Canarsie to mayor: Keep your promise about ferry service

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The city must keep its promise and consider adding Canarsie as a stop on the recently launched city-wide ferry system, local pols are demanding. Mayor DeBlasio vowed to a roomful of Canarsie residents last year that he would put their seaside neighborhood “on the table” for future expansion — but no progress has been made since then, and now that the first boats have set sail, it’s about time he looks into the possibility, said Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Canarsie).

“It would be a very good idea. When the Mayor was in Canarsie last September he had indicated they would consider Canarsie,” said Maisel. “I take him at his word that they are going to. They promised they were going to consider it.”

Canarsie was omitted from the city’s 2013 ferry feasibility study, which did include Floyd Bennett Field in Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay, even though neither were considered viable options at the time.

Now the Economic Development Corporation — the agency spearheading the ferry service — admitted the city has not made any headway on expanding to Canarsie since Hizzoner’s pledge, but again promised it would be included in the next possible study after the full rollout is complete in 2018, according to a department spokeswoman.

Canarsie Pier — which is in the Gateway National Recreation Area, and thus owned and operated by the National Parks Service — lacks the infrastructure needed to dock ferries and safely host lines of riders waiting to board. But that’s nothing a little bit of cash can’t solve, said Maisel.

“They would have to do something — have to have a place to accommodate the people, some infrastructure, maybe build a building and have a place to sell tickets,” he said. “Everything could be done with money, no physical problems that cannot be overcome.”

And Borough President Adams — who has long advocated for bringing a nautical option to transit-starved nabes like Canarsie — is willing to provide some of the dough needed to build proper infrastructure, The Beep said. The impending shutdown of the L train, which transports straphangers from Canarsie into Manhattan, makes bringing the ferry system to Canarsie even more imperative, he said.

“I’m happy to see we are starting, but it’s imperative to me that all of Brooklyn is serviced, particularly in transportation-strapped areas like Canarsie,” said Adams. “The L is going to be offline for a period of time, that’s going to impact Canarsie residents, and so we need to think differently of how we can get people to and from Manhattan, and this an opportunity,”

Canarsie residents are waiting with all hands on deck for the ferry to cruise their way, said Maria Garrett, president of the Fresh Creek Civic Association.

“Yes absolutely, I have to take the bus and trains — that’s my only way of transit,” she said. “I was just coming home last night and one of my neighbors, she was saying, she can’t wait for the ferry to come to Canarsie.”

The National Parks Service is open to discussing how to accommodate service to Canarsie Pier, according to a spokeswoman for the federal agency, but straphangers will still have to wait a few years, said a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corporation.

“We’re currently focusing our efforts on initial rollout of NYC Ferry for this year and in 2018,” said Stephanie Baez. “If ridership demand is high and service is successful, then we may be able to consider other opportunities for expansion to more communities.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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