South Brooklyn ferry one step closer to launching

The South Brooklyn ferry will be among the first of five new citywide ferry services to launch, according to a project update released by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) on Wednesday, August 12.

The $55-million five-borough ferry service – first announced in February of this year – will take place in two phases. According to NYCEDC, the South Brooklyn, Astoria and Rockaway routes will begin operation in 2017 with the Soundview and Lower East Side routes to follow in 2018.

The South Brooklyn route will have landings at Bay Ridge (via the 69th Street Pier), the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 near Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 in DUMBO and Wall Street’s Pier 11.

Charts courtesy of NYCEDC
Charts courtesy of NYCEDC

Total travel time from first stop to last will be just 43 minutes, and the trip will cost the same as a subway ride.

“This is really so exciting,” said Bay Ridge resident Justin Brannan who previously working for Councilmember Vincent Gentile and helped lead the charge to bring back the 69th Street ferry by spearheading a petition. “Direct commuter ferry service in Bay Ridge ended when the deteriorating 69th Street Pier was closed back in the early ‘90s. Since then, so many groups have fought hard to bring it back so the fact that we are now talking about ferry service returning as an imminent reality is such a huge victory for our community and the many people who carried the torch along the way – especially Councilman Gentile.

“We are a hard-working community and we deserve fast and reliable transportation to and from Manhattan,” Brannan added. “There’s no reason why people who live in Westchester or New Jersey should be getting to Manhattan faster than us! This will be an absolute game changer for our neck of the woods — a dream for commuters a boon for our local small businesses.”

“By expanding Citywide Ferry Service, our city will for the first time fully utilize our harbor and waterways,” lauded Gentile. “This is a plan that will propel neighborhoods into a new era of growth and development. In addition to more efficiently moving commuters, there will be easier access to points of the city that are difficult to get to, and for the same price as a ride on a train or bus.”

Residents like Laura Maguire – who travels to and from midtown six times a week –agree that ferry service from the 69th Street Pier simply makes sense.

“We should’ve taken advantage of the water years ago,” she said. “It will help on more than one level by easing traffic and making people’s commute less stressful.”

The project will see a total of 21 landing locations throughout the five boroughs – 11 pre-existing landings and 10 new.

Written comments may be submitted by e-mail to or by mail to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Attn: Denise Pisani, Senior Project Manager, 253 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, New York 10007.

Oral comments will be accepted at any of the four public scoping hearings listed in the “Community Outreach and Engagement” section at

While NYCEDC is still in the process of community outreach (public comment will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 8), the agency expects to begin ferry operator selections by winter of this year with barge fabrication and installation beginning as soon as this fall.

“I look forward to the day when it won’t take over an hour to get from Lower Manhattan to Bay Ridge,” said Gentile.

Charts courtesy of NYCEDC
Charts courtesy of NYCEDC


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