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Ferry bad news: 69th Street sunk

Ridgite tells Bloomy: Ferry on over
Heather McCown has collected 1,400 signatures on her pro-ferry petition. Now, she wants to give it Mayor Bloomberg.
The Brooklyn Paper / Jeff Bachner

A plan to bring much-desired ferry service to the 69th Street pier in Bay Ridge appears to have run aground — in Sunset Park.

Aquatic transit enthusiasts were hoping that the city would acquire a floating ferry landing that’s currently moored in Manhattan and move it to the 69th Street pier, where it could serve as a dock for ferries and other boats.

But the Economic Development Corporation says it will buy the barge and install it at the 58th Street pier in Sunset Park’s Brooklyn Army Terminal, which already has such a dock, though it is not up to snuff, said EDC spokeswoman Janel Patterson.

She added that it would be “more economical” to give 58th Street the new dock than to renovate the existing dock.

As a result, Bay Ridge residents — who have long called for ferry service at 69th Street — say EDC’s plan is a day late and 11 blocks short.

“In order to have any ferry service or kayaks at 69th Street, we have to have the [dock],” said Sunset-Ridge Waterfront Alliance Director Heather McCown, who is urging the EDC to buy the floating dock with $500,000 of cash secured by Councilmembers Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) and David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights) in 2004 for the sole purpose of bringing ferry service to the 69th Street pier.

Gentile wants to transform the 69th Street pier from a pedestrian and sunbathing destination into a booming transportation hub, though EDC does not appear to be listening.

“The public transportation alternatives in South Brooklyn are inadequate — to put it nicely — and a ferry at 69th Street would be something that could really provide relief to drivers,” said the Councilman’s spokeswoman, Dena Libner.

City officials have said in the past that ferry service is difficult to sustain without large subsidies, though one company, New York Water Taxi, has expressed an interest in servicing the 69th Street pier.

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