
City officials are pushing to have the $325 million citywide ferry service, helmed by Hornblower and managed by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, up and running a few months before next November, when Mayor Bill de Blasio stands for re-election. As 6sqft reported in September, two bayou-based shipbuilding companies, Horizon Shipbuilding in Bayou La Batre, Ala. and the awesomely-named Metal Shark in Franklin, La., are racing to complete the 19 new boats scheduled to hit the water this summer. The ferry service will be the most extensive passenger ferry service of its kind in any U.S. city.