Tag Archives: ferry

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.

 

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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.”

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.”

 

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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