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Thread: New York Water Taxi Ferries

  1. #1

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries

    New York Times reports:

    December 19, 2001

    On the Busy Ferries, It's Steady as He Goes


    It is midmorning on a gray, cold day, and a full load of passengers is spilling out of the ferry at New York Waterway's Midtown terminal from Weehawken, N.J. Let's say that again. It's not even rush hour, and the ferry is packed.

    Arthur E. Imperatore Jr., an athletic-looking guy in a forest green overcoat, is waiting at the West 38th Street terminal, mulling over the ferry schedule in his head. He enters the wheelhouse and tells the captain to hold a downtown boat for him and two visitors. You can do that sort of thing when you're the boss.

    And Mr. Imperatore is Mr. Ferry Service. At 38, he's the president of New York Waterway, the largest privately owned commuter ferry operator in the country. Before Sept. 11, Mr. Imperatore was already sitting on top of a big transportation trend: ferries have become a crucial way to move people across the Hudson River and around New York City. Now, with subways off kilter and the PATH train out beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center, ferry business is booming.

    Mr. Imperatore's boats carried 32,000 passengers a day before Sept. 11, and now there are nearly 60,000 a day. His company has chartered ferries from up and down the Northeast coast, including whale-watching boats from Massachusetts. The service is running 35 boats during rush hour.

    "If Sept. 11 had not happened, we would have reached this level of ridership in five to six years, but we reached it almost overnight," says Mr. Imperatore, boarding a ferry for the five-minute ride to Weehawken, where the company is based. "It has raised the awareness of a lot of new people about the capability of ferries. They're not a toy. They're serious transportation and to a large extent they've helped hold Lower Manhattan together in the last three months."

    Mr. Imperatore, a real estate lawyer, took the job of company president nearly six years ago from his father, a trucking and real estate magnate who was considered nuts by transportation professionals when he started the ferry company in 1986.

    His multimillionaire father, a grocer's son, is famous for his street savvy and fiery temper. But the younger Imperatore is reserved, yet friendly. He attended St. Paul's, a boarding school in New Hampshire, then studied at Yale and Harvard, where as a doctoral candidate in American history he considered a teaching career.

    As head of a company that is all about nautical transit, the funny thing is that Mr. Imperatore has never been drawn to boats. He loves to fly single-engine planes, something he gave up after he became the father of four children.

    "But I do love the waterfront, and I love what I'm doing," he says. "It's unique, historic and making a lasting contribution to the future of the city and the region."

    Mr. Imperatore is focusing much of his attention these days on building the 400-employee ferry business. One project that intrigues him is a new proposal to transform a 90-year-old New York Central Railroad float bridge at the foot of 69th Street into a landing for small, high-speed ferries. He sees a chance to create a new commuter ferry to Lower Manhattan.

    "It's still at a very early stage, but we're in touch with the Riverside Park South people to let them know of our interest," he says, noting how the company has a similar service on the East River from East 90th Street to Wall Street.

    Mr. Imperatore, whose last name is Italian for emperor and pronounced im-PER-a-tor by the family, is now standing in Weehawken's main terminal, Port Imperial. He is on his cellphone, telling an employee that a ferry route map on display is six weeks out of date and needs replacing. His company has added seven routes since the trade center attacks.

    IN the landscaped waiting area near the commuter parking lot, he is kneeling to scoop up an old plastic water bottle and stuffing a discarded newspaper wrapper in his pocket. "This is a very detail-oriented business," he says. "Another part of my job description is picking up litter. We're a very hands-on operation."

    Back on the water again, we're heading to Lower Manhattan, this time on a high-speed catamaran that seats 150 passengers. As Mr. Imperatore surveys the altered skyline, he says it still makes him do double-takes. The ferry passes Battery Park City, where he and his wife, Marian, an architect, had lived for eight years before moving to Englewood, N.J.

