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Thread: New York Water Taxi Ferries

  1. #61

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/13/nyregion/13ducks.html

    October 13, 2005
    Make Way for Ducks, in Manhattan?
    By PATRICK McGEEHAN

    Visitors to Midtown Manhattan can get around by almost any conceivable mode of transportation. There are pedicabs, double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages and bicycles built for seven.

    But there are no ducks, not yet, anyway.

    Unlike Boston, Philadelphia, London and dozens of other cities around the world, New York City does not offer tourists the pleasure of paying around $25 to cruise the streets in an amphibious bus, known as a duck, that ends its journey by splashing into the nearest body of water. Manhattan is lacking a crucial ingredient in the recipe for ducks: it has no boat ramps within five miles of Times Square.

    New York Waterway, the biggest operator of commuter ferries between the city and New Jersey, hopes to fix that deficiency by building a ramp at Pier 78, at the west end of 38th Street, to accommodate a fleet of buses that float. But first the ferry company has to deal with criticism from competitors and community groups that oppose adding to the cacophony of western Midtown.

    The local community board has asked the Army Corps of Engineers to hold a public hearing on the duck ramp before deciding whether to approve it, said John Doswell, co-chairman of the waterfront and parks committee of the board, Manhattan Community Board No. 4.

    "Right from the get-go, the concern the board had was yet more traffic in an area we feel has got way too much traffic already," Mr. Doswell said. As for being invaded by ducks, he said, "It all sounds a little strange, but I guess they figure people will pay money for this experience."

    Indeed, people probably will. Each year, more than one million of them ride the vehicles, encouraged by guides to quack like ducks or blow kazoos as they bounce and bob along.

    A few entrepreneurs have been studying ways to launch the ducks in Manhattan, and one startup, Big Apple Ducks, is considering hauling tourists from Lower Manhattan to Red Hook, Brooklyn, to plunge into the harbor. Carrie McIndoe, the president of Big Apple Ducks, said the company had bought three amphibious vehicles, called TrolleyBoats, that it hopes to start operating in Manhattan and Brooklyn by the spring.

    But Gray Line, which runs dozens of open-top sightseeing buses all over the city, is trying to head off Big Apple Ducks by forming a partnership with New York Waterway. The Imperatore family, which controls the ferry company, would own and operate the ducks, while Gray Line would handle sales and marketing of the tours, said Tom Lewis, president of Gray Line New York.

    The Imperatores have ordered eight amphibious buses that could navigate the clogged streets of Manhattan, then roll down the ramp for a quick float in the tricky currents of the Hudson River. Some duck operators use reconditioned military troop carriers that were nicknamed ducks during World War II. (Those boats have had several accidents, and one sank in Arkansas six years ago, killing 13 people.)

    The New York Waterway group is planning to buy a modern model, known as a Hydra-Terra, that is manufactured near Rochester, holds 45 passengers and costs about $200,000.

    Since May, two of them have been rolling into the Hudson in Albany, one of the latest entrants in the duck-tour derby. Bob Wolfgang, the president of Albany Aqua Ducks, said the Coast Guard would not allow a restored military duck to operate in the Hudson because its tides and currents are too strong.

    He said the Hydra-Terra's have been "very reliable" and operated without incident on the 75-minute tours, for which he charges adults $22 and children $12. He said he sent one of his ducks down to Weehawken, N.J., in the summer so that New York Waterway officials could kick its tires and spin its 26-inch propeller.

    The Corps has not decided whether to hold a public hearing on the duck ramp plan, said Richard Tomer, chief of its regulatory branch in New York. He said last week that the company had not told him where the ducks would go once they entered the river or exactly what kind of vehicles they would be. Their seaworthiness, he said, would be left to the Coast Guard to judge.

    The ducks might also require approval by the city. The plan for duck tours in Manhattan is just one of the projects the Imperatores have in the works to reverse their fortunes. Their ferry company was on the verge of bankruptcy at the end of 2004, and averted failure only by selling half its fleet to a company controlled by William B. Wachtel, a lawyer and leading fund-raiser for Fernando Ferrer's mayoral campaign.

