View Full Version : Ferry to the Rockaways

June 5th, 2003, 09:45 AM
June 5, 2003

To Rockaway by Water, Without Owning a Boat


Manhattanites seeking to hit the beaches this summer will soon have a new option: a 45-minute boat ride to the Rockaways.

From June 14 through Labor Day, New York Waterway will run a pilot program of weekend ferry service to the Rockaways. The experiment will help determine the feasibility of a weekday commuter ferry service.

The summer service will cost $26 round trip for adults and $13 for children. Twice each weekend morning, a ferry will depart from the New York Waterway terminal at East 34th Street, will make a stop at Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport, and will dock in the Rockaways at the Coast Guard station at Beach 169th Street, near the Marine Parkway Bridge access in Jacob Riis Park.

A free shuttle bus will take passengers around Riis Park, which has nearly a mile of ocean beach, or to Fort Tilden (just west of the park) or Floyd Bennett Field (across the Parkway Bridge). Two ferries will return to Manhattan in the evening.

New York Waterway is paying for a nonexclusive agreement with the National Parks Service, which operates Jacob Riis Park, Fort Tilden and Floyd Bennett Field, said Arthur E. Imperatore Jr., president of New York Waterway.

"We were the only ferry service who stepped up, because it is a bit of a risk," said Mr. Imperatore, adding that the boats travel up to 30 miles an hour and can carry 150 passengers.

New York Waterway began running weekend ferries to Sandy Hook in New Jersey several years ago, he said, "and now we sell out on most nice-weather weekends."

Beachgoers using public transportation can get directly to Riis Park using the A Train and a bus transfer, at a cost of $2 each way. But the trip can be much longer that way, as can driving to the park in weekend traffic.

United States Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Democrat whose district includes the Rockaways, said that the weekend service was a crucial first step in bringing commuter service to the Rockaways.

But, he added, New York Waterway would not automatically be the operator. He said he was expecting federal financing for the purchase of three ferries for commuter service from the Rockaways by day, and to supplement the Staten Island Ferry at night.

But Mr. Imperatore said he hoped he would be chosen to run the commuter service, which could be operating within a year if a ferry stop is also built at Floyd Bennett Field, which has large parking lots and is close to the Belt Parkway.

"A commuter ferry just from Riis Landing would not work," he said. "But put one in Floyd Bennett Field too, and the whole thing makes tremendous sense."

Mr. Imperatore said the Sandy Hook weekend service had developed into a very successful commuter line to Manhattan.

"We're literally testing the waters by running these vessels, learning routes, tide and current conditions and assessing comfort levels, which is valuable in judging the potential for a commuter service."

Jonathan L. Gaska, the district manager of the community board that covers the Rockaways, said he hoped the weekend service would lead to a commuter line: "We're glad the beach ferry's coming. You got to crawl before you walk."

The Queens borough president, Helen Marshall, echoed that sentiment and added: "You're going to have Manhattan people finding out that the Rockaway beaches are wonderful. I call it the Hamptons West."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

June 5th, 2003, 10:56 AM
The Marine Parkway Bridge. View northwest across Jamaica Bay
from Jacob Riis Park. The coast guard station is to the left of the bridge. Across the bridge to the right is Floyd Bennett Field. *

To those unfamiliar with the area, you would be amazed that you're in NYC. Riis Park was once a naval air station, and to the west the army base Fort Tilden.

The National Park Service took over the land, and most of Jamaica Bay (including Sandy Hook NJ, and areas in SI) in 1974 to create Gateway National Recreation Area, the first urban national park in the US. Total acreage is 27,000, more parkland than all the parks of NYC combined.

Fort Tilden has returned to it's natural state, including the beach. Some photos.



Artillery bunker. When an arms limitation treaty in 1923 reduced the number of battleships, 4 16 inch guns were transferred from the navy to the army. Two bunkers here and two in Fort Hancock at Sandy Hook defended the entrance to NY Bay.

View west from the top of the bunker. In the late 50s early 60s, Nike anti-ballistic missles installed here protected NY from nuclear attack.

June 5th, 2003, 11:58 AM
Great shots, nice news.

I see that bridge every day from school. It doesn't look as dull as it does in the picture.

