Albanese Commits To Keep Ferry Sailing
Boarding the 5:35 p.m. Seastreak boat at the Pier 11/Wall Street dock in lower Manhattan, the Democratic primary contender spoke with commuters on board about a number of topics, most importantly the future of the ferry itself.
When asked if he would commit to continuing the service if elected mayor, he stated “I absolutely support it.
“I see the ferry as being an economic driver for the city.”
Cruising along on out of New York Harbor, Albanese explained that “especially the Rockaways and the outer boroughs are transportation starved.”
He also pointed toward the idea of operating several ferries to various points, noting that improving transportation is a centerpiece of his campaign and vital to the health of the city.
When asked if the city would have funds to support a regular service, he replied “We have a $70 billion budget. We can find room for ferries.”
Albanese spent the remainder of the brisk 45 minute ride introducing himself to riders, most of whom were returning from work. He found out the commuters give the ferry high marks.
“I actually live in Far Rockaway,” one man said. “I drive over to the location (at Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive) to take it. I’d rather do that than take the A train.”
Echoing this comment on the earlier ride in was ferry advocate Phil McManus. Passing along the Rockaway coast, he said, “You don’t get this view on the A train.”
Both the inbound trip to Manhattan and the return trip to Rockaway carried a large number of passengers. The large main cabin as well as the indoor and outdoor areas of the upper deck were nearly filled on the Manhattan to Rockaway trip.
Longtime supporters of a Rockaway ferry, McManus and Joe Hartigan had invited Albanese to make the ride.
McManus noted that many of the ferry passengers on board were tourists who had spent the day in the Rockaways. He spoke with many of them.
“I am a great believer in tourism,” he said.
“And,” he continued, “if you have more transportation options, you have more jobs, more opportunities …for schools, for services, for living.”
Hartigan and Albanese spoke about the possibilities for expanded ferry services, such as establishing a regular line from JFK airport to Manhattan.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stated continuation of the subsidized ferry past September will depend on ridership numbers.
While glad to have the ferry as an option and pleased to hear Albanese supports it, one woman expressed a wait and see attitude.
Hoping New York City candidates would stick to their commitments if elected, she said “Anybody who is running is going to say, yes, I am for the ferry. But then will they keep it going and how are you going to pay for it?”