    New York Waterway continues to manage both halves of the ferry operation and is seeking to expand by adding routes up and down the Hudson. It is also is seeking permission from the Army Corps to land commuter ferries at Pier A, a 120-year-old structure controlled by Mr. Wachtel that juts into the Hudson River at the north end of Battery Park.

    Donald J. Liloia, the chief operating officer of New York Waterway, said he believed that as many as 1,000 people would ride ferries daily between docks in Hudson County, N.J., and Pier A. Most of those passengers, he said, are now crossing under the river on PATH trains to the rebuilt World Trade Center station.

    The number of riders has been increasing lately, as high gasoline prices have spurred some commuters to drive less, but the number of passengers so far this year still trails behind last year's, Mr. Liloia said. He said he hoped to attract new riders when the city opens the West Midtown Ferry Terminal, the glass-walled structure it has built at the west end of 39th Street. The terminal is scheduled to open later this year.

    New York Waterway, which raised fares last week on trips to and from its West 38th Street terminal by 25 cents, will need more help from the government or new sources of revenue to turn a profit, Mr. Liloia said.

    But in addition to the community groups and competitors standing in the way of its ambitious plans, the National Park Service and city officials have joined a chorus of complaints about the Pier A proposal.

    In a letter to the Army Corps, Cynthia Garrett, who supervises the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for the Park Service, expressed concern about the effect a ferry dock would have on the operation of boats that take visitors to the statue. Joanne G. Imohiosen, an assistant commissioner of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, called the plan unacceptable. New York Waterway's ferry operation, she said, would "intrude over the property line of Battery Park."

    Mr. Tomer, of the Army Corps, said he planned to bounce the Pier A proposal, along with the duck ramp plan, back to the company this week in the hope that it can assuage some of its critics.

    Getting one's ducks in a row, he said, "is generally speaking a good thing for applicants to do before they submit plans to us."

  2. #62
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    Ferry Business Is Suffering Even as New Terminals Open

    By PATRICK McGEEHAN
    Published: November 17, 2005

    A visitor to any of the grand new ferry terminals in and around Manhattan might conclude that the region has a thriving commuter-ferry business. That assumption would be mostly false.

    While public agencies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars building terminals for the boats, the few private companies that operate them are racking up losses and struggling to maintain service. The surge in the cost of diesel fuel has swamped them, forcing price increases that make them less competitive with other forms of mass transit.

    Yesterday, the BillyBey Ferry Company, which has taken over some of the Hudson River routes, said it would tack on a surcharge of at least $1 per round trip between New Jersey and Manhattan to cover the higher cost of fuel. The one-way fare for the most popular trip, an eight-minute ride from Hoboken's train station to Battery Park City, will rise to $4 from $3.50 on Dec. 1.

    That announcement came as another operator, New York Water Taxi, continued suspension of its service across the East River, at least through the weekend, because of a shortage of boats. A third company, SeaStreak, began searching for a buyer for its high-speed commuter operation based in Monmouth County, N.J., SeaStreak's parent company, Sea Containers Ltd., says it will lose almost $3 million this year.

    On Monday, Water Taxi took over the service SeaStreak had been providing between South Amboy, N.J., and Lower Manhattan, using its two larger boats and one leased ferry. But it immediately raised the price of a 40-trip ticket by almost 20 percent, and ridership declined by 40 percent.

    "It's just been a nightmare," said Tom Fox, president of Water Taxi, referring to recent mechanical problems, compounded by the high cost of fuel.

    But, with a few exceptions, public officials do not appear too concerned. They are generally holding to their oft-stated position that if they build the ferry terminals, the ferries will come. A $56 million terminal opened last month on the west side of Midtown, and another terminal is scheduled to open in Weehawken, N.J., this winter. It cost $55 million.

    Just last week, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued a request for proposals to operate ferries between Yonkers and a $69 million terminal the Port Authority is building in Battery Park City. Although the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is offering more than $3 million in federal financing to the chosen operator, the document states in bold-faced type, "The Port Authority is not using its own funds to subsidize the operations of this service."

    Still, officials of the authority and virtually every other agency with interests in and around New York Harbor frequently declare their support for ferries, especially in times of emergency, such as Sept. 11 or the occasional blackout.

