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Greenpoint Ferry Landing Abruptly Shuttered Over Weekend, Now Set to Reopen

NYC Ferry (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Oct. 19, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The Greenpoint ferry pier is back up and running after it was abruptly shuttered Saturday when the new owner of the landing shut off public access.

NYC Ferry service to Greenpoint resumed at 4 p.m. today after the ferry provider and the property owner, Lendlease, reached an agreement.

Real Estate developer Lendlease had restricted NYC Ferry access to the landing, just weeks after the company bought the waterfront site at 1 Java St.– including the ferry pier.

Over the weekend, New Yorkers were unable to take a boat ride from Greenpoint. Until 4 p.m. Monday, they were told that they would have to take a shuttle bus to the Hunters Point South landing.

Lendlease told Gothamist that it was waiting on the ferry service operator, Hornblower, to provide adequate insurance documents and temporarily restricted access to the pier while it waited.

Lendlease, and its partner Aware Super, an Australian pension fund, plan to build a mixed-use tower with 800 rental units on the 2.6-acre site.

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Larry Penner

There has always been money available to support this and other new ferry services. All Mayor Bill de Blasio had to do was ask NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to submit grant applications to both the Federal Transit Administration Passenger Ferry Program and New York State Department of Transportation.

Why not apply for capital grants from the New York State Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration to assist in funding? NYC DOT does this and receives millions on an annual basis on behalf of the Staten Island Ferry. Albany also provides State Transportation Operating Assistance for transportation systems such as the Staten Island Ferry along with local share against federal grants. Ridership on any transit service generates yearly federal transportation formula capital assistance. Numerous past private ferry operators have come and gone. They could not financially survive based upon farebox revenue alone without government subsidy. MTA local and express bus, subway and commuter rail along with NYCDOT Staten Island Ferry is subsidized by a combination of City, State and Federal assistance for both capital and operating costs. All of the existing and future NYC Economic Development Corporation Private Ferry routes will require similar subsidies if they are to survive.

Riding a ferry can be less stressful than pre COVID-19 being packed in a subway car like sardines in a can or stuck on a bus running late in traffic not moving. .

(Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for over $1 billion in grants which paid for various bus and ferry NYC Department of Transportation private bus franchised operators and Staten Island Ferry system capital projects and programs)
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