Katz, Ulrich Lead Rally For Ferry
While local organizers were putting the finishing touches on their signs and ready to head down to the Rockaway Landing Ferry Terminal on Beach 108th Street for their 6:00 p.m press conference, Councilman Eric Ulrich send out the following on Twitter at 4:47 p.m.: “I’m onboard the Ferry.”
Many of those who attended said it was the perfect beginning to what was a powerful rally to urge the Mayor of New York City to make the ferry service permanent and affordable for the people of Rockaway.
“A funny thing happened on the way home from City Hall, I took the ferry here!” Ulrich said, to laughter, cheers and clapping from the large crowd. “This ferry is not a luxury, is it a lifeline to the people of Rockaway, and we cannot let them down!”
Local police has to shut down a portion of Beach Channel Drive to accommodate the large crowd and press gathered to attend the rally, but instead of being annoyed by the closure, nearly all shouted “Save the Ferry!” as they drove by, beeping their horns in support.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz was both passionate and eloquent when talking about the ferry.
“We have a document signed by every elected official and three Borough Presidents!” said Katz, the emotion evident in her voice and rising with each word. “We will keep fighting, and fighting and fighting until the Rockaway Ferry is a permanent part of the budget!”
Longtime ferry rider Laura Deckleman was one of the many longtime supporters on hand for the rally. Her photos of the picturesque landmarks she encounters on her daily rides on the Seastreak vessels are a staple for Facebook enthusiasts and have graced the pages of The Wave.
“The unity and outpouring of love and camaraderie for our ferry was displayed with utmost passion and conviction,” she said. “This was our last press conference before Mayor de Blasio completes and finalizes the annual New York City fiscal budget. We sent the message to him loud and clear that we want the ferry's operating expenses to be included in the budget and that the ferry service for the Rockaways and Brooklyn must be permanent.”
Linda Olsen-Ruscillo, who runs the “Rockaway Untied to Save Our Ferry” Facebook group that planned the rally, was too ill to attend the gathering, but remains vigilant from her Internet pulpit, urging folks to call 311 and demand permanent status for the ferry. Now, however, only time will tell the tale of the ferry, or if the Mayor will allow the service to end in October.