    David Yassky, a New York City councilman who has been pressing for financial support for ferry operators, called the prevailing policy incoherent.

    "Mass transit doesn't work if it's not subsidized," he said.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg approved a $150,000 subsidy to maintain ferry service between the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Manhattan, but city transportation officials have refused to spend it, Mr. Yassky said. That allocation could have covered the losses that Mr. Fox said Water Taxi has sustained on that route.

    For the past week, Water Taxi has not had enough boats to provide service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. One of its boats was damaged by a fire that broke out on Nov. 7 while the boat was carrying nine passengers to Jersey City, Mr. Fox said. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the fire and has suspended the operating license of another Water Taxi boat because it failed an inspection, a Coast Guard spokesman said last week. A third Water Taxi boat is having its engines replaced.

    Those losses have left Water Taxi with just three of its six smaller boats, and Mr. Fox said he chose to use them on Hudson River routes, which he said had more potential to become profitable. Water Taxi, which is controlled by Douglas Durst, a real estate developer, is in its fourth year of operation and has yet to break even, Mr. Fox said.

    "We have had to triage the two intracity services that we operate, both of which are not yet profitable," Mr. Fox said. "We look forward to a more comprehensive public policy as it relates to support for water-borne transportation."

  3. #63

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    New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
    Ferry service to Manhattan
    to resume
    BY WARREN WOODBERRY JR.
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
    Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

    It costs even more one-way than a gallon of gas, but some well-heeled, hurried Queens-to-Manhattan commuters may consider it: a ferry ride between Hunters Point and midtown.

    On Monday, New York Water Taxi will resume its East River crossings at Hunters Point, with one-way rides for $5.50 between Hunters Point and Pier 11, and one-way trips between Hunters Point and the 34th St. pier for $4.50.

    Passengers aboard New York Water Taxi's unique yellow catamarans with black and white checks won't have to worry about gas prices or traffic jams as they skim across the East River. Service will run between 6:35 a.m. and 9:05 a.m., and between 4:46 p.m. and 7:35 p.m.

    Water Taxi officials predict that initially more than 200 passengers will use the ferry daily, and they expect the numbers to rise when Water Taxi Beach opens at the Hunters Point stop on May 26.

    Last year, Water Taxi Beach was a popular destination point for commuters after work, a place where they could get a drink or play volleyball on pristine beach sand.

    Ferry service has been credited for helping to reduce traffic congestion in places such as the 59th St. Bridge, while doing its part to help New Yorkers cut emissions.

    "Restoring and expanding the East River service gives me great hope that New York Water Taxi can develop a system that meets the needs of all the redeveloping neighborhoods along the East River," said Water Taxi President Tom Fox.

    Parking is available at the Hunters Point ferry terminal. The daily rate for ferry customers is $4, and the monthly rate is $60.

    Commuters who buy a monthly parking pass will receive a discount on their monthly ferry commuter pass.

  4. #64

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    http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/...p-354663c.html
    New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
    This sand is your sand
    By WARREN WOODBERRY JR.
    Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

    Commuters this Memorial Day weekend can start ending their hectic workdays by hitting the beach in Long Island City.

    Dubbed "Best Place to Pretend You're in Miami" by New York magazine, Water Taxi Beach offers a free spot in the sand, a view of the Manhattan skyline and live music and entertainment.

    There's also wireless Internet access and a tropical-drink bar. But forget the bathing suits; swimming is not allowed.

    Located at the New York Water Taxi Hunter's Point Ferry stop, the 20,000-square-foot beach oasis is just a four-minute ferry ride from the E. 34th St. pier in midtown Manhattan.

    "We're happy to be back on the Long Island City waterfront," said Tom Fox, New York Water Taxi president.

    When the free beach opens Saturday, it will also offer a volleyball court, picnic tables, monthly sandcastle-building contests for kids and food and drinks.

    Teaming with the Port Authority, the ferry operator last summer debuted its urban getaway, offering $1 beers.

    This year at the wharf there will be a 60-by-40-foot tent for shade that can accommodate up to 300 people for theater and arts events and parties. Already, the tent has been reserved for two weddings.

