By Bill Parry
A skiing enthusiast from Vermont thinks he may have the solution to Queens’ transit woes, and he believes his plans are not as far-fetched as they seem.
Daniel Levy, president and founder of the real estate website CityRealty, presented his plans to a packed house at the Brooklyn Museum Tuesday and found that his East River Skyway proposal has plenty of support.
“It was a sell-out crowd of 700 at the Massey Knakal Real Estate Summit, and my proposal was received well,” Levy said. “I got nothing but positive feedback and everyone thought it was the best solution to our transit problems.”
His plan calls for a three-phase construction of gondolas that would span the East River, like the Roosevelt Island Tramway, connecting Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The system, when completed, would be able to move more than 5,000 commuters an hour.
“I was tired of … my commute on the L subway line, and with all the development coming to the Queens and Brooklyn waterfronts, I know things are only going to get worse,” the five-year resident of Brooklyn said. “I hired a consulting firm, Creative Urban Partners in Switzerland, and when they came back with their feasibility study I was shocked at how possible it is.”
The first phase would join the Brooklyn Navy Yards to Williamsburg and onto the Lower East Side. The second phase would link Greenpoint with Long Island City onward to Roosevelt Island and the third would connect the Navy Yards to DUMBO and the South Street Seaport.
Levy added that advancements in engineering and technologies have made gondola travel popular in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro. Each of the three phases would cost between $75 million and $100 million that he thinks can be raised through private funding, not direct government financing.
Levy thinks his East River Skyway proposal will play well is Queens because it would connect Long Island City to Roosevelt Island where commuters could transfer to the already existing tramway to finish a quick trip into Manhattan.
“It’s not a very big river, actually,” he said. “And the campus of Cornell NYC Tech will be coming online in a few years on Roosevelt Island, so it’s a natural link with the tech hub they’re trying to grow in LIC.”
Levy added that the mode of transportation would be attractive to the professors and grad students at Cornell who would likely find homes in Long Island City as well.
“That’s exactly the idea,” he said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.