Residents of Coney Island and Bay Ridge have reason to celebrate this morning, with the news, delivered by Mayor Bill de Blasio in his State of the City address, that a new Coney Island to Wall Street ferry, stopping at the 69th Street Pier then heading right across the water to Manhattan, is being added to the city’s roster of waterborne transportation options.
“Every day, millions of us lose minutes – sometimes hours – just getting to work or to school or wherever we have to be,” noted de Blasio. “It shouldn’t be this hard to get around in the greatest city in the world. And so we’re giving people more and better options.”
The express service between Bay Ridge and Wall Street should take about 20 minutes, according to Councilmember Justin Brannan who has been advocating for express service from Bay Ridge. And the addition of the People’s Playground to the ferry service is also reason for applause; advocates in that neighborhood had long been pressing for a waterborne alternative to lengthy subway commutes.
“So many people fought so hard to bring the ferry back to 69th Street – and we made it happen,” Brannan told the Brooklyn Reporter. “But the big dream has always been to get an express ferry direct to Wall Street. And now the day has finally come! This will be an absolute game-changer for our neighborhood. With the new Coney Island line, you’ll be able to get from Bay Ridge to Wall Street in under 20 minutes. I’m so happy I could cry.”
Councilmember Mark Treyger — who was a major advocate of getting Coney Island its own ferry — also celebrated the news as a game-changer, with its impact on adding transportation options to a historically underserved neighborhood, where the main subway station is a 20-30 minute bus ride from much of the community’s housing.
“This is the result of years of effective advocacy,” the pol said in a statement sent shortly after the mayor’s address. “The expansion of the NYC Ferry system to Coney Island is a major step forward for southern Brooklyn’s students, working families, seniors, and the millions from across New York City and beyond who visit the iconic People’s Playground and Riegelmann Boardwalk every year. Ferry service will help ease the public transportation and congestion burden our community endures because of long commutes, particularly during the busy summer season.”
The service is operated under the auspices of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
Because infrastructure needs to be built in Coney Island to accommodate the ferry service, Brannan said that the new route will likely be operational “sometime before 2021.” One possible location for the new ferry terminus, according to Borough President Eric Adams — who called the promised Coney Island service “a milestone achievement” and “a common-sense solution that affirms our years of advocacy on behalf of transit-starved residents” — is Coney Island Creek at West 21st Street.
The current scheduled time for the Bay Ridge to Wall Street trip is 43 minutes, with stops at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, Red Hook, Atlantic Avenue and DUMBO.
Besides the new Coney Island to Wall Street route, the city will expand service from Staten Island to Lower Manhattan and the West Side. It will also add a new stop at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and a new landing at Ferry Point in the Bronx, where access to the Ferry Point Park landing within the park will be enhanced, and the parking lot improved.
Citywide ferry service was announced in 2016; the route that included a stop at 69th Street set sail in spring of 2017. The Coney Island dock will be the system’s ninth in Brooklyn, and 21st citywide.
The State of the City address was delivered at Manhattan’s Symphony Space.