Shore it up! Board tells city to find new Hook ferry stop

A terminal case?: Red Hook’s Atlantic Basin is no place for a ferry terminal, city officals say. Nonetheless, Community Board 6 says it’s a better site than the ones planners are proposing.
Photo by Jason Speakman

They’re applying some pier pressure.

The city must find a new site for a forthcoming Red Hook ferry stop currently slated for either the Van Brunt Street or Valentino piers, say members of a local panel who claim the planned locations are too far-flung for most neighborhood residents to reach.

“It only affects a small amount of people going to Fairway or Valentino Pier,” said Tom Miskel, captain of the transportation committee for Community Board 6, referring to the popular neighborhood grocery store at the end of Van Brunt Street.

The board on Wednesday voted to support the city’s plan to expand ferry service along the Brooklyn waterfront in 2017, but only if it agrees to study other potential stops in the neighborhood, including one in Atlantic Basin — where the ferry would be within a half-mile walk of most of the neighborhood, proponents say.

The city claims the basin idea wouldn’t float, because customs agents put the facility on lockdown for about 30 days a year so they can process international travelers arriving in the nearby cruise terminal, according to representatives from Economic Development Corporation, which is responsible for implementing the ferry plan.

The basin is also a “no-wake zone,” so ferries would have to drive slowly so they don’t make waves — and that would slow down service along the entire line, corporation officials said.

But board members vowed that they will continue pushing the city to find a way to make it work.

“It’s not dead yet,” Miskel said.

The Red Hook stop is one of five posts the city is adding to the Brooklyn’s shores in 2017 as part of its $55-million city-wide ferry expansion.

Hookers say they are starved for public transportation services — no subway lines reach the harbor-side ’hood, and only two buses meander across the peninsula — so a poorly-sited ferry stop would still be better than none at all.

“This is a great start,” said board member Robert Underwood.

The board also asked the city to consider extending the service between Brooklyn and Governors Island. Currently, Brooklynites can sail directly to the island on weekends between May and September, but otherwise have to go via Manhattan — which is particularly inconvenient for local students of the New York Harbor School, which first opened in Bushwick before moving to the island in 2010.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Making moves: This map shows the route of the mayor’s proposed new ferry network. It is set to launch in 2017.
Mayor’s Office

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