Members of the media joined area politicians on Friday, March 24 for a viewing of the ongoing construction at the Citywide Ferry landing at Bay Ridge’s 69th Street Veterans Memorial Pier.
On deck for the showing were New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President and CEO James Patchett, as well as Councilmember Vincent Gentile, Assemblymember Pamela Harris and Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, among other workers and stakeholders.
Set to begin its roll-out this summer, the Citywide Ferry — known also as the Five Borough Ferry — will carry an estimated 4.6 million passenger trips per year across six routes (one of them being the South Brooklyn line, which will be among the first to set sail, making stops at Bay Ridge, 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).
Officials say the trip from Bay Ridge to Wall Street will be just under 45 minutes, and cost travelers the same price as a ride on the subway — $2.75.
According to officials of the $55-million project, which was first announced by NYCEDC and Mayor Bill de Blasio in February, 2016, travelers will be allowed to pay with their smartphone, credit cards or cash, buy monthly unlimited passes, and be allowed to bring their bicycle on board with a ticket option. The ferry also promises to display 360 views, LED screens, Geo-location passenger communications, and ADA boarding and disembarking.
There will also be food and beverage options on board the vessels, as well as free Wi-Fi.
The Bay Ridge landing is one of over 20 new ones being constructed, said Patchett, who noted that the project will incorporate a mix of brand new docks with revamped ones.
“This is all really exciting,” he told reporters, looking forward to what’s still to come for the Citywide Ferry.
Gentile shared in that excitement.
“This goes back to right after 9/11, when the federal money ran out for the ferry that we had here and I began a campaign of getting the city to make the ferry permanent,” he told reporters, recalling a long-ago rally at the pier alongside former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, former Councilmember David Yassky and then-Councilmember Bill de Blasio to bring back the ferry.
“Then we had the water taxi,” he went on. “So, we’ve had several iterations over the years but nothing permanent, and the fact that now the mayor has committed to a five-borough ferry system — and that he made sure he remembered my advocacy, and that this had to be a stop — is a good thing, because now we have a permanent structure, and that’s great.”
The showing was followed by a signing of a large round slab that will float in the water near the site, in commemoration of the tour.
According to Patchett, the system is set to set sail in its entirety by 2018.