Bringing ferry service to Ferry Point Park is being explored.
On the heels of a mayoral announcement that ferry service will link Soundview and Manhattan by 2018, Councilman James Vacca set up a meeting with the New York City Economic Development Corporation to discuss the possibility of having a ferry service link from Ferry Point Park to Manhattan.
The meeting took place on Thursday, February 19 at the NYCEDC’s offices in Manhattan.
According to attendees, representatives from the Trump Organization, which is opening a golf course in the park, a ferry service operator, and Steve Kaufman, the president of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, took part in the discussion.
The councilman said he thought that the meeting was constructive, but that bringing ferry service to Ferry Point Park was going to be a work in progress.
“We did have several ideas that we brought up to EDC,” said Vacca, adding “There is going to be a lot of communication, I hope, between all parties involved.”
Vacca said it is only logical that ferry service should help people in areas most distant from Manhattan that are also close to waterfront.
Ferry service under the Bloomberg administration was concentrated in communities that were closer to Manhattan where there were already other transit options, he added.
“Ferry service should be for neighborhoods like Throggs Neck where it takes you over an hour to get to work in Manhattan,” said Vacca. “My entire district has some of the longest commutes in the city.”
If you look at documents prepared by transportation advocates, areas in the east Bronx, Staten Island and parts of Queens are referred to as ‘transportation deserts,’ and yet these far-flung parts of the city have taxpayers just like anywhere else, said Vacca. The city should give every consideration to bringing water taxi service to Ferry Point Park, the councilman said.
“I am just not giving up on this, and that is that,” he added.
Part of the argument made to NYCEDC by the local leaders was that the borough is being undeserved with only one planned stop while other boroughs already have or will have several ports, said Kaufman.
Another argument made on behalf of the Throggs Neck and Ferry Point community is that with the opening of the new golf course and new malls, ferry service at Ferry Point Park would help alleviate increased auto traffic, Kaufman added.
“It is a perfect fit,” he said of the ferry service in the park.
It would benefit both Bronx commuters looking to reach Manhattan, and patrons of the new Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, he added.
“It would be perfect for people coming from Manhattan could use the ferry instead of a car to get (to the golf course), and also our people would have a ferry ride to Manhattan or other areas of New York City which would be a more pleasant ride to get to work,” he said.
The response from the corporation was not totally negative, and it was something that NYCEDC hoped that the Trump Organization would get involved in, said Kaufman.
The goal is to create a happy marriage between Trump and NYCEDC to bring a dedicated ferry line to the park, he added.
One argument NYCEDC made against the Ferry Point Park proposal was that the water where a ferry landing would have to be situated was too shallow, said Kaufman, who added that this could easily be solved by dredging.
How the ferry would be paid for had not been discussed, and it was probably too soon to get into specifics, said Kaufman.
While the ferry would have to make some kind of profit, he said, it is not the only concern, since other parts of the city will have much more ferry service, even with the new line to be added.
“Our argument is that even if it cannot make a profit, we should have the ferry service and we should not be discriminated against,” said Kaufman.
NYCEDC did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.
A representative from the Trump Organization was not available for comment.