    Recalling Sept. 11, Mr. Imperatore talks a lot faster and absent-mindedly wrings his hands. He saw the south tower collapse as he guided a vessel at top speed toward downtown to help out. That day, his ferry service evacuated about 160,000 people from Manhattan.

    On this day, though, the waves are gentle, the air smells pleasantly marshy; all is serene on the bobbing boat. "There is something almost spiritual about being on the water," he says. "It gives you a moment of peace and reflection."

    Like that historian he never became, he muses on the ferry's role in the building — and rebuilding — of New York City.

    "When the history of New York City and the New York Harbor is written 25 to 30 years from now, I think people will look back on the ferry industry as one of the major factors in the development of the 21st-century city," he says. "The river is changing from being a barrier into both a highway and a commons around which whole new communities are being developed."

    The view of the New York Waterway's ferry and Manhattan from the Alexander Hamilton Park in Weehawken, NJ.

    The gantry of the float bridge of New York Central Railroad at 69th Street in front of the 160 Riverside Boulevard at Trump Place

  2. #2

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries

    From Derecktor Shipyards:

    [ Mamaroneck , NY ] -- New York Water Taxi (NYWT) recently took delivery of “MICKEY MURPHY”, the first of a series of 53’ passenger ferries built by Derecktor Shipyards. With these bright yellow boats sporting a black and white checkered trim, the NYC operator will enhance waterborne transportation for New York City residents and the 16 million tourists who visit the major attractions on the West Side , Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn waterfront each year.

    Designed by Nigel Gee & Associates, the new Water Taxi is an all-aluminum catamaran with a low-wake hull and a top speed of 25 knots carrying 54 seated passengers. The vessel is a bow-loader and the passengers walk directly from the bow into the cabin located on the main deck. An ADA ramp allows easy access for wheelchairs, which are accommodated in dedicated spaces in the main cabin. The fully heated and air-conditioned cabin has 54 comfortable seats by Beurteaux (with a total capacity of 75 passengers), a small bar aft and an ADA compliant toilet. Large windows assure ample visibility and a central row of outward-facing back-to-back seats allows passengers to enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape during their ride. The open top deck has a removable seating arrangement for use in excursions and summer cruises. Two Detroit Diesel Series 60 engines, giving out 600 horsepower at 2100 RPM through Twin Disc gears, power the ferry.

    Tom Fox, president of New York Water Taxi, spearheaded the project and put a tremendous effort into the coordination with various city and state authorities involved in the new service and the organization of the vessel routes and operations. “New York Water Taxi is very excited about bringing this service to New Yorkers and being involved with responsible utilization of the city’s waterfront as a transportation resource. “ The flexible multi-use vessels can land at a myriad of business, recreational and residential locations around Manhattan with minor modifications to existing piers.



    Vessel Description...............................Low Wake Passenger Catamaran
    Naval Architect.................................. Nigel Gee & Associates
    Builder........................................... ..... Derecktor Shipyards
    Hull Material...................................... Aluminum alloy
    Superstructure.................................... .Aluminum alloy
    Accommodations.................................54 Seated (75 max.)
    Engines………..……………………. 2 x Detroit Diesel Series 60, 600 BHP, keel cooled
    Total capacity……………………… 54 Seated (75 max.)
    Class……………………………....... Small Passenger Vessel For Use On Protected Waters Only. USCG, Subchapter "T", Rivers

    General Dimensions

    Length Overall………………..……. 53.3'
    Beam Overall…………...…...………19'
    Draught …………….…….....………. 4'

  3. #3

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries
    Water Transit: Our Urban Future?

    Opinion By Neal Peirce
    Special to
    October 21, 2002

    NEW YORK--A small fleet of jaunty water taxis, 53-foot catamarans painted yellow with a checkerboard strip reminiscent of Manhattan's old Checker cabs, has begun to ply the waters daily between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
    Are these boats harbingers of choice and change in urban transportation, an alternative to the gridlock, fumes and frustration of normal land routes?

