2007-07-20 / Front Page

Ferry Petition Sailing Around On The Internet

By Brian Magoolaghan

Anew petition in support of ferry commuter service from Rockaway to Manhattan is circulating in cyberspace.

More than 850 people have electronically "signed" the petition, which is posted on the website www.RockawayFerry. com. The site, which started collecting signatures in late June, features a picture of a ferryboat with "Rockaway Ferry" added to its hull.

TWFM Ferry Inc. and New York Water Taxi are behind the petition, according to the website on which it is posted. TWFM owns and operates the American Princess Cruises and charters tours on other vessels throughout the tri-state area. One of the principals of the company is Tom Paladino, a Neponsit resident and longtime Rockaway ferry proponent.

New York Water Taxi is well-known for its signature boats, which are detailed like Big Apple's Checker cabs of yore.

We "are working together to deliver to you, our fellow residents, what we have all waited so long for - a Rockaway Ferry," the petition page says.

Paladino told The Wave this week that he's hoping the petition gives TWFM and New York Water Taxi an edge over the other companies in the running.

"The more we get the better," Paladino said. "It may sway them."

"We've been working on this for seven years," Paladino added. "We're trying to do this right and sustain it beyond the trial run."

He says the companies can go to work as soon as October 15.

RockawayFerry.com also has a "latest news" section, where TWFM posts information about the city's Request for Expressions of Interest process, which is part of Mayor Bloomberg's push for a private, subsidized ferry from Riis Landing in Roxbury to lower Manhattan by 2011.

"TWFM Ferry Inc. and New York Water Taxi entered into the bidding war together as a team in hopes of being awarded the opportunity to make your ferry a reality," says one update on the site. It also says the companies are "willing and able to commence service sooner rather than later."

Companies interested in providing commuter ferry service in the Rockaways had to file with the Economic Development Corporation by June 21. Janel Patterson, a spokesperson for EDC, declined to disclose which companies filed or say when a selection would be made.

Stacey Sherman, a spokesperson for New York Water Taxi, was not available to comment.

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