    "Adding the tent will allow us to host more arts and cultural events, and it provides shade and shelter for beachgoers," said Fox, former president of the Hudson River Park Conservancy.

    Harry's Sunset Tropical Drink Bar will feature fresh squeezed juices and tropical drinks and beach foods. Visitors may bring beach chairs, towels and blankets. Dogs, swimming and coolers will not be allowed.

    Water Taxi Beach is accessible by ferry with one-way fares at $5. If you're driving, there's parking adjacent to the beach. It will be open through Columbus Day, Oct. 9. For more information, visit watertaxibeach.com.

  5. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward
    swimming is not allowed.
    Water dangerous?

    Germs, pollution, chemicals?

    Or is it currents and riptides?

  6. #66
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    I choose D) all of the above.

  7. #67

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    WATER TAXI SERVICE IN WILLIAMSBURG BEGINS
    MONDAY, JULY 17th

    July 14 – Red Hook based New York Water Taxi (NYWT) will begin operating water taxi service at Schaefer Landing in Williamsburg (South Tenth Street) on Monday July 17th. The stop will be added to the company’s existing East River commuter route between Long Island City’s Hunter’s Point (home of Water Taxi Beach) and Manhattan’s East 34th Street and Pier 11. In addition, weekend service will connect Williamsburg to other waterfront neighborhoods including DUMBO, Red Hook, Greenwich Village and Chelsea

    Commuter service will bring Williamsburg resident to Wall Street’s Pier 11 and East 34th Street in midtown and operate from 6:23am – 9:23am and 4:25pm – 7:49pm each business day that the NYSE is open. Commuter fares are as follows:

    One-way ticket: $5.50
    10-trip Pack: $49.50
    Monthly Pass: $195.00 (unlimited trips)

    To inaugurate the new service New York Water Taxi will allow commuters to ride for free during the last two weeks of July if they purchase a monthly pass for August. Monthly passes can be purchased at www.nywatertaxi.com or by calling 212-742-1969 beginning Thursday July 13th.

    Tom Fox, president of New York Water Taxi stated “We look forward to providing residents of the rapidly developing Williamsburg waterfront community with convenient and reliable waterborne transportation service.”

    Williamsburg residents will also enjoy convenient weekend service to Hunters Point and all other stops along the Company’s weekend hop-on / hop off route including East 34th Street,, South Street Seaport, Fulton Ferry Landing and Red Hook Brooklyn, Battery Park, World Financial Center, Christopher Street, West 23rd Street and West 44th Streets in Manhattan. The one-way fare is $10, and a two day hop-on / hop-off pass with unlimited use is $25.

    Quickly becoming common sight in the Harbor, New York Water Taxi’s unique yellow catamarans sport black and white checks, are handicapped-accessible, offer comfortable climate-controlled interiors with upholstered seating and a small caf�/bar. The smaller Water Taxi’s s can travel at up to 28 mph and accommodate between 74 and 149 passengers on two decks. Operating commuter, tour and educational cruises New York Water Taxi carried 850,000 passengers in 2005.



  8. #68
    The Dude Abides
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    Williamsburg's Water Taxi Signals New Era

    BY LEON NEYFAKH - Special to the Sun

    July 18, 2006

    http://www.nysun.com/article/36184

    Williamsburg's tenure as "the new East Village" may have ended yesterday morning when the new ferry port at Schaefer Landing sent its first bright yellow Water Taxi on its way to Wall Street.

    Not so long ago, Williamsburg was considered a hip new frontier for Brooklyn's artists, writers, and musicians.The arrival of the Water Taxi — with its grandmotherly onboard offerings of cookies and hot chocolate — suggests that the wealthy financiers, consultants, and entrepreneurs who have recently made their nests along the waterfront are there to stay.

    "It seems fitting for that strange little corner of Williamsburg," the author of "The Hipster Handbook" and the culturally inclined "FreeWilliamsburg" Web log, Robert Lanham, said. "There's a cigar bar over there. It seems fitting that they have their own little elite taxi shuttle in the city."

    Strange though the Water Taxi may be, Mr. Lanham said he is happy to see Williamsburg changing.