    Zipping on a clear, windy Saturday morning from Brooklyn's historic Fulton Street landing, past the Brooklyn Bridge, catching a great view of the Statute of Liberty, touching in quickly at Battery Park City, the World Financial Center, Chelsea Piers and West 44th Street--all within a few minutes--I turned into a true believer.

    New York already has big ferries bringing thousands of workers from New Jersey and Staten Island to Manhattan. But Tom Fox, New York Water Taxi founder, and his billionaire backer, real estate mogul Douglas Durst, have an even wider vision.

    With their speed and flexibility, Fox and Durst believe, high-quality water taxis can fill a vital niche, not just serving tourists and commuters but bringing new life and connectivity to sometimes-isolated neighborhoods and helping open up new parks and cultural institutions along the waterfront.

    I've known Fox since the 1980s. A Navy gunner in Vietnam, he's a civic idealist and glad warrior for smart, green, people-sensitive waterfront development. He fought Westway, the proposed mega-highway development on Manhattan's West Side. On a task force formulating a replacement plan, he struggled for a green esplanade running beside the boulevard replacement. He then became president of the Hudson Park Conservancy, drawing up the master plan.

    Today major elements of the new park--4.5 miles long, 550 acres, dotted with 14 public piers, esplanades, bikeways and pathways--are coming into place. And Fox's water taxis--specially designed with low-wake hulls and spunky but environmentally friendly engines--are running right along it.

    It's an especially sweet moment for Fox, because he'd tried water taxi service in 1997 but failed for lack of sufficient backing or powerful enough equipment. With Durst's hefty financial support, the prospects are now brighter. Plus, Lower Manhattan needs radically improved transportation links to complete its post-Sept. 11 recovery.

    On the fiscal side, there's the market of the millions of tourists who continue to pour into New York--even more now to visit the World Trade Center site, directly on Fox's route. Looking across North America, seeing how many cities are situated by oceans, lakes or rivers, it's hard to believe water transportation--catamarans, hydrofoils, monohulls and others--won't be flourishing in the next years. The reason is not just traffic congestion.

    Technology breakthroughs are permitting the boats to travel at greater speeds with less environmental impact, while water transit is now eligible for federal assistance under new funding laws.

    Plus fun and convenience. Take the 25-minute commuter boat run from Hingham, 17 miles south of Boston. In lieu of sitting an hour or more ``on the perpetually snail-like Southeast Expressway,'' notes The Boston Globe's Paul Kandarian, commuters can avoid all the angry drivers, smoke-belching trucks and blaring horns, enjoying ``clear sailing all the way into the gut of the city's financial district.''

    Of the 3,800 daily Hingham ferry commuters, many use the ride for a cup of coffee, to work on their laptops, or just watch magnificent views of the Boston skyline, the harbor islands, planes peeling off into the sky from Logan Airport, or on occasion, spottings of harbor seals or porpoises.

    Across the continent, the San Francisco Bay Water Transportation Authority is well into a 10-year plan that will have 70 ferries operating out of 28 terminals.

    From Seattle's fabled ferry fleets to proposed service on the Intracoastal Waterway at Palm Beach, Fla., from Louisville, Ky., to Lake Tahoe, Nev., proposed new ferry and water taxi services are sprouting up broadly.

    Finer boats clearly do make a difference. Fox's new catamarans, for example, have quality seats in a big-windowed all-weather compartment, an outside viewing area, a bar and electronic displays showing the stops.

    But I like New York Water Taxi for another reason. Its homeport is Brooklyn's Red Hook, a hardscrabble neighborhood cruelly isolated by highway and bridge construction a generation ago. Water taxis now give Red Hook direct access to Manhattan, boosting appeal for new families and investment.

    Still, directly across from the Red Hook mooring for the bright new yellow taxis is a pier crumbling into the water--a reminder of New York's tough years of waterfront decay.

