The Landing Reaches Land
An important milestone has been reached in the restoration of our Rockaway-Brooklyn Army Terminal- Manhattan ferry service – even though there was no public fanfare comparable to the ceremony on Jan. 25 at the site of the future ferry landing, when officials, ferry activists and other community notables signed the first piling that would later be driven into the underwater bay floor to anchor the floating barge that will serve as the docking station for the ferryboats when service does begin (The Wave, Jan. 27).
Driving by the ferry landing site this past Sunday (Feb. 12), we saw – much to our surprise and delight – that for the first time, the offshore barge has now been physically linked to the existing concrete esplanade running along the shoreline, via what appears to be a wide, sturdy metal gangway, which was not there earlier in the week. Very industrial-looking – but BEAUTIFUL nonetheless to our Rockaway eyes!
In addition, much work has clearly been done since the Jan. 25 ceremony in driving additional piles into the bay floor and attaching the floating barge to them to firmly secure it in that location, just a little bit west of the actual former ferry landing site at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 108th Street.
Obviously, much work remains to be done on the ferry dock structure before it will be ready for use – for instance, the installation of the overhead canopies on both the gangway and the docking barge itself, and of the windscreens which are to be installed on the barge for the protection from the elements of the passengers who will be using it.
But the establishment for the first time of a permanent link between the docking barge and the nearby Rockaway land is a clear step in the right direction, in keeping with the design for the ferry landings that the city had previously unveiled.
The structure is starting to resemble in some important respects the established city ferry docks at Pier 11 in downtown Manhattan and East 34th Street. It will hopefully be just a few short months – may they pass speedily and uneventfully – before our fully completed landing will be open to the public and our local commuters and other riders will confidently walk (or, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, roll) across that gangway – and onto the restored Rockaway ferry!
KEEP CALM – AND FERRY ON!