Sea ya later! Two Brooklyn ferry stops close for 8-10 weeks for $11.4m renovations

south williamsburg ferry
An NYC Ferry in the East River.
File photo by Todd Maisel

The city will close two Brooklyn ferry stops for eight-to-10 weeks starting April 5, as part of two multi-million-dollar dock overhauls — just in time for spring.

The city’s quasi-public Economic Development Corporation, the agency in charge of the ferry system, announced Tuesday that both the South Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 stops will be closed for reconstruction next month through at least the end of May. 

Officials previously briefed north Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 about the Williamsburg closure, but has not presented to Dumbo’s Community Board 2, according to EDC spokesman Chris Singleton, giving maritime straphangers for the latter stop just under two weeks’ notice. 

The agency plans to relocate the Dumbo pier from Brooklyn’s Front Yard to the nearby Fulton Ferry Landing with a berth that includes a new barge, new fenders, and the installation of a new gangway to ensure wheelchair accessibility. That revamp will cost $4.7 million, according to Singleton. 

During the same time further north along the East River, EDC will replace the South Williamsburg docks along Kent Avenue with a new barge capable of docking two boats at a time instead of just one, along with upgrades to the pier’s entrance at S. 10th Street to also make it more wheelchair-friendly.

The north Brooklyn project, which will cost $6.7 million — which was supposed to start early last year but was postponed due to the pandemic — brings the total tally for work on the two stops to $11.4 million.

The repairs close two out of the borough’s nine stops for the heavily-subsidized ferry system, leaving water-bound commuters to schlep 20 minutes to the next closest ports, North Williamsburg at Kent Avenue and N. Fifth Street or Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 near Atlantic Avenue. 

Alternatively, EDC recommends Williamsburgers take the good ol’ bus, such as the B32 or Q59 on Broadway and Kent Avenue and the B67 on Division and Wythe avenues, or hop on the J, M, or Z train at Marcy Avenue. 

For Dumbonians, the closest public transit is the B25 on Old Fulton Street and Elizabeth Place, the A or C trains at High Street, or the 2 or 3 trains at Clark Street. There’s also the F train stop at York Street with its famous quarry-like sloping tunnel. 

Singleton did not respond to follow-up questions asking why the city didn’t stagger the repair schedules to keep only one of them closed at a time, as ridership is likely to increase with the warmer months, or why they didn’t give the same heads-up to downtown Brooklynites as they did to borough residents further north. 

This isn’t the first snafu for the NYC Ferry program in Brooklyn. In October, the agency infamously had to suspend service at the borough’s northernmost stop in Greenpoint for 36 hours after the jetty’s private owner restricted access to the boats.