Ferry service linking the borough and Manhattan is now a reality.
The ferry operating between Soundview and destinations in Manhattan officially launched on Wednesday, August 15, with many elected officials and the public enjoying the maiden voyage and the start of regular service.
The NYC Ferry route takes approximately 45 minutes from the landing in Clason Point Park to Pier 11/Wall Street, with stops at East 34th Street and East 90th Street in Manhattan.
Mayor de Blasio joined Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo at Clason Point Park after the maiden trip, where all three officials spoke to a crowd ferry riders and local residents.
Diaz said that the ferry service would provide critical transportation and another alternative for commuters, while noting four new Metro-North stations are being planned and that dock-less bicycle sharing has arrived in the borough.
“This long-awaited, much-anticipated ferry service has the potential to dramatically improve the commutes not only of Soundview residents, but of Bronxites in every community,” said Diaz. “The people of my borough are always looking for new mass transit options, and I congratulate Mayor de Blasio and his administration on today’s launch and for making this new service a top priority.”
The mayor said that the last time the borough had ferry service was in 1930s and that it was overdue.
“The new Soundview ferry will cut commute times in half for thousands of Bronxites,” said de Blasio. “Our all-of-the-above approach to transit gives New Yorkers reliable options to get where they need to go.”
He said that Bronx residents could now get to Wall Street in 45 minutes as opposed to 90 minutes.
Assemblyman Crespo said that a lot of advocacy went into making Soundview the site of the borough’s first ferry landing, with the location making sense because of the many working families living in the nearby communities.
“I am hoping that ridership will grow and there will be an expansion of landings around the Bronx,” said Crespo aboard the ferry, adding that he could foresee more landings as people get to see ferry service as a better option in many cases to other forms of transportation.
The assemblyman added that he hopes sooner rather than later passengers will have the ability to transfer using a MetroCard between the ferry and other forms of public transportation.
The MTA recently expanded the Bx27 bus line into Clason Point Park to better service the landing.
Marlene Cintron, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation president, said that the ferry offers opportunities to better connect the borough to the rest of the city and affords commuters the ability to get to and from Manhattan faster and with less aggravation.
Cintron said having the ferry in Soundview would make the community more accessible, and lead people to discover Soundview and possibly attract some to move there.
Passengers on the maiden NYC Ferry voyage were enthusiastic about the new service.
Joe Delgrasso of Pelham Parkway, who commutes to City Hall every day on a bicycle in the morning, said that the ride aboard the ferry would be more pleasant and safer than the alternatives.
Sarwar Jahan of Parkchester said that he and his children plan on utilizing the ferry from Soundview, noting that it was easily accessible via mass transit and avoids much of the traffic into Manhattan.
“It is a completely different atmosphere,” said Jahan, as he took in the view. “You can see a lot. It is a very pleasant trip.”
Debby Kawalick of Pelham Parkway said the ferry offers a nice quick commute and she hopes that ferry service expands in the borough, saying the only thing that she is disappointed with is an apparent lack of parking near the ferry slip.
The ferry boat on the maiden voyage featured two decks – a climate-controlled enclosed lower deck and an outdoor upper deck – along with a snack bar and restroom.
Crespo said that based on his understanding many members of the crews of the city’s ferries are graduates of SUNY Maritime College in Throggs Neck.
The district manager of Community Board 9, William Rivera, said that the community is elated about the Soundview ferry.
“The ferry will shorten commute time from the Bronx to Manhattan for our local residents and our hope is that it will alleviate mass transit traffic in our district,” said Rivera.
Hornblower operates the route, which is part of NYC Ferry.
In a statement released on August 15, James Patchett, NYC Economic Development Corporation president and CEO, said that city’s ferry network is a game changer for many.
“Starting today, Bronxites now have a fast, comfortable and affordable way to get to major job centers and other opportunities along the East Side of Manhattan,” said Patchett.