June 5th, 2003, 01:54 PM
Zippy, don't you want to share some of your photos with the site? Their quality is certainly good enough.

June 5th, 2003, 02:04 PM
Christian, thanks for the compliment, but I'm not sure what you mean by sharing. I thought that is what I was doing.

June 5th, 2003, 02:06 PM
I went there last year for a friend's barbecue, and the place is absolutely beautiful. The former army base has buildings where the bathrooms and kitchens are still very much intact, and easy to use. Better yet, the beach is highly pristine and had few people while I was there, if any, unlike the infamous Jones Beach LOL :biggrin:. It's a shame we didn't have bathing suits, otherwise we'd jump right in.

(Edited by Agglomeration at 2:10 pm on June 5, 2003)

June 5th, 2003, 02:19 PM
Zippy, I guess you haven't visited the Website Support section recently. You should take a look.

June 5th, 2003, 02:27 PM
Yes, that helped. Clear as a bell now. I'll post a message for Edward.

February 25th, 2010, 06:23 AM
City to stop Rockaway ferry in March

BY Nicholas Hirshon

Ferry that connects the Rockaways and Wall Street will end service on March 19.
City says it serves only about 160 commuters weekdays.

The Rockaway ferry won't see its second birthday.

The city will terminate the flailing ferry on March 19, ending a short-lived experiment that carried commuters between Breezy Point, Queens, and Wall St.

The $6 ferry was subsidized with about $1.5 million in City Council funds. But the cash dried up as ridership dipped below a mandated threshold of 300 daily passengers, city officials said.

Elected officials immediately opposed the ferry's discontinuation.

"I'm personally outraged," said Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Rockaway Beach). "The Rockaway ferry is a lifeline for so many people who rely on it to get to and from work each day."

A spokeswoman for Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a key proponent of the Rockaway ferry, said that she remains "fully committed to a five-borough, year-round ferry system."

The Economic Development Corp. maintained that the ferry averaged 160 weekday commuters, with far fewer riders during weekends and the winter.

Fare collections recover no more than 30% of the ferry's operating costs, said EDC spokesman David Lombino.

As a result, the city subsidizes the ferry as much as $100,000 every month - or about $25 per rider, Lombino said.

But the ferry's operator, Tom Fox, insisted the passenger average was 176. He also said that ridership jumped 2.3% from 2008 to 2009, while ferries declined in popularity citywide.

"I saw it trending very positively," Fox said. "It has tremendous potential."

Many riders prefer the ferry, which departs from Riis Landing three times daily and returns thrice a day, over the long A train ride into Manhattan.

Susan Malley, who lives in Breezy Point and commutes by ferry to her secretarial job near Wall Street, said she might "cry" without the reliable sea service.

Asked to describe her emotions, Malley replied: "Upset is putting it mildly. They [city officials] must be joking. The A train takes an hour and a half to get to downtown alone."

Fox blamed the ferry's demise on a lack of marketing since its 2008 debut. He also bemoaned the inability to easily transfer to the subway.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, meanwhile, targeted the hefty fare.

"We're not giving up on ferry service, but we will have to see how an alternate means of transportation can be achieved with a fare that is not $6 one way," she said in a statement.

The EDC is conducting a citywide ferry study that includes Rockaway and potential landing sites in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, Lombino said.

Long Island City is among the Queens options, Lombino said, adding the city aims to start "sustainable" East River ferry service in 2011.


February 25th, 2010, 11:08 PM
Didn't even know there was a ferry. Wish it could stay open until the summer so I could at least ride it one time.

March 2nd, 2010, 02:14 PM
Fox blamed the ferry's demise on a lack of marketing since its 2008 debut.

Didn't even know there was a ferry. Wish it could stay open until the summer so I could at least ride it one time..

July 28th, 2011, 06:45 AM
Urban Fieldtrip: Do the Rockaway (Ferry)

by Andrea Marpillero-Colomina

(see article (http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog/dyn/26233/urban-fieldtrip-do-the-rockaway-ferry/) for larger versions of pics)



Snapple distribution plant featuring a 1994 mural by Elsye Taylor



Coney Island Lighthouse



Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, 1937

An hour after leaving Wall Street, the ferry docks at a small pier, just across the street from historic Fort Tilden.