    Fox has named the new catamarans after New York civic heroes. One, the Mickey Murphy, is in honor of Mary Ellen Murphy, a New Yorker who fought passionately (until her death last January, at 84) for preserving working waterfronts, even while opening them to the public. How fitting!

  4. #4

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries

    New York City water taxi company takes off


    (October 21, 2002) — NEW YORK — Tom Fox’s taxi cruised toward Wall Street at 28 mph, cutting through waves rather than traffic.

    “It’s a lively ride,” said Fox, president of New York Water Taxi, which ferries passengers along the Hudson River and around lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. The water taxi service was launched on Sept. 25, two weeks after the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

    All around Manhattan, ferry ridership has grown since the attacks. The region’s largest ferry, New York Waterway, has seen many thousands more daily riders in the past year.

    So far, New York Water Taxi’s three yellow, checker-painted vessels carry about 300 people on an average day. Each can accommodate up to 54 passengers on padded indoor seats, plus 20 seated on the upper deck.

    Water Taxi was launched with a $4.5 million investment from real estate mogul Douglas Durst.

    The most efficient ride is from the stop just under the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan -- a 2 ø-minute scoot across the East River that cuts the alternative subway commute time by about half.

    The current six-stop route traces Manhattan’s shore from West 44th Street in midtown to the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn.

    Fares vary depending on the time of day and the number of stops, with a one-way, one-stop trip costing $3 during rush hours (and $2 as part of a 10-trip booklet). A trip covering the entire route is $8, and an off-hour, single-stop ride costs $4.

    “When you’re out on the water, you really feel the might of New York City. You remember that this was once a bustling commercial harbor,” said Katie Dixon, who works as an architectural designer in the Wall Street neighborhood.

    Several times a week, she takes the new ferry three stops to her health club. Before, she used the subway or a cab, which took longer.

    “The water taxi to me is a great way to enjoy your day while you’re going to work,” said Vince McGowan, who manages various buildings in Manhattan.

    By next year, Fox and Durst plan to add another handful of stops to the Water Taxi route, taking in Manhattan’s Upper West Side as well as stops for Greenwich Village, Tribeca and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. Three more boats are under construction.

  5. #5

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries

    New York Water Taxi website is at

    Need to get around New York? We've got just the ticket.

    New York Water Taxi has ticket options to suit every need and every budget. Tickets are available at each of our landings and onboard the boats.
    Commuter Service.
    Commuter service is available Monday through Friday, from 6:30am–9:30am and 4:30pm–7:00pm. Skip the traffic, the train, the bus and the chaos of getting to and from work. Pick up one of our commuter tickets and travel in speed and comfort for just $3.00 each way.

    Midday Service.
    Monday through Friday, from 9:30am–4:30pm
    Saturday 11:00am–8:00pm
    Sunday 11:00am–8:00pm

    All-Day Pass.
    Hop on and off New York Water Taxi at any time during a 24-hour period with our All-Day Pass. Adults: $15/Seniors 65+ and Children 12 and under: $12

    Fun Pass.
    Want to go beyond the waterfront? Our Fun Pass allows you to hop on and off our boats and use the MTA bus and subway system to access the entire city. Adults: $19/ Seniors 65+ and Children 12 and under: $16

    One-Stop/One-Way Ticket.
    If you’re just taking a short trip, from one stop to the next, our One-Stop ticket is the way to go. All ages: $4

    If your trip is a bit longer and you’ll be going one way for more than one stop, our One-Way Ticket is the one for you. Adults: $8/Seniors 65+ and Children 12 and under: $6

  6. #6

    Default New York Waterway ferry

    The view of midtown Manhattan from New York Waterway ferry crossing Hudson River.

  7. #7

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries

    New York Water Taxi and Perry West condominiums.

    New York Water Taxi at World Financial Center's North Cove Marina.

    New York Water Taxi leaving Fulton Ferry Landing.

    New York Water Taxi approaching Pier 11 in downtown Manhattan.

  8. #8

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries

    I love those little yellow boats.

