Tag Archives: ferry

Plans for future Astoria ferry dock revealed

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre /Renderings and charts courtesy NYCEDC

City officials revealed renderings and information about the planned Astoria ferry dock in Hallets Cove at a meeting Thursday to hear residents’ concerns about the landing, which is expected to be complete in 2017.

The new dock will be located off the promenade across from the Astoria Houses complex and will consist of an approximately 3,000-square-foot floating pier with two slots for ferries. The floating pier will have an attached, sloped walkway that connects to the promenade.

Astoria’s ferry dock will be included as part of a new citywide ferry service that Mayor Bill de Blasio first introduced during his State of the City address earlier this year, and seeks to ease public transportation issues for current and future residents of the neighborhood. More than 600 people are expected to ride the Astoria ferry each day by 2025, according to stats from the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

“Ferry service is going to provide a reinvigoration of our waterfront, but more importantly a vital transportation option,” Councilman Costa Constantinides said at the meeting. “This is not to be a luxury; we are not here tonight to talk about pleasure boating.”

The proposed ferry dock is about a 20-minute walk from the nearest train station, the N and Q at Astoria Blvd., and often residents in the western Astoria area need to ride a bus to the train. Economic Development Corp. representatives said the ferry will cut commute times down for those that live in the most western part of the community and want to travel to Manhattan quickly.

To alleviate residents’ concerns about security, gates to the dock will be locked when ferry service is closed.

Parking, which some residents believe could become a possible issue, may not be drastically affected by the addition of the ferry, according to results of an Economic Development Corp. survey.

The data shows that 90 percent of people will walk, bike or take the bus to the ferry, while only about 30 people would park in the neighborhood to use the water vessel.

Not everyone was convinced. Some believe it may give an option for residents who live further east to use Astoria as a parking lot and take the ferry when going to Manhattan.

“If they’re interviewing ferry riders in Manhattan, yes, no one is driving to ferries in Manhattan, but it’s a little quieter around here,” said Astoria resident Jonathan Corbin. “There is parking available, although minimal. There is some concern that it’s going to be very disruptive for residents.”

Another possible issue brought up was the potential clash between ferries and kayaking in Hallets Cove.

Constantinides said they are looking very closely at this situation and want a lively waterfront with a variety of uses, although little information was given at the event about how kayaking would be affected by ferry routes as well as what protections might be put in place for kayakers.

“That river belongs to everybody,” said local kayaker Jean Cawley. “Kayaks are often called speed bumps by ferry operators. I don’t want there to be a Vision Zero in 20 years for the river.”


Why the city plans to build a second Long Island City ferry dock

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map and chart via the NYCEDC Citywide Ferry Study

The city plans to build a second ferry dock on the Long Island City waterfront to cope with the overwhelmed 7 train and a projected flood of new residents to the neighborhood in years to come.

The new stop will be a completely new dock separate from the existing Hunters Point terminal, which is part of the East River Ferry network, but will be necessary as thousands of new housing units are completed in the area.

The proposed citywide ferry system Mayor de Blasio unveiled earlier this year shows the new ferry stop, called Long Island City – North, which is already receiving cheers from residents and experts, although it won’t be operational until 2017.

“Expanding ferry service along the lengthy LIC waterfront is a must and in fact we need two more stops, not one, to maximize the benefits of our waterfront both culturally and economically,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the nonprofit Long Island City Partnership.

The new landing doesn’t have a definite site yet, according to a representative from the city’s Economic Development Corporation. But the city is “working closely with property owners to determine the exact location,” which will be a newly constructed landing paid for from a portion of the $55 million for the citywide ferry system capital investments.

That’s the official word today, but the EDC’s September 2013 Citywide Ferry Study indicates that the Long Island City – North dock would be somewhere near 47th Road and Center Boulevard. This is notable, because the nearest train station, Vernon Boulevard on the No. 7 line, is about a 10 minute walk away.

