There is nothing like a boat ride in the winter.
Red Hookers with a taste for a cold sea breeze now have a new way of getting between Manhattan, Dumbo, and their home neighborhood, thanks to a service expansion that will bring New York Water Taxi to the Fairway Market dock year-round. Local pols and business owners hailed the new transit option as emblematic of the growing investment in Red Hook at a press conference at Hometown Bar-B-Que on Tuesday.
“What’s happening in Red Hook is a fairy tale, and the ferry service is a continuation of that,” said Borough President Adams, invoking the neighborhood’s resilience after Hurricane Sandy. “Although the storm may have flooded the area, it did not drown the spirit of the people.”
New York Water Taxi runs a year-round ferry between Manhattan and Ikea and will now add the Fairway dock to its route. It had run from Fairway during the weekend for the last two summers, and the droves of passengers led the company and its friends in city government to come around to the idea of year-round weekday service.
“The summer months saw tremendous demand,” said Brian McCabe, chief operating officer of the ferry company. “It was far above our level of expectation.”
Only one boat will make each round trip, so the ferry will swing by Fairway every 90 minutes between 10 am and 10 pm. But McCabe said that when temperatures warm in the spring and demand increases the trips could increase to a boat leaving every 30 minutes.
With tickets running a cool $9 one way and boats starting after most people’s jobs, the boat from Red Hook is not yet a viable commuter option, but the elected leaders backing the service expansion said more frequent, cheaper service could be a reality in the future.
“This is just the beginning,” said Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Red Hook).
Ikea started subsidizing ferry service to its dock since 2008, but it soon grew tired of non-shoppers mooching free rides, and the following year started requiring receipts showing purchases of $10 or more to be reimbursed for the price of a boat trip. The new service is entirely funded by New York Water Taxi, but Menchaca said he and other pols are looking into sources of public funding to bring prices down.