  9. #9
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries

    I'm really glad to see that people seem to be using them. This really would be great for the city if it really took off as a prime means of transportation.

  10. #10

    Default New York Water Taxi Ferries

    New York Water Taxi boat leaving Pier 63 Maritime stop, with fireboat John J. Harvey docked at the pier.

  11. #11


    September 17, 2003

    U.S. Will Give City $5 Million to Cut Air Pollution by Ferries


    Over the last few years, thousands of smoke-spewing buses on New York City streets have been rebuilt and cleaned up, leading to the reduction of tons of dangerous diesel soot.

    Yesterday, a coalition of city, state and federal officials announced that money would now be spent to try to clean up a different type of transportation: privately owned harbor ferries, which are much bigger and are starting to appear with much more frequency around the city.

    The Federal Transit Administration said it would give $5 million to a program, which it describes as the first in the nation, that would look for ways to clean exhaust from 40 diesel-powered ferries, reducing dangerous emissions by 75 to 90 percent. State and federal officials said the goal was to reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxide by 150 to 300 tons a year and of tiny diesel particles by 30 to 90 tons a year.

    Officials said the program, to which the city has directed an additional $1.8 million in federal pollution-reduction funds, was especially needed because of a huge increase in ferry ridership since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack. Private ferry traffic has doubled, to 1,000 trips a day, in the last two years, the city has said.

    Unlike city buses, ferries are not covered by government emissions standards, and none of the ferries in New York Harbor are equipped with pollution controls, according to Environmental Defense, a national nonprofit group. Diesel emissions have been found to contain cancer-causing compounds and are believed to worsen asthma conditions.

    Jane M. Kenny, the Environmental Protection Agency's regional administrator for New York, said that while federal regulations would soon reduce emissions from new ferry engines, the city must figure out how to clean up the fleets of ferries already in service by using cleaner fuels and new filtering technology.

    "We have to be concerned about the nitrogen oxide and fine particulates that these ferries emit into the air," Ms. Kenny said yesterday.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  12. #12



    August 30, 2003 -- New York Waterway is raising fares on its main ferry routes between New Jersey and Manhattan - and shutting down an East River route.

    The 15 percent fare increase kicks in Monday. The Weehawken, N.J.-based company says the extra money is needed to continue expanding what has become the largest commuter ferry operation in the country.

    The Port Authority has authorized New York Water Taxi to pick up the dumped route, which runs between Hunters Point in Queens and Wall Street, with stops in between. It was to end yesterday.

    New York Water Taxi will begin operating the route Tuesday.

    "We got about 200 phone calls, e-mails and petitions," said Tom Fox, president of New York Water Taxi.

    New York Waterway spokesman Pat Smith had a simple reason for giving up the routes: "No one was riding them. The total number of people on all three routes on an average workday was 450 people."

    Despite New York Waterway's failure to make the routes a success, Fox believes the smaller scale of water taxis, which seat only 74 passengers, gives his company an edge.

    "This fits right into our business model," said Fox. "We think we can succeed where others have failed. We think we can market it better, cut some of the costs, and make a business out of it."

    Post-Sept. 11, the ferry service was subsidized by the government on those routes. The subsidies ended three months ago.

    "We ran 90 days without subsidies," said Smith.

    NY Waterway, which now operates 46 boats, has doubled its business over the past two years. It saw substantial increases in ridership after the terrorist attacks and ridership has soared since then from 30,000 passengers per day to more than 62,000.

    However, the company also has come under increasing scrutiny, including a federal investigation into its use of almost $30 million in government subsidies to pay for extra service after 9/11.

  13. #13


    New York Water Taxi on a new route from E 90th Street to E 34th Street. Queensborough Bridge in the background. 20 September 2003.

  14. #14
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New York City


    Will New Jersey commuters still use the ferries after PATH service is restored?

  15. #15


    New York Water Taxi approaching the Hunters Point stop in Queens, with Empire State Building and Chrysler Building on the other side of East River.

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