Sept. 19, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
The city will open a second ferry dock in Long Island City next summer at the northern tip of Gantry Plaza State Park.
The new dock will be a part of the larger expansion plan for the ferry system to try to take pressure off of the already overtaxed transportation system throughout the city, explained local officials at a press conference today.
The new ferry dock will begin service next summer, and is projected to have the highest ridership of any ferry stop outside of Manhattan, running almost 4,000 trips per day to the east side of Manhattan and to Roosevelt Island, said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Maria Torres-Springer.
“While we know that New York City has the best mass transit system in the country, the century old system is really running up against its limits,” Torres-Springer said. “What Citywide Ferry will allow us to do is make sure that the residents and businesses of these communities are not just able to connect with each other but are really able to connect employment hubs in all five boroughs.”
The cost of riding the ferry will be $2.75 per trip, just like the cost of taking the subway or a bus, she said.
“We, the people of Long Island City, desperately need more diverse and ample modes of transportation,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
“This is one of the fastest growing communities in all of New York City, and one of the most desirable communities to live in, and so therefore, there are certain pressures that get placed on the transportation infrastructure,” Van Bramer added. “Getting to and from Manhattan and other parts of the city become increasingly important, and the 7 train simply cant handle everyone, we know that, so its incumbent upon all of us in government to make sure that there are more options, better options, and ferry service has proven incredibly popular.”
The EDC decided to put the new dock on Center Boulevard, though there were early talks of putting it further north on 44th Drive on the other side of Anable Basin, looking ahead to future development.
Senator Michael Gianaris spoke on this point, and explained that the dock itself is modular and can be moved further north fairly easily, if it comes to the point where it would be more convenient for more people. “We look forward to continuing to find even more great ways for people to get around rather than waiting for the 7 train to show up, which is an adventure for anyone who is trying to do it,” Gianaris said.
Assembly Member Cathy Nolan addressed her early reservations about the project, explaining that she was concerned about taking away parkland in favor of long commuter lines.
“I think that with the developments and these really gigantic, very dense apartment buildings and the very high towers we need as much open space as we promised people almost 30 years ago, so I was a little concerned how the ferry would interact,” she said.
She added that while she believes the EDC and all organizations involved in the project came to a good compromise, she plans to keep a close eye on the project as it moves forward “to make sure that it is not something that either environmentally or in an open space way that hurts the existing parkland that we have.”