Hopes To Give Boost To Tourism Post-Sandy
Weekday ferry service between the Rockaways and lower Manhattan will continue through at least early July, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel and City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Seth W. Pinsky announced last week.
The ferry which runs between Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways and Pier 11 in lower Manhattan will continue for the next six weeks, with the potential to continue the service through Labor Day weekend if ridership remains strong.
In addition, beginning July 4, enhanced weekend service between the Rockaways and Pier 11 in lower Manhattan will also begin with the addition of one service run in each direction every Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day. In addition, the weekend ferry will now also stop at Beach 108th Street.
“The continuation of the weekday service will give Rockaway residents another transportation option, and the expanded summer weekend service will make it easier for visitors to get to the Rockaways, bringing additional economic activity to the beaches throughout the summer season,” said Bloomberg. “We’re committed to helping the communities that were hit hard by Sandy rebuild, and this is another way for us to support the residents and small businesses of the Rockaways.
“[This] announcement will help the communities hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy and marks another step in the right direction toward our goal of five borough ferry service,” added Quinn. “Whether it’s in the Rockaways, Red Hook, Long Island City or Greenpoint, ferries not only offer a great alternative form of transportation for New Yorkers, but have proven to boost economic activity in the neighborhoods they serve.”
The weekday ferry will continue to be operated by Seastreak-which has operated the service since the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy-and will run on the same schedule during morning and evening rush hours. One-way fares will remain $2. The enhanced weekend service will be operated by TWFM Ferry Inc., building upon their existing summer weekend service which has run between Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways and Pier 11 in lower Manhattan for the past several summers.
The city has agreed to assist in the expansion of this service by subsidizing an additional boat, which will allow for three morning runs from Manhattan to the Rockaways, as well as three return runs in the evenings. In addition, all weekend runs will now also stop at Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive. Weekend service may be increased or reduced based on ridership demand.
“For the past six months, the ferry has been a vital lifeline for many of my constituents,” said City Council Member Eric Ulrich. “It has provided a fast and reliable commute for Rockaway residents during their greatest time of need. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and his administration for continuing this important transportation option and expanding weekend service. This will play an important role in the recovery process and be a tremendous boost to the local economy.”
“This is welcomed news for the residents and businesses of the Rockaway peninsula,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. “Not only will it bring much needed transportation relief to its residents who have endured and persevered since Hurricane Sandy, it will bring visitors to discover and patronize local business while enjoying sun and surf along our beach shore.”
“Southern Queens and Rockaway families are working tirelessly to recover from the devastation caused by Sandy and we expect the resources we need to remain in place,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “I have been a tireless advocate for increased transportation options even before Sandy and applaud the efforts made by the city to introduce the ferry service and now on the decision to extend and expand it. Sandy recovery is going to be a slow and difficult process and we must all work together to ensure we can rebuild stronger than ever.”
“For the people of the Rockaways [the] announcement represents a critical move forward in the direction of bringing and keeping much needed transportation services to the people on the peninsula,” said State Sen. James Sanders. “Traveling from the Rockaways to Manhattan has been and still is an ongoing challenge to residents. Every bit of transportation service provided to New Yorkers badly hit by Hurricane Sandy will go a long way in the everyday lives of residents.”
“The expansion of ferry services to areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy demonstrates the city’s ongoing initiative to place our small businesses and communities’ need at top priority,” said City Council Member Karen Koslowitz, chair of the Council Committee on Economic Development. “This is an excellent way to bring back much needed economic activity to areas that have been hit the hardest.”
“The continuation and expansion of ferry service to the Rockaways is another way the City is helping small businesses in the Rockaways get back on their feet after Hurricane Sandy,” said Rob Walsh, commissioner of the city Department of Small Business Services. “This summer, take the ferry to the Rockaways and explore what this beach neighborhood and its small businesses have to offer.”
“Getting the beaches open on time for Memorial Day was a big first step for residents of the Rockaways and the millions who visit each summer,” said Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White. “The ferry service assures beachgoers that they have all the means needed to get out and enjoy all that Rockaway has to offer in sand, surf, food and fun.”
“While Rockaway’s recovery continues, enhanced ferry service to the peninsula will extend this transportation lifeline for both residents and businesses as the summer season begins,” said city Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “This critical link in the transit network helped knit these neighborhoods back into the city after Sandy struck, and this expanded service marks the latest citywide effort to keep the Rockaway community and all New Yorkers moving.”