    Naturally, the suited newcomers whose morning commutes to the financial district from the Schaefer Landing condominiums will now take only eight minutes are happy as well. Until yesterday, the famously overcrowded L train at Bedford Avenue provided the only public transportation route into the city from Williamsburg. Now, commuters will be able to catch hourly Water Taxis for $5 on weekday mornings between 6:23 a.m. and 9:23 a.m., and again between 4:35 p.m. and 7:49 p.m. On weekends, the ferry will run hourly between 11:08 a.m. and 6:36 p.m.

    "It's going to provide a quick transportation into Manhattan, and it'll therefore make the area more desirable," said Helene Luchnick, the executive vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman who proudly claims to have kicked off Williamsburg's development boom four and a half years ago. "In the two towers at Schaefer Landing, the monitor in the elevator will show the taxi schedule."

    Ms. Luchnick said she sees Williamsburg heading in the same direction as Dumbo and Soho, both neighborhoods which started seedy, turned artsy, and developed eventually into prime real estate for wealthy professionals. "There are still artsy types living in Williamsburg, but they're not the ones buying into the new condominiums," Ms. Luchnick said. "Every site up through Greenpoint has been sold for towers."

    Travis Noyes, New York Water Taxi's Vice President for Sales and Marketing, was reluctant to make a judgment about what the new ferry station meant for the neighborhood's demographic. The boats go to Wall Street, he said, because "that's where the docks are."

    © 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.

  9. #69

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    ^ Idyllic lifestyle.

  10. #70
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Water Taxi To Offer Service To Governors Island From Brooklyn

    May 30, 2007

    Starting Saturday, New York Water Taxi will run boats on the weekends from Red Hook and the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn to Governors Island.

    New York Water Taxi will offer one free ride on Saturday at 10 a.m. from Red Hook.

    Right now, you can only get to the island by taking a free ferry from the Battery terminal in Lower Manhattan.

    There's no word yet on how much the new trip will cost, but Water Taxi currently charges $5 for a normal one-way trip.

    Copyright © 2007 NY1 News
    http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=1&aid=70212

  11. #71

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    Urbanite

    A commute that got cheaper


    New York Water Taxi cruises past downtown. Photo from reneerwest on Flickr.

    Here’s a commute that defies the law of ever-increasing fares:

    The New York Water Taxi announced it is lowering its prices. Trips on the ferry lines into lower Manhattan from Yonkers and Haverstraw will go from $12 to $10 and $15 to $12, respectively, starting May 1.

    Savings are greater the more trips you buy. The struggling ferry line hopes cheaper seats will increase ridership, which along the line is at 2,200 people a month — low considering each trip could ferry 149 passengers.

    The service is able to keep operating costs down through public funding and grants, including one from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

    -- Garett Sloane

    Copyright 2008 AM New York.

  12. #72

    Thumbs up Water Fall Tour

    This looks like fun. Another great posting by one of my favorite WiredNY members
    Thanks Brian
    Last edited by infoshare; April 12th, 2008 at 11:29 AM.

  13. #73

    Default Hop on / Hop off Schedule

    Maybe its just me, but I'm having a hard time understanding the "Weekend: Hop on Hop off" schedule.

    http://www.nywatertaxi.com/schedule-popup/?tab=weekend

    Let's say I wanted to go from East Midtown (E 34th St.) and wanted to get off down by Battery Park. What would I have to do?

    Thanks,
    Ben

  14. #74

    Question Hop on/off NY water taxi service

    Quote Originally Posted by The Benniest View Post
    Let's say I wanted to go from East Midtown (E 34th St.) and wanted to get off down by Battery Park. What would I have to do?

    Thanks,
    Ben
    Hop off, then when you return: hop on.

    Boats pick up at each stop on a regular schedule. Your day pass allows you unlimited travel - hop on and off as much as you like. This - I think - service is a similar to how the big apple tour busses operate: you can get on/off at any location and at any time of day.
    Last edited by infoshare; April 12th, 2008 at 11:37 AM. Reason: Add Link

  15. #75

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    Thanks info, nice to be appreciated.

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