It looks like the efforts by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Councilman Mark Gjonaj to secure ferry service for Throggs Neck area have paid off.
New details were released on Thursday, January 10 concerning an extension of the ferry route currently serving Soundview’s Clason Point Park to include a stop at Ferry Point Park.
A new landing will be added to Ferry Point Park by 2021, with the route following the same course as the Soundview ferry with stops in Manhattan on the Upper East Side at East 90th Street, Midtown East at East 34th Street and Wall Street / Pier 11.
Service on the ferry to Soundview began in August 2018.
The planned expansion of the existing route into Throggs Neck came after persistent advocacy from Benedetto and Gjonaj, who held a joint press conference last June in Ferry Point Park to call on the city to add another stop.
Mayor de Blasio announced the expansion of NYC Ferry in his recent 2019 State of the City Address, and the news came as a pleasant surprise to the councilman.
“Last year, the first thing that I asked for in the budget process was this ferry extension to service a ‘transportation desert’ and make this a fairer city for all when it comes to transportation,” said Gjonaj. “I am really excited that the ferry is coming to Ferry Point Park.”
The councilman said that he expects the new ferry stop to provide commuters with another option when travelling to Manhattan.
Gjonaj added it would bring the same transportation options to the northeast Bronx that other parts of the city currently enjoy.
“This is a game-changer for our corner of the city,” said Gjonaj.
Assemblyman Benedetto said that he has been working on getting a ferry stop in the park for the past decade, and spoke with de Blasio to discuss this need prior to the mayor’s January 10 State of the City Address.
“I’ve always felt a ferry landing at Ferry Point Park made sense” said Benedetto. “I’m glad New York City chose this location - a location readily accessible from several major highways with tremendous parking options.”
Benedetto also was elated to learn that the city plans to renovate the park’s massive parking lot to service the ferry users, as well.
Currently, the parking lot is one huge pot-hole that is frequently unusable due to ponding after rainstorms. It remains empty during most weekdays, said Dotti Poggi, Friends of Ferry Point Park leader.
The assemblyman said he believes that the opening of a ferry landing at the park could spur economic development in the park.
He expressed interest in seeing improvements such as waterfront cafes or restaurants added to the park to compliment the existing first-class public golf course.
“We should not neglect Ferry Point Park, it is a wonderful untapped resource,” said Benedetto. “It could present us with opportunities that would benefit the borough both economically and culturally.”
Poggi said that the ferry stop would be easily accessible via existing bus routes that already stop near the park and link it to potential commuters from other communities including Co-op City.
Poggi added that she hoped that the investment in the ferry slip would spur further investment in the park itself.
Matt Cruz, Community Board 10 district manager, thanked the mayor and the NYC Economic Development Corporation for supporting the community’s efforts to bring a ferry to the park.
“This is a extremely positive development,” said Cruz. “We have some of the longest commutes to Manhattan and some of the highest amounts of car ownership.”
Even more parking spaces for ferry patrons may be available now that the toll plazas adjacent to Ferry Point Park have been removed. The board has already requested the resurfacing of the existing parking lot, said Cruz.
For planning purposes, the project presents a myriad of possibilities, including an opportunity to create a walkway along the Ferry Point Park waterfront between Schurz Avenue and the ferry launch, said Cruz.
This would allow residents of Throggs Neck to walk to the new ferry, he said.
East Bronx activist John Doyle, who has been calling on the city to expand ferry service, said that if the Ferry Point Park stop proves successful, it could lead to other stops in the area, perhaps at Orchard Beach.
“It is just a tremendous opportunity,” said Benedetto of the ferry.