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Marooned! City: Gov Island not busy enough yet for full-time Brooklyn ferry

Scuttled: The city's new ferry boats won't be setting sail for Governors Island in the near future.
Brooklyn Paper
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No sail!

City honchos say they won’t be launching a hotly anticipated year-round, daily ferry connection between Brooklyn and Governors Island anytime soon, despite previously saying they could start one when their city-wide boat-transit service begins next year. Officials now claim the island isn’t popular enough to warrant the extra leg yet, and say they won’t weigh anchor until there are more year-round businesses and attractions there.

“It’s always been a plan for that to be an option that we can activate when the time is right,” said Maria Torres-Springer, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which will operate the new ferries. “We have the ability to do it, it’s just a question of when it makes the most sense.”

Ironically, the news comes just as the agency is launching a new campaign dubbed “Gov Island 365,” urging New Yorkers to suggest ways it can make the island a destination “where you could work, learn, and play year-round.”

Brooklyn residents and pols have been doing that for years, calling for a permanent vessel to the island’s stunning parks, historic sites, and the New York Harbor School, which relocated from Bushwick to Governors Island in 2010.

In October last year, one of Torres-Springer’s colleagues said the city could create the route the same time it opens five new ferry stops between Brooklyn Heights and Bay Ridge in January 2017, so long as the operator it selected for the gig was offering to do it for the right price. The city included a route between Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island, and Red Hook as an “option” for 2017 in its own maps.

But a spokesman now says money was never the issue — the island needs more development before the service will be worthwhile.

“It’s not an issue of cost, it’s an issue of logistics,” said Economic Development Corporation rep Anthony Hogrebe.

Hogrebe wouldn’t say if a Governors Island leg was part of eventual winner Hornblower Cruises and Events’ pitch, but said that the city is in talks with the new skipper now about starting the route “when it makes sense.”

He added that the route will make the most sense once the island is a year-round destination. But for that to happen, of course, people need to be able to get there.

Currently, Brooklyn-to-Governors Island ferries only run on weekends from late May through September. Otherwise, island hoppers — including the more than 400 students who make the trip to the maritime-themed Harbor School from September through June — have to catch a boat from the outer borough of Manhattan.

The Harbor School was designed to help struggling students chart a new course in careers on the water, and officials last year said a connection to Brooklyn would help more of those kids in Kings County access the specialty institution.

Pols serving the borough’s shoreline nabes wrote a letter to Mayor DeBlasio in March last year urging him to include a Governors Island leg in the new ferry system — and say they’re still pushing Hizzoner to keep it at the top of his list.

“It’s important that EDC recognizes year-round ferry access to Governors Island remains a community priority,” said state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights), who put his John Hancock on the letter alongside Councilmen Steve Levin (D–Brooklyn Heights), Brad Lander (D–Carroll Gardens), state Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) and others. “As Governors Island continues to grow, it’s critical that Brooklyn’s access also grows.”

The island’s first year-round public amenity — a day spa — will open next year.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Unfortunately, this route is seasonal because the tourists will go to that area every summer, unless there will be resources that will be critical to go year round in the considerable future.
Sept. 9, 2016, 11:32 am
HONEY Pooter from Williamsburg says:
If government Island isn't busy enough, why don't these politicians get to work?!?! Why do we pay them to do nothing? Sit on their fat butts all day long.
Sept. 9, 2016, 2:31 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
Unless the city puts additional tourist attractions in Governor's Island in the considerable future, then the tourists will only go there during the summer only.
Sept. 10, 2016, 12:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I have a feeling that Governor's Island might need more than some major tourist attractions to get full time ferry service.
Sept. 11, 2016, 3:24 pm
Dan says:
Cross country skiing in Governor's Island would do very very well
Sept. 12, 2016, 9:27 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
In which I will be surprised that the Mayor will be using billions and dollars of our own taxpayer money for mix-use development for his "fantasy" ferry system, including the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront along the East River as well as Governor's Island in the considerable future, which could pleased the peal estate developers year round.
Sept. 12, 2016, 1:43 pm

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