It will be beneficial for future residents, especially since the population will balloon in coming years.

More than 10,500 residential units will be built by 2018 around the proposed Long Island City – North ferry landing, according to the Citywide Ferry Study.

LIC north stats new

The study also forecasts that the Long Island City north dock to the Pier 11/ Wall Street stop would be the most popular for riders in the proposed new ferry routes, accommodating an estimated 1,542 daily patrons by 2018, because of “ambitious development projects.”

Despite the potential of the ferry service, residents don’t want the city to believe just implementing more ferry service will be the only thing they can do to improve transportation for the booming neighborhood.

“It’s critical that these transportation policies are part of a whole strategy, not just separate transportation pieces,” said Long Island City resident Jeff Foreman, who is a member of the Hunters Point Civic Association. “In our neighborhood each piece must be analyzed for its impact on a transportation infrastructure that is otherwise totally dependent on the 7 train, which simply has insufficient capacity for what is here and currently being built, much less the tens of thousands of units being planned along the 7 line.”


New ferry system will benefit burgeoning Astoria waterfront

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy of Councilman Vincent Gentile

Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to create a citywide ferry system, including a dock along Astoria’s waterfront, will boost interest in the already hot neighborhood where industrial properties are being gobbled up as possible new residential projects.

In his State of the City addressMayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a $55 million plan to expand citywide ferry service that will make stops around the five boroughs, including Astoria, Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, the Lower East Side, Coney Island, Soundview in the Bronx, and the Rockaways.

The Astoria ferry dock was already included as part of the huge Astoria Cove project, which, together with the nearby Hallets Point mega development, will bring about 4,000 new apartments in the area.

Besides those larger projects, the burgeoning Astoria waterfront is littered with development plans for older properties, and former industrial buildings are being marketed for development sites. Some experts believe the inclusion of another transportation option will be a positive addition for the growing neighborhood.

“When I was growing up in Astoria, that area was not known as a safe neighborhood,” said Astoria native Minas Styponias, who is also an agent with BuySell Real Estate in the neighborhood. “It’ll definitely become an area where people will want to go.”

Styponias added, “It will be a little slow start until those towers get built there. Then there will be an increase in the ridership, and it will be well worth it for the city’s investment.”

De Blasio expects to have the Astoria ferry running by 2017. He said there will be an estimated 4.6 million trips each year and a ride on the new waterway system would cost the same as a subway ride.

The Astoria waterfront is underserved in public transportation, which traditionally plays a big role in real estate. As more of the city becomes accessible to the waterfront through the ferry, real estate professionals expect to see prices increase as the area becomes more popular.

“I think the ferry is great news for Astoria, and will definitely add some value the area,” said Eric Benaim, CEO of real estate firm Modern Spaces. 

Rockaway residents are also happy for the return of ferry service to their neighborhood, but officials have criticized the two-year wait for the service to restart.

While I am encouraged by the news and what it means for the future of Rockaway, our families and small businesses are suffering today and need service implemented immediately,” Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder said. “Our ferry dock at Beach 108th was disassembled and shipped away overnight. It should not take two years to bring it back.”


What to do if there is an LIRR strike

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Subways, shuttle buses, and even ferries– the MTA is pulling out all the stops to supplement LIRR service in case 5,400 workers strike starting on July 20.

As contract negotiations with unions continue to fall apart and the impending LIRR strike draws closer each day, the MTA released its contingency plan Friday to address the 300,000 riders that would be stranded daily with the loss of the train service.

Most of the MTA’s plans focus on Long Island customers, but there are resources and tips for riders from Queens and other boroughs.

There will be 4,000 free, secured parking spots at Citi Field and an additional 3,000 spots at Aqueduct Racetrack, where drivers can drop their cars and then take the No. 7 or A trains to work. Through social media and digital platforms, such as Twitter and a LIRR mobile app, agency officials plan to update riders on how many spots are available in the lots and traffic conditions.

