By Bill Parry
Astoria’s NYC Ferry service is set to launch Aug, 29, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said the new route will be a game-changer for his constituents.
“Everyone will be able to cut their transit time in half. From the tip of Hallets Peninsula it’s only 1,515 feet to Manhattan yet it takes an hour to get to Midtown,” Constantinides said. “The NYC Ferry system is an innovative and sustainable use of our waterways to help residents commute to their jobs, see family, and run errands in Manhattan. The ferry will help western Astoria, where residents have to endure long subway rides, stay better connected with our city and help revitalize Hallets Peninsula.”
Also starting Aug. 29 is a second ferry landing in Long Island City located at the northern end of Gantry Plaza State Park. The new route will connect to Astoria, Roosevelt Island with its Cornell Tech campus opening this fall, and on to Manhattan.
“Some people speak of the Summer of Hell, but for those of us that take the 7 train it’s been a Decade of Hell,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “With more and more people choosing to live and build a small business in Long Island City and western Queens, it’s more important than ever to have a variety of safe and reliable transportation options that have the capacity to handle this growth.”
Earlier in the day the mayor announced NYC Ferry transported its one millionth passenger one month ahead of schedule. Because of the demand the city will add more vessels and three larger boats that can hold up to 249 passengers compared to the 149 seats on current vessels.
“The overwhelming demand for NYC Ferry service has far exceeded the city’s expectations, affirming the ferry as a key component of building a reliable transit future for Queens,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “The predictability brought by the NYC Ferry has already been a boon for Queens tourism, economic development and investment along Queens’ coasts. It’s also provided fast affordable transportation to hundreds of thousands of Queens residents, who have long been underserved by traditional mass transit.”
Elizabeth Lusskin, the president of the Long Island City Partnership, said the new connections have many benefits for residents of and visitors to western Queens.
“The expansion of the ferry system is tremendously exciting — providing key north/south access for our residents, visitors, and workers to all the great culture, jobs, restaurants, bars and waterfront parks — and access across the river to the great innovation opportunities at Cornell Tech and the medical corridor along the eastern shore of Manhattan all the way to Wall Street,” Lusskin said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr