Pols push for ferry funding to Governors Island in final state budget

governor's island ferry rally
State Senator Andrew Gounardes, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, and Council Member Lincoln Restler came together on March 29 to call for state funding for the seasonal weekend ferry service to Governors Island.
Photo courtesy of State Senator Andrew Gounardes’ office

Activists and legislators are pushing for the Brooklyn ferry service to Governors Island to be fully funded in this year’s final state budget to ensure Brooklynites have direct access to the green space. 

State Sen. Andrew Gounardes was joined by Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon and Council Member Lincoln Restler on Friday morning at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 to call for state funding for the seasonal weekend ferry service that is currently offered by the Trust for Governors Island.

Pols warned that the future of the service is in jeopardy without the financial backing of the state, as the Trust for Governors Island only has funding to offer ferry service from Memorial Day through the end of June this year, and no funding at all to run it in 2025.

In previous years, ferry trips from the borough to the island, located in New York Harbor roughly 400 yards from Brooklyn, and 700 yards from Manhattan, only ran on weekends from late May through October. Otherwise, island hoppers have to catch a boat from the outer borough of Manhattan.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Gounardes said the funding would help ensure all Brooklynites have access to the green space, resources and programming on Governors Island.

governors island
Governors Island. Photo courtesy of Julienne Schaer/Governors Island Trust

Earlier this month, Gounardes successfully fought to include $625,000 for the Brooklyn ferry service in the Senate One-House Budget Resolution.

“Governors Island is a unique New York treasure: a place where we can enjoy precious green space, offer educational opportunities for kids, showcase local artists, and study our changing climate,” he said. “Providing frequent, easily accessible ferry service is crucial to making sure New Yorkers can enjoy all the opportunities this space offers, which is why I’m pushing so hard to ensure ferry funding is included in the final state budget.”

Backing the call for funding, Senator Roxanne J. Persaud urged Governor Kathy Hochul to include the additional funding in the final state budget given Brooklyn has some of the highest ridership of the ferry service. In prior seasons, the Brooklyn ferry service saw an average ridership of 10,000 to 15,000 riders per month from May through October.

Hochul announced last week that she will ask the legislature to extend the deadline to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year to April. 4, with budget negotiations described as being “in the middle of the middle.”

Thanking the pols for the advocacy on the matter, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island Clare Newman said the additional state funding for the Brooklyn Ferry service would “bolster the city’s commitment to making Governors Island accessible for all.”

“Governors Island is one of the premier parks in New York City,” Restler added “It has become a hub of climate education, public art, and dynamic activities. I greatly appreciate Senator Andrew Gounardes’ leadership to keep Governor’s Island connected to its closest borough: Brooklyn. I join my colleagues to urge the Governor and state legislature to fund the Brooklyn ferry to ensure New Yorkers continue to have access to Governor’s Island.”