The transportation agency also hired 350 school buses, which lack air condition, to shuttle riders from stations in Long Island to the No. 7 train near Citi Field, the A train in Howard Beach, and also the M and R train station on Woodhaven Boulevard. The buses will run from Long Island into Queens between 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. and return to Long Island from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

There will also be ferry rides that can carry 1,000 passengers per day from Glen Cove to 34th Street in Manhattan on 40 minute rides. But the MTA warns that parking near to the ferry is very limited.

The MTA is encouraging riders to telecommute if they can work from home. According to officials, about 18,000 workers already plan to do so.

Through its free lots and shuttle buses, the transportation agency estimates it can handle about 15,000 passengers daily, more than double the 7,000 passengers daily from the 1994 LIRR strike contingency plan.

“When the LIRR unions went on strike in 1994, Long Islanders had very limited options. There were no park-and-ride lots, no ferries, no real-time monitoring, no telecommuting,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. “Today, the MTA has a far stronger, more robust, multifaceted plan. Working with the state and elected officials from across Long Island and the city of New York, we are providing more shuttle buses, thousands of parking spots near subway stations, a ferry service, real-time traffic management and real-time parking monitoring.”

The MTA doesn’t yet know how much per day the contingency plan will cost, and officials said they hope not to have to use it.

For more details on the plan, click here.



Rockaway ferry service no longer funded

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File photo

The city has left Rockaway Ferry service dead in the water.

The $75 billion budget the City Council approved on Thursday had $2 million for the extension of ferry service through October but after that there is no more funding.

“I am severely disappointed in Mayor de Blasio and the Economic Development Corporation for ignoring the transit needs of southern Queens and Rockaway families,” Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder said in a statement after the budget was approved. “Like every other borough in the city, we deserve an affordable, efficient and reliable means of transportation.”

The ferry service began after a bridge connecting the A train and the Rockaways collapsed in Superstorm Sandy. In a letter signed by all five borough presidents before the budget was approved, the politicians urged the City Council to put more funds in the service to make it a “major form of transportation.”




Ferry runs aground in Jamaica Bay

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Updated 5:20 p.m.

A Seastreak ferry ran aground near the eastern end of Jamaica Bay Wednesday afternoon.

The 65-foot long boat was on a private excursion with 29 people aboard, including 25 local Rockaway residents and business owners, and a few crew members, when it became stranded around 12:30 p.m., according to officials and the ferry company.

There were no injuries and the passengers were unloaded from the vessel and taken to a wharf just west of the Cross Bay Bridge, near where the incident happened, the FDNY said.

The ferry was moving at about 2 knots (1 mile) per hour when it ran aground in the eastern area of the bay after the captain noticed shallow water and slowed down the boat, Seastreak said.

The vessel did not appear to suffer any damage, and remains stuck in the water until it can float freely during the next incoming tide.

“I am told the boat encountered an uncharted shoal.  We are sorry this happened and that our guests were inconvenienced.  Thankfully, no one was injured,” Seastreak Spokesman Tom Wynne said.

Seastreak said the accident’s cause is still being investigated.




New outdoor cafe begins to bring local menu to LIC waterfront

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Wade Zimmerman

Passengers on the East River Ferry will be welcomed with a tasteful Queens experience once they dock into Long Island City’s Hunter’s Point South Park.

The owners of COFFEED, a café located at 37-18 Northern Blvd., have opened a brand-new 160-seat outdoor café called LIC Landing by COFFEED right on the Long Island City waterfront under the pavilion at the park.

The site features a walk-up window where customers can order, table service available for dinner and on weekends, and a dedicated 2,000-square-foot event space.

Although a grand opening is expected in the next two weeks, starting May 21 customers have been able to stop by the location and try items off the menu, which LIC Landing owners are slowly rolling out.

