Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Will the Sunset Ferry Ever Return?

According to our local newspaper the Sunset News New York Water Taxi has suspended ferry service from the Brooklyn Army Terminal Pier. The word suspended appears to mean that it might come back. Several things about the article stuck out at me. One was the fact that they could only get fewer than 250 people to use the ferry. The other was the price for a one way ticket, $5.60 to Wall Street. The ride is about 20 minutes. You have to ask yourself. How did they manage to get so many people to use it at that price? With so many alternatives to the ferry in mass transportation I am surprised it lasted this long. The other problem from day one was also the fact that few people in the neighborhood even know that it's there. Probably true as well in Bay Ridge where I suspect most of the users came from.

An organization called the Sunset Ridge Alliance has been pushing for expanded service and having additional ferry service leave from the 69th street pier. The problem with that is that there is no parking available at the 69th street pier. The only way to get people to the pier would be via Bus as the only mass transportation means available. That would push the cost for a one way ticket at close to $8. At least the 58th street pier at the Brooklyn Army Terminal has an abundance of Parking. I somehow don't think that the ferry service will be back any time soon unless they can get more people to pony up these prices when public transportation by either the N, R or D trains will get you to Wall Street from the 36th street station in about 30 minutes and midtown Manhattan in about 40 for a mere $2.

This brings me to another pet peeve of mine. Most Sunset Parkers aren't even aware that the pier is there. It is an underutilized resource and recreation spot in the nabe and the only spot where you can do some fishing if you are into that sort of thing. Community organizations should use the pier to hold more events and publicize the fact the pier is there.

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Escape from Sunset Park said...

In the early 1960's Brooklyn was changing rapidly. I woke up one morning to realize that I no longer lived in Bay Ridge, but Sunset Park. The lowly Brooklyn bums, jetted back from Los Angeles to trounce the Yankees in four straight during the World Series. But the change that would effect me the most was the sudden shutdown of the 69th Street ferry to Staten Island. I had made my college decision based upon the romantic notion of walking to the ferry and crossing the bay to school each morning. But just before my first day of classes, the Verrazano Bridge opened and my ferry stopped sailing.

There is no way that a ferry from this section of Brooklyn will become a reality again unless the price of the commute drops or all other means of reaching Manhattan become cost/time prohibitive.

How could the ferry cost drop? Easy, don't view the ferry as a single route vehicle. A true entrepreneur would incorporate, within the ferry's day (& night), trips to recreational sites (Coney Island, South Beach, Jersey shore, the Rockaways, & Long Island). They could also make the ferry multi-purpose - using it for special outings (as was the case in NYC a hundred years ago) - tours, fishing trips, corporate outings.

Another possibility that could make a Sunset Park ferry a reality - turn a Sunset Park lemon into lemonade. Build a "federal plaza" around the Metropolitan Detention Center at 29th Street.

A plaza with other federal offices (aside from the Bureau of Prisons), waterfront residential condos, schools, shopping and recreation (you could even incorporate a working waterfront on a "niche" market scale - and it could do double duty as a "reality" diorama - people could observe the working waterfront from a safe distance at viewing sites.

It is the perfect location, if our city fathers would take their heads out of their butts and stop the fantasy of a "working" waterfront from 67th to Buttermilk Channel. They have "warehoused" the incredible Sunset Park waterfront since the end of World War II - first to placate the then powerful Intrnational Longshoreman's Union and then to keep the dream of misguided city bureaucrats alive. Wake-up! The huge building next to the prison is now up for redevelopment - let's think big and grand - let's go the extra thousand feet to that place of magic - the interface between the water and the land. I dream of the day that I can bike down to the foot of 29th Street and see office workers sitting on steps of monument-style buildings enjoying a sunny lunch hour (hey, why not bring some of the courts closer to the prison and cut vehicular pollution of prisoners being transported to the heart of downtown Brooklyn & Manhattan each weekday?). I dream of being able to back a hitch up to the waterfront and launch a small recreational boat and spend the day in anchored in the Bay Ridge flats (a shallow area not used by ocean going vessesls). And of course - I see a ferry service - bringing workers back and forth to this location (and taking Sunset Parkers to jobs in Manhattan).

Ashley said...

cheap ferry crossings...

traghetti sulla manica said...

Ferry/promy sailing infact more interesting and comfortable than any other way of travel. I have travelled quite few times and experienced the onboard services, were really wonderful

Admin said...
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Admin said...

Ferry travel is really a great experience in everyone's life and particularly during the sunset, the ferry crossings are very thrilling.