EXCLUSIVE: More ferries to run between Brooklyn, Governors Island next summer

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The Brooklyn Paper / Julie Rosenberg

’Ello gov’nah!

Ferries between Brooklyn and Governor’s Island will come twice as often on holidays and festivals next summer — and seafaring straphangers will get a preview of the expanded service during the Atlantic Antic street festival this Sunday.

Currently, riders have to wait up to an hour for a lift from Pier 6 to the flyspeck islet, but next year, boatmen will swing by every 30 minutes in an effort to ease long lines that form along the shore, said a local pol.

“Hourly ferries just aren’t enough, and the lines have gotten increasingly long,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), who advocated for the city to allocate $62,000 to buoy the service.

Ferries out of Brooklyn currently operate on weekends between May and late September, and the expanded service will begin in earnest next spring — running on days when large numbers of people flock to the island, such as the island’s opening day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day, Lander said.

But the final day of this year’s summer ferry service happens to coincide with the Atlantic Antic — the massive annual street fair that brings more than a million visitors to a one-mile stretch of Atlantic Avenue — so island officials decided to launch the super-sized service’s maiden voyage during the fiesta, Lander said.

That means Antic-goers who want to pop over to the island can spend less time waiting for a ferry and more time walking off all that funnel cake, an island honcho said.

“You can work off everything that they’re selling at the Antic — that’s my plan,” said Leslie Koch, who heads the Trust for Governors Island, which pays ferry-operator NY Waterway to run summertime skiffs between Brooklyn and the island.

The island — which is home to a public high school, artist studios, a day spa, and an under-construction park — is an increasingly busy destination, Koch said.

And as more people head to the island year-round, Lander is hoping the increased service will serve as a proof-of-concept for a daily, city-run route in the future.

“We’re going to see growing sets of use,” he said. “We need to get to the point where there’s daily service to match it.”

Mayor DeBlasio announced earlier this year that he plans to expand ferry service citywide, adding stops along the waterfront between Dumbo and Bay Ridge in 2017. The city considered including a Brooklyn-to-Governors Island connection early on, but decided to moor the plan and revisit it after the service is up and running, a spokesman said.

Officials at the island’s public high school, the New York Harbor School, say a weekday service would make it easier for Brooklyn students to commute to class, as their Kings County pupils currently have to catch a ride from Manhattan.

Other Hookers would also like to see a permanent connection between Red Hook and the island — though they say a daily passage from Brooklyn Bridge Park would be better than nothing.

“I’ll settle for Pier 6,” said Jerry Armer, a member of Community Board 6’s transportation committee, which encompasses both areas. “I just want that service in Community Board 6.”

Catch the ferry to Governor’s Island from Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 (Atlantic Avenue and Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights, govisland.com/info/ferry-schedule). Sept. 27, every half-hour between 11 am and 7 pm. $2 for a round trip ($1 seniors, kids under 12 free).

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.