“We’re super excited to be here,” CEO and founder Frank “Turtle” Raffaele said. “This is a spectacular park and certainly puts Queens on a bigger map. It’s one of the best views of New York City and people come to Queens and want to have a great experience. We want [visitors] to have a very solid Queens experience.”

Once the full menu is available café patrons will be able to enjoy full menu items including sandwiches, salads, pastries, COFFEED’s specialty coffees and teas, craft beer and wine, while enjoying a view of the Manhattan skyline.

All the food sold at LIC Landing is made from local ingredients and continues COFFEED’s partnership with Long Island City’s rooftop farm Brooklyn Grange. The names of the menu items are all also inspired by the borough’s streets, subway lines and famous residents.

“Everything is very Queens-focused. The ingredients are from Queens, flavors from Queens, the vibe is Queens,” Raffaele said.

The event space is available to host occasions for community organizations and private events, such as weddings, birthday parties, fundraisers and much more.

Keeping with COFFEED’s continuous contribution to local charities and groups, 3 percent of LIC Landing’s revenue will be donated to the nonprofit Hunters Point Parks Conservancy.

“We want to add a little more to the park. We want it to be for Queens people and for everybody, and give them all an experience of Queens they’ve never had before,” Raffaele said.

LIC Landing will be open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. On weekdays table service is available from 5 to 10 p.m., and on weekends from 12 to 10 p.m.



LIC community voices outrage against upcoming No. 7 train suspensions

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Long Island City residents and business owners are telling the MTA enough is enough.

The No. 7 train will soon be going through another round of suspensions causing it to not run in parts of western Queens and Manhattan for more than a dozen weekends this year, starting in the end of February, according to a notice from the MTA.

This news again upset residents, business owners and local politicians who gathered in front of the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue subway station on Friday to tell the MTA they are fed up with the constant disruptions and the lack of notice.

“Real people’s lives are affected in real ways here, this is not a game,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “This is about human beings, they’re trying to survive and the MTA is trying to kill us. We’ve got to stop this now.”

From February through July, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized, the transit agency said. There are nine tentative weekend shutdowns scheduled for August through November.

Business owners are tired of potential financial losses, residents are sick of longer commutes and local politicians just want the MTA to finally listen to their ideas and communicate with the neighborhood.

“It outrageous and all we are asking for is the opportunity to be heard, to present some common sense ideas that we have presented to them year after year after year,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who has suggested the MTA offer a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city. “The MTA needs to listen to us once and for all.”

Rebecca Trent, LIC resident and owner of The Creek and The Cave on Jackson Avenue, said the area has grown by 500 percent and the suspension will only make business owners’ jobs harder.

“I don’t know how I’m going to survive this, I do not know and neither do many of my neighbors,” Trent said holding back tears. “What they are trying to do to this neighborhood is disgusting, we deserve better, enough is enough.”

Along with the shuttle service through the Midtown tunnel, Trent also said that in order to compensate the Long Island City community for the “irresponsible shutdowns,” the MTA should give local businesses, who will suffer, free ad space at the E and G subway stations and on the trains.

Richard Mazda, artistic director for The Secret Theatre, said he has had to put up with the disruptions to his business every single year and has faced problems during the annual LIC Arts Open festival, with artists and friends not being able to attend.

“You must have known that you were going to do this work, you have stage managed the release of this information so that we couldn’t fight you, but we will,” Mazda said to the MTA. “This is like the worst movie you have ever seen.”

The latest round of work, including continued installation of Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), replacement of critical track panels and reconstruction inside the Steinway Tube under the East River, is expected to modernize, improve a fortify the Flushing No. 7 line, according to the MTA. The work will also include tunnel duct reconstruction and replacement and improvements on components damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

“We understand that these service disruptions are inconvenient to the customers who depend on the No. 7 train and we appreciate their patience,” said MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco. “We have made every effort to schedule these project simultaneously to get as much work done as we can during these periods.”



Community Board 11: Potential ferry good, just not here

| mchan@queenscourier.com

The city’s plans to push for ferry piers in metro waterfronts would not sail well with a local community board if the Bayside Marina is chosen as a landing site.

