All Aboard? Bay Ridge ferry gains steam

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The prospects for a ferry from the 69th Street pier to the Financial District are in a holding pattern, but it was full-speed-ahead on Tuesday as proponents of the service invited passengers on board for a successful dry-run.

Organized by local activists Heather McCown, Adam Wasserman, and Peter Killen, the 20-minute ride from Bay Ridge to Lower Manhattan went off without a hitch.

Well, sort of.

Since there is currently no landing for boats at the 69th Street pier, the ferry actually left from Sunset Park’s 58th Street pier and first headed south so that it could appropriately simulate the ride from 69th Street.

Twenty minutes later, at a speed of 22-knots, the ferry docked at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan.

“Now this is a civilized way to travel,” said Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who has been pushing the Bloomberg administration to spend a $500,000 allocation for a 69th Street ferry landing that was put into the Department of Transportation budget in 2004 by Gentile and Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights).

Since then, McCown has been collecting petition signatures — close to 2,000 and counting! — to tell the mayor that support for a Bay Ridge ferry is strong.

“Now, with congestion pricing, pollution pricing, talk of a fare hike … we’re dealing with the fact that we’ll have even more people on an already packed subways and buses,” said McCown.

Gentile is hopeful that the mayor will change his position — a position the councilman called “unconscion­able!” — now that he has an innovated new transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.

“[She] is more of a visionary than I’ve seen in the past and I think she’s supportive of ferry service,” Gentile said.

A DOT spokesperson has said the agency will release its study on the viability of the ferry “by the end of 2007.”

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

memoree joelle-scott from bay ridge says:
We need this ferry, and Mayor Bloomberg knows it. If he doesn't do the right thing and get this ferry going, I'll be ashamed to have voted for him.
Nov. 17, 2007, 12:32 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
A ferry would be a really ideal transport option for the people of bay ridge. It would provide the most direct adn logical connection between Bay Ridge and Lower Manhattan.
For Bay Ridgers who can see how close lower manhatten is over water, it is incredibley frustrating to have to take long and unreliable subway or bus routes. I can see no reason why anyone would oppose this measure.
Nov. 20, 2007, 8:53 am
Robert Capria from Bay Ridge says:
I think the ferrry from Bay Ridge at 69th Street is a great ideaa. The x27 and x37 bus service is good but often crowded. The N train is fairly good too but you always have to stand. The R is terrible.

I think the ferry can hold more people who can travel more comfortably.

Dec. 29, 2007, 11:54 am
Patricia Corbett from Bay Ridge says:
Looking forward to having the 69th Street Ferry back! We miss it! Bring it back and the sooner the better.
Guess it would be a good idea to have a few outdoor toilets around but only if they can be well maintained.
We also need a big Super Market along with a high quality Department Store with brand name dresses in the neighborhood as well.
We have too many Banks, Drug Stores and 99 cents stores!
June 6, 2008, 11:51 am

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