Astoria, Long Island City, Transportation
Dec 09, 2016

Updates On the Incoming Ferry Service, Citywide Ferry

An update on the status of the new ferry system coming in 2017, Citywide Ferry.

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Last month, PIX11 published a report on the new ferry service coming to NYC, called Citywide Ferry. The article/report answered some questions, but raised some others, so I did a little research.

So yes, it’s going to be called Citywide Ferry (boring, but no argument here that it’s short and to the point) and the first areas getting the new services will start Summer 2017. And that includes Astoria, which comprises three stops—Astoria, Long Island City North, and Roosevelt Island. South Brooklyn and Rockaway routes will also be implemented in the initial phase. On a personal note, I’m very happy to see the Rockaways get full time, robust ferry service—their transit options are less plentiful than Astoria’s, and it just makes sense to implement one there as the peninsula gets developed. All routes will end up at the 34th Street dock and eventually further south on the Manhattan waterfront.

Locations, Locations

In case you’re wondering where the heck “Long Island City North” is, the ferry dock will be at the northern end of Gantry Plaza State Park. The choices were this location or at the end of 44th Drive, which really isn’t that far from the northern tip of Gantry Park, so you could look at it as more or less 6  of one/half dozen of the other.

Cathy Nolan is quoted in a QNS article about her concern regarding noise in the area—ferries blow their horns (makes sense that the company running these ferries is called “Hornblower”). She said, “After having some concerns and reservations about placing a second ferry stop in Gantry State Park, I believe that with the cooperation of both city and state agencies we can continue to expand ferry operations while preserving both park land and green space for our communities. I will continue to monitor this situation to ensure Gantry State Park is not negatively impacted by this arrangement.”

As we reported in the past, the Astoria ferry dock will be located just south of the Astoria Houses and north of Socrates Park. The Roosevelt Island dock will be on the south side of the island, likely to serve the incoming Cornell Tech campus that’s going to be there.

And What’s Happening to the East River Ferry?

One question I had on my mind was regarding the fate of the East River Ferry, which currently serves Queens at Hunters Point South Park. Are they getting consumed by Citywide Ferry? Are they simply shutting down their business? The word used is “integrate” and two important takeaways are: the East River Ferry routes will remain, and the fares will go down to match those of the Citywide Ferry system. Currently a one way fare is 4 bucks ($6 on weekends); with the new system, that will decrease to $2.75, the same as a one-way fare on Citywide Ferry. Transfers within the Citywide Ferry system are free, and according to the NYCEDC’s spokesman, Anthony Hogrebe, transfers between the two ferry systems will also be free. For those of you that ride the ferry now, this will be a substantial savings.

If you ride the current East River Ferry, you’ll notice that people bring their bikes on board. With Citywide Ferry, bikes will cost $1 and there will be a $20/month unlimited bike pass available. At the writing of this article, it is unknown what the cost will be for an unlimited 30-day pass for humans. However, we know it will be tiered for general, children, seniors and people with disabilities; young children under 44 inches in height will ride free.

What You Get

Below is their list of features/amenities (click to enlarge). The ability to pay with your smartphone will be very handy and convenient; buying a ticket at home or en route to the ferry vs. having to track down a kiosk is really practical for those with a smartphone. Of course, there will be wi-fi as well as charging stations.

citywide-ferry-features

Image credit: Citywide Ferry

All in all, this sounds pretty exciting. Nicer form of transportation, affordability, and hopefully a lack of “showtime” on the ferries. Plus, it’s coming to serve the far western side of Queens many more years earlier than the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX).

We’ll update you with more information as we get it.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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