Starting today, the Brooklyn Navy Yard has its own NYC Ferry stop, connecting Central Brooklyn with Astoria through one of the country’s most beautiful waterways, said an excited Councilmember Robert Cornegy at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday.
“I am just so excited about the fact that there are alternative means of transportations for this borough which gets incredibly populated over and over again,” said Cornegy. “It’s important for us to have alternatives that get us connected to employment in other parts of the city. So I am excited that my constituents won’t be limited for jobs and travel because of not having enough transportation.”
The new ferry landing at the base of the Navy Yard’s Dock 72 is part of the Astoria route which includes stops at Astoria, Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, East 34th Street and Wall St./Pier 11. The added service offers a new commuting option for 10,000 Navy Yard employees as well as the surrounding neighborhoods along the waterfront, including over 14,000 NYCHA residents, like Darold Burgess, tenant association president of the nearby Ingersoll Houses.
“I think this is great,” said Burgess. “The transportation from Astoria to Brooklyn has been horrendous, I’ve been traveling that route for years. And on the waterways, it’s a faster commute while you get to see New York City. It’s a pleasure for children, too, that they get to experience the city in that way. And my wife, she doesn’t like to travel underground, so this is just a wonderful way for her to get around.”
The ferry landing is publicly accessible by walking through BLDG 77, which is located at the intersection of Flushing and Vanderbilt Avenues. The route will offer 10-minute direct service between the Navy Yard and both Wall Street and 34th Street for $2.75 per ride, the same cost as a subway ride. The only downside: MTA MetroCards are not accepted.
“One of my constituents just told me this morning, that even though she lives in the immediate area of this new ferry stop, what prohibits her from using it is that she can’t use her MetroCard,” said Cornegy. “So I am advocating that the MTA changes that.”
When the ferries will accept MetroCards is unclear. The New York City Economic Development Corporation, the city organization that launched the ferry system, is currently “in active discussions with the MTA to determine if fare integration (or fare acceptance) with the future generation of the MTA’s fare collection system is feasible,” referring to a new fare payment system called One Metro New York that MTA is expected to roll out by 2023.
Certain is, however, that the new stop is part of a larger $100 million ferry system expansion which includes the addition of two new routes that will run from Staten Island and Coney Island in 2021, and the modification of existing routes in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Launched in May 2017 with 21 landings throughout New York City, NYC Ferry has served nearly nine million riders to date across the East River, Rockaway, South Brooklyn, Astoria, Lower East Side and Soundview routes.
The new service also comes right on time as the Navy Yard undergoes a $1 billion expansion, its largest since WWII, which will add 11,000 jobs to Yard’s existing 9,000 in the next few years, said BNY President David Ehrenberg.
“In an extraordinarily short time, the city’s ferry system has established itself as a really vital transportation option for New Yorkers,” said Ehrenberg. “And as the Yard continues to grow, — we are at 10,000 jobs today, and we will be at 20,000 jobs in the next few years — this will be a critical part of the infrastructure for what we believe is a real central business district in its own right.”
Additionally, the manufacturing hub also serves as NYC Ferry’s homeport, where the fleet is housed and maintained, bringing more jobs to the Yard, Ehrenberg added.