Community Board 11 voiced concerns against the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) proposed revisions to its Waterfront Revitalization Program (WRP), which includes plans to install ferry landings throughout the five boroughs.

District Manager Susan Seinfeld said the community board supports the citywide initiative for mass waterfront transportation, but felt the potential location of a ferry terminal at the Bayside Marina would have a negative impact on residents directly across the marina, as well as Little Neck Bay.

“This is all hypothetical because no one said there would be a ferry there,” Seinfeld said. “What [the community board] is saying is that if there was a proposal for a ferry there, that would be a problem.”

Seinfeld said Little Neck Bay waters are too shallow for ferries to safely travel through. There is also no place for vehicles to park at the Bayside Marina, she said.

“[The community board] did not believe that it was a logical place should anyone propose it,” Seinfeld said.

A DCP spokesperson said there is no ferry proposal for Little Neck Bay.

The WRP is the city’s key coastal zone management tool, establishing the city’s policies for development and waterfront use. A new, comprehensive waterfront plan was reissued by the DCP in early 2011 to lay out a 10 year blueprint of the future of the city’s waterfront, which includes creating and mapping a new designation to be called the “Priority Marine Activity Zone” to promote waterborne transportation such as piers for ferry landings.

Community Boards 2 and 8 voted to approve the proposed revisions during a June 28 public hearing held by Borough President Helen Marshall.

Drug mill on residential street shut down, $400,000 of “Blackberry” heroin off the streets

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

TLC Recruits College Students In Driver Refusal Crackdown

The Taxi and Limousine Commission has come up with a resourceful way to crack down on drivers who refuse fares. They have recruited college students to help nab drivers who don’t want to take people to their destinations. So far more than 360 drivers have been hit with $500 fines as a result of the stings. Since September, the students have hailed more than 1,300 cabs with drivers refusing to take them to either Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens or Upper Manhattan about 27 percent of the time. Drivers who spoke with NY1 say they’re being unfairly trapped. Read More: NY1


Staten Island Ferry workers are sued over sexual harrassment by former worker Jennette Suarez


She used to swab the decks of the Staten Island Ferry but now Jennette Suarez wants to wipe the floors with her former male co-workers, who she says turned the fleet into sexually-charged floating frat houses. Read More: Daily News


What Would Judy Say?™

Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Queens Courier Exclusive


Bronx drug mill on residential street shut down, $400,000 of “Blackberry” heroin off the streets 

Two NYPD “Operation Clean Halls” signs are posted in the lobby of a well-kept Cruger Ave. building where an apartment was used to package “Blackberry” heroin in glassine envelopes stamped with a likeness of the popular smartphone . Nearly $400,000 worth of heroin was seized and six pushers arrested this week after a two-month investigation brought down two drug mills in the tree-lined Pelham Parkway section, leaving residents shocked and scared. Read More: Daily News


Renewed hopes for a High Line-like greenway in Queens 

Encouraged by the success of the High Line in Manhattan, a group of Queens park advocates are rebooting a proposal to rehabilitate an abandoned rail line into a greenway. The old Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road, which went out of service almost 50 years ago, stretches from Rego Park to Ozone Park, cutting a swath through Forest Park. Read More: Daily News


Judge says let’s swear in witnesses and get to truth in challenge of Tejpal Singh’s 1996 murder conviction

A Queens judge indicated Thursday he’ll have to swear in witnesses to resolve a serious challenge to the murder conviction of a Sikh man now serving 25-years-to-life for a 1996 drive-by shooting. Queens Supreme Court Justice Judge Michael Aloise said the issues raised by attorneys for Tejpal Singh must be resolved at a hearing where witnesses are questioned under oath. Aloise implied that a hearing would be necessary after lawyers for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown filed papers defending the original conviction and attacking the effort to free Singh. Read More: Daily News