Coney Island

Feeling left out, Coney Island residents demand ferry service

May 4, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The NYC Ferry near the shoreline of Sunset Park, on a newly inaugurated route. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s big announcement that the city is pumping $300 million into the ferry system to buy bigger boats didn’t impress Coney Island residents, who charged that the city’s ferry frenzy is unfairly bypassing their waterfront neighborhood.

“I want a ferry. If it’s good enough for Bay Ridge, it’s good enough for us,” Coney Island resident Bertha Thompson told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday, one day after de Blasio announced expanded service at a press conference in Bay Ridge. “Why do other neighborhoods get all these good things and we don’t?”

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The newly expanded service announced by the mayor includes more trips on existing lines to the Rockaways, bigger boats, special routes to Governors Island, new stops on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and an expansion into the Bronx.

But nothing for Coney — not even on the ferries that pass the amusement zone and tens of thousands of residents on their way to the Rockaways.

“We continu[e] to be baffled by the fact that the administration has yet to implement ferry service in parts of the city that feature the lengthiest commutes and the most limited transit options,” said Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island).

Community Board 13 has been advocating for a Coney Island ferry stop for more than two years — ever since the city announced that it was creating a ferry system.

The local group Coney Islanders 4Ferry collected more than 2,000 signatures on a petition calling for a ferry landing on West 21st Street — a move supported by Borough President Eric Adams.

In response to the mayor’s announcement on Thursday, the group posted a call to action on its Facebook page.

“Coney Island leadership, let’s get the ball rolling. Demand a new Coney Island Ferry Feasibility Study as the study from 2012 did not include the West 21st  and Neptune Avenue location,” the group wrote. “We will not be passed up again.”

The Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the $300 million NYC Ferry service, said it would study potential route expansions later this year but a mayoral spokesman said the city currently has different priorities.

“We appreciate the enthusiasm for expanding NYC Ferry to more neighborhoods. We share it,” the spokesman, Seth Stein, told the Eagle via email. “Right now, our focus is on launching two new routes from the Lower East Side and Soundview, after which we’ll make decisions about possible future expansion.”

The popular NYC Ferry launched on May 1, 2017, with fares pegged to the cost of  a subway ride. The service currently operates along four routes — East River, Rockaway, South Brooklyn and Astoria — with the new Soundview and the Lower East Side routes coming soon.

“New Yorkers have spoken,” de Blasio said, touting a service expected to have 9 million passengers a year by 2023.

But perhaps not all have spoken loudly enough.

“No more ambiguous statements,” Coney Islanders 4Ferry posted. “Be direct.”


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