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Lawmakers Demand Funding For Brooklyn-Governors Island Ferry

Without the funds, there will be no ferry service from Brooklyn to Governors Island starting in July 2024.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes, center, urged Albany to fund ferry service from Brooklyn to Governors Island. Photo: Supplied/Office of Senator Gounardes

State Senator Andrew Gounardes, Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, and Council Member Lincoln Restler joined local community organizations at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 last week to call for funding for the Brooklyn ferry service to Governors Island in this year’s state budget. 

The Trust for Governors Island only has funding to offer ferry service from Memorial Day through the end of June this year, and no funding at all to run it in Fiscal Year 2025, according to a news release. 

Clare Newman, president and chief executive officer of the Trust, said expanding access to Governors Island for all New Yorkers is a critical part of the group's mission, and state funding for Brooklyn ferry service will help make Governors Island accessible for all, according to a news release.

"Governors Island is a unique New York treasure: a place where we can enjoy precious green space, offer educational opportunities for kids, showcase local artists, and study our changing climate," said Gounardes. "Providing frequent, easily accessible ferry service is crucial to making sure New Yorkers can enjoy all the opportunities this space offers, which is why I'm pushing so hard to ensure ferry funding is included in the final state budget."

Since 2010, the Trust for Governors Island has offered seasonal weekend ferry service from Brooklyn between May and October. In 2021, the Trust expanded this service to include Red Hook/Atlantic Basin and Brooklyn Bridge Park. These ferries are free for kids, older adults, military service members, IDNYC holders, and NYCHA residents. Of the nearly 1 million annual visitors to the Island, 43% arrive using free ferry fares. 

In prior seasons, the Brooklyn ferry service saw an average ridership of 10,000-15,000 riders per month from May through October. Residents from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Flatbush, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Kensington, and South Slope are all included in the ten zip codes in Brooklyn that most frequently ride these ferries.