In one of his final acts as New York City mayor, Democrat Bill de Blasio championed the Bronx’s new ferry landing — a newly installed dock located in Throggs Neck at Ferry Point Park which will add one stop to the Soundview ferry route — for Bronxites looking for alternative ways to commute to Manhattan.
“The Throggs Neck ferry landing is a game changer for Bronx commuters,” said de Blasio, whose two-term run as mayor concluded at midnight on Friday, Dec. 31. “Starting [Wednesday, Dec. 29], this landing will provide affordable, accessible, and time saving transport, expanding transit options for all New Yorkers, further connecting the five boroughs and building a recovery for all of us.”
The new dock, christened at a Dec. 28 press conference, will become the new terminal stop and include pickup points at the aforementioned Soundview station, East 90th Street, 34th Street and Stuyvesant Cove before the final stop in Lower Manhattan at Pier 11 near Wall Street.
On the extended Soundview route, ferries will continue to run every 40 minutes during peak times, and every 60 minutes during off-peak weekday times. According to city officials, Throggs Neck residents can expect to reach East 90th Street in 25 minutes, with the duration to the final stop at Wall Street/Pier 11 in 60 minutes.
City officials estimates the “one-seat” commute should take about an hour, end-to-end.
Traveling from Throggs Neck to Wall Street by bus and/or train is a longer commute at an estimated hour-and-a-half and costs the same as the ferry’s fare of $2.75.
“A thriving city requires us to consider new, alternative modes of transportation, as well as expansion to existing modes of transportation,” said former Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Ferry service in Throggs Neck will provide commuters and visitors alike, an efficient and fun way to get from point A to point B and also explore the Bronx.”
The extension of the Soundview route is part of the NYC Ferry expansion plan that was announced August 2021. De Blaiso was unable to complete the expansion plan — which includes an added St. George route that connects Staten Island to Manhattan’s West Side and also brings service to Coney Island, as well as year-round service to Governor’s Island — but that is expected to happen sometime in 2022.
During his time as mayor, de Blasio increased the city’s ferry network to six routes. NYC Ferries costs more than $10 to subsidize the service — a steeper price than operating subways and buses which are subsidized by about $1.
State Assemblyman Michael Benedetto praised the upgrades to the Ferry Point Park parking lot, which he referred to as an unserviceable, “third-rate” community parking lot prior to the upgrades.
“It’s important that we keep our city as liveable as possible and it’s a city that for too long people have been plagued with traffic jams or subways that are overcrowded or stuck with delays,” said Benedetto. “So it’s really important that we have alternative methods for people who live in this area of the Bronx to get to downtown Manhattan by shorter and less crowded alternative means.”
The new Bronx landing is situated within Ferry Point Park, which will also feature the aforementioned upgraded parking lot that is available to both ferry riders and park users. A small electric transit vehicle will be available, with preference to seniors and people with disabilities, to shuttle riders from the parking lot to the ferry landing, city officials say.
Officials such as new Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson hope that the ferry line expansion can alleviate the prevalence of transit deserts in the northernmost borough.
“This ferry line expansion is also another step forward toward decreasing transit deserts in our city and achieving greater transportation equity in our borough for residents that need it the most,” Gibson said.
Newly minted City Councilwoman Marjorie Velázquez echoed those sentiments, while touting accessibility benefits for commuting Bronxites at the dock’s grand opening last week.
“The residents of the Eastern Bronx have suffered for years due to a lack of transportation access, and today the City finally delivers on its promise to increase ferry service within our community. It will also provide new transportation opportunities to residents that have struggled with hours-long commute rides into Manhattan,” said Velázquez.
Ridership on the ferry tends to favor New York’s white and wealthy. In 2019, data from the city’s Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit group that runs the ferry service, reported that 64% of ferry riders were white with a median income of $75,000-$100,000.
This story was updated on Jan. 5 at 5:34 p.m.
Reach Robbie Sequeira at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.