2003-11-07 / Front Page

Rockaway ‘Attractive’ For Ferry Service

Rockaway ‘Attractive’ For Ferry Service

Ferries such as this may one day run from Rockaway to Manhattan.Ferries such as this may one day run from Rockaway to Manhattan.

A ferryboat builder/operator said, after a visit to the peninsula last week, that he is ready to try out a Rockaway to Manhattan commuter service as soon as possible.

"If I can get the necessary permits, and dock and parking arrangements in place, I could start the run before the holidays," said James A. Barker, of the Rhode Island based Newport Multihulls. But that’s a big "if."

Barker said he wants to dock the ferry at Riis Landing, but Gateway National Recreation Area spokesperson Brian Feeney said there have not been any negotiations.

"All [Barker] did was come down and take a look at the dock….we don’t even know if they have any interest," Feeney said.

Barker said he has an extra catamaran ferry that could be used to "open a new market." The cat, called the Ocean State, has airline seating, a full bar, and is handicap accessible.

"It’s a very plush boat," Barker said, adding that it can reach Manhattan from Riis Landing in about 30 minutes.

The cost of a one-way ticket would be around $10 with a discount for round trips and for purchasing a book of 20 trips, Barker said.

"It’s hard to estimate without knowing what possible fees may be charged for docking rights and other possible costs in New York," Barker said.

The Ocean State provides subsidized service between Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, from May to October. Barker’s first plan for the off-season was to lease the catamaran to either New York Waterways, the company that provided weekend service between Riis Park and Manhattan last summer, or New York Water Taxi, but they didn’t have the need, he said.

Barker’s Rockaway express run would dock at Pier 11, right off of Wall Street in Downtown Manhattan. Depending on ridership, he could run between four and eight roundtrips per day.

Congressman Anthony Weiner’s office would only confirm that they were contacted about the service. At press time Barker was working on the logistics of establishing a route.

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