‘Are you listening?’: Coney Island residents voice concerns over proposed ferry landings

coney island ferry
City representatives announced plans to place the Coney Island ferry terminal in Kaiser Park on Feb. 12, 2019.
City of New York

The tide was high at a Coney Island meeting on June 11, in which city officials presented their plans to examine the proposed landing locations of the Coney Island ferry, scheduled to set sail in 2021.

The NYC Economic Development Corporation — the quasi government agency overseeing the ferry system — has set its sights on two potential landing spots on Coney Island Creek, one on 31st Street and Bayview Avenue, and another on 29th Street and Neptune Avenue.

The ferry will stop at Bay Ridge, and Wall Street as well, shaving about 30 minutes off the Coney Island-Manhattan commute, according to the NYC Ferry website.

But many Coney Islanders voiced their concerns about the proposed landing locations the meeting. After city officials presented their plans to study the environmental impact of construction and dredging, community members pushed back, arguing that officials should choose a new landing site altogether.

“You need to put your shoes on and take a little walkie,” said Wanda Feliciano, a member of Community Board 13. Like many Coney Islanders, Feliciano is worried about the residential location of the proposed stops, arguing that the influx of riders will overwhelm the West End’s small, remote community.

Other locals claimed that the proposed landings are too far from public transportation, and fretted about safety in the area, given the neighborhood’s two schools. Attendees also raised concerns about the environmental impact of building the landings.

“This site qualifies as a Superfund site,” said Ida Sanoff, a local environmentalist.

The process of dredging, she argued, would resuspend the canal’s contaminated sediment — including unexploded ordinances — posing health risks to locals who swim or fish in the canal.

“Strange things happen when dredging happens around here,” she warned.

Ultimately, some residents questioned whether the ferry will benefit local Coney Islanders, arguing that tourists may dominate the service, taking advantage of tax payer dollars. After all, the ferry line carries a hefty price tag: according to the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, each ferry ticket will require a $24.75 subsidy from the city.

But most attendees remained excited about the new ferry route, and limited their criticisms to what they perceived as the NYCEDC’s aloofness.

“Are you listening?” asked Selena Grant, a Community Board member who argued that residents had already aired their doubts. “You need to listen because ultimately, we live here.”

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306.