On this day in 1884, the country’s first roller coaster opened at Coney Island, sparking Americans’ obsession with amusement rides. Invented by LaMarcus Thompson, the ride, called the Switchback Railway, spanned 600 feet and traveled just six miles per hour. Unlike today’s coasters, the Switchback did not make a round trip loop, and passengers exited at the end of the track. The one-minute long ride cost only five cents.
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.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Citywide Ferry operator Hornblower have announced that construction has officially begun on 19 vessels that will kick off New York City’s first citywide ferry system, with vessels sporting the latest in 21st century maritime technology. The mayor said in a statement, “We are moving full steam ahead and bringing modern ferry boats, outfitted with the latest technology and safety features, to our waterways. This new fleet will help us connect commuters and visitors alike to neighborhoods throughout the city.”