RWA’s Last Effort To Save The Ferry
Last week school groups from Manhattan descended upon the peninsula in a last ditch effort to encourage the city to reconsider cutting ferry service to the Rockaways. The trip was arranged between Rockaway Waterfront Alliance and the present ferry operator, Tom Paladino, who, an RWA spokesperson said, was generous enough to treat the students and their teachers to an end of the year boat tour from Wall Street to Marina 59. The American Princess pulled into Beach 59 Street, where they were met by the Urban Park Rangers, who gave the students a tour of the Piping Plover Sanctuary along the beachside. The students and their teachers were excited to come by boat for their day at the beach.
While the trip seemed bittersweet due to the city pulling the plug on the service, the school group was just one of many that reach out to RWA annually requesting educational tours of the peninsula and the event seemed like an obvious way to encourage the city to reconsider cutting service.
The trip was critical to show city officials and skeptics alike how accessible Rockaway can be for the thousands of people who otherwise wouldn’t have ferry service as an option for commuting. This, in addition to the countless individuals, specifically children, who could benefit from educational tours of Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways.
RWA Executive Director Jeanne DuPont said, “It seems unbelievable that the city is not taking a closer look at servicing the Rockaways in areas like Arverne where there are hundreds of new residents in Arverne By The Sea, Ocean Bay housing and public transportation via subway or bus. In addition to offering commuters another option, service like this could also bring economic development in the form of eco tourism and environmental education as well as important waterfront access that will be necessary when emergency evacuation is required on the Peninsula in the future. It just doesn’t make sense why the city can’t figure out how to bring service to the Rockaways that really serves more of the community.”