Waterlogged: Greenpoint ferry commuters left stranded by flooded access street

Greenpoint ferry commuters frequently have to find their own way across India Street — the only access to the pier — when it floods after heavy rain. Some resort to cutting zip ties off construction barriers to build a makeshift bridge while others scale a four-foot fence and climb along waterfront rocks to nearby streets, according to one resident.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

They need a ferry to get off the ferry!

Greenpoint ferry commuters have been forced to build their own escape from the India Street landing due to its namesake access street routinely flooding after heavy rain.

Water-bound straphangers have resorted to donning rubber boots and bringing along pocket knives to cut the zip ties of construction barriers, which they use to build a makeshift walkway across the cul-de-sac — which is submerged almost knee-deep at times, according to one Greenpoint resident.

“People carry pocket knives to cut through the zip ties of the barriers,” said Jonathan Vanasco, who recently posted pictures online that his wife took on her regular commute from Manhattan to the nabe at Kings County’s northern periphery. “A lot of people like to have ferry boots.”

Braver travelers even scale a four-foot fence on the south side of the pier to climb along slippy rocks on the waterfront and get to Java or Kent streets, which could lead to an accident, according to Vanasco.

“There’s no space and it’s just rocks. They get really slippery and people slip on them and have been definitely close to falling in the water,” he said. “It’s been an accident waiting to happen.”

The floods have left many less agile travelers stranded and in great distress, according to Vanasco.

“You see people who are elderly and they just don’t know what to do and they just stare at the water. People will wait it out or just depressingly go through the cold water,” he said. “People will be near tears and calling their friends not knowing what to do.”

The street has flooded after most rainfall for years, but recent construction on both sides of it has blocked off a sidewalk that used to provide ferry passengers with higher ground around the pond, Vanasco said.

The dangerous conditions recently caused the boats to bypass the stop entirely and provide Greenpoint-bound commuters with free shuttle buses instead, according to an advisory by a local pol.

“To ensure the safety of our riders, service on the East River route will temporarily bypass the Greenpoint ferry landing in both directions,” Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint) said in a May 30 Facebook post. “Until safe access to the ferry landing is available, there will be a free shuttle bus available to riders every 30 minutes between the Greenpoint and Hunters Point South ferry landings.”

Levin did not respond to this paper for further comment by press time.

Rain water used to run off into the East River but recent developments have caused the street to flood, according to a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection, who said the city is working with Manhattan-based developer Mack Real Estate Group — which erected the adjacent 40-story condo building, The Greenpoint — to address the issue by reopening the sidewalk and possibly building new stormwater sewage connection.

“Historical­ly, the stormwater has drained directly to the East River. However, recent development on the block has altered that drainage pattern. Short-term solution could be as simple as making the new sidewalk on the north side of India Street open to the public,” said Edward Timbers in an emailed statement. “Long term solution could be a new stormwater sewer connection.”

Vanasco said that the developers should foot the bill for repairing the blockages because he believes they are caused by cement seeping into the drains from the recent construction.

“Most people in the area think that the flooding is from concrete flowing into the run-offs. Concrete trucks come and hose off their trucks,” he said. “Maybe the developers should pay for it not the people.”

The DEP’s Timbers said that there was no evidence of concrete blocking the drains and that the agency is looking into the causes.

“No evidence of concrete blocking drains - our field staff are continuing investigat­ion,” he said.

A spokesman for the developer denied responsibility, saying that the draining issues were on city property, but added that real estate bigwigs are working with agency officials to install a temporary walkway in the coming days at their own cost until bureaucrats figure out a longer-term solution.

“While our development is not the cause of flooding on India Street near the ferry terminal, we are willing to help ease the pain for commuters while the city resolves the underlying issues regarding drainage on its property,” Eric Waters said in an emailed statement. “The Greenpoint would like to immediately install a temporary elevated walkway connecting the current dead end of the northern sidewalk directly to the ferry landing on the south side. This work could be completed within days presuming cooperation and support of local officials, and would be performed at our cost. We believe this would provide a clear path for commuters and demonstrate our commitment to the good of the local community.”

A spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corporation – the quasi-governmental agency spearheading the maritime transit – said that they were working with the city and landowners to resolve the issue.

“As the NYC Ferry system and riders use this landing, EDC is working with our city partners and the private developer to find a solution regardless of jurisdicti­on,” Stephanie Báez said in an emailed statement.

Vanasco says that the city should get its act together because the current situation has discouraged many travelers from using the ferry, which he says has otherwise been a boon to commuters in the neighborhood.

“We love the ferry. From our neighborhood to Wall Street it’s a 40-minute ride,” he said. “I would love for there to be a street that doesn’t flood and access for people to have a sidewalk.”

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 3:12 pm, June 5, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

The Hunkster from Bed-Stuy says:
Never underestimate the power of mother nature when dealing with crappy infrastructure at or around the flood prone ferry stops.
June 5, 2019, 10:02 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
It's a shame that there are still stupid people out there who think climate change is a myth. I like to lump them in the same group as flat earthers, anti-vaxers, and birthers. All brain dead idiots.
June 5, 2019, 10:48 am
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Forget the ferry and take your car next time.
June 5, 2019, 11:45 am
Mohammed Eid el Fatwa from Corner Bodega says:
Snow, floods, heatwaves, cold snaps, hurricanes, tornadoes - it’s called weather Henry Ford! Not every weather event needs to be blamed on the so-called ‘climate change’ fka ‘global warming’. Did you not read that the flooding is due to the construction issues nearby? You are one sick brainwashed Leftard!!!
June 5, 2019, 12:12 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I told you they're all brain dead idiots. And this one is a racist Islamophobic dirtbag too! Hey "Mohammed" (it's spelled Muhammad, stupid) the earth is round, like your obese body.
June 5, 2019, 12:40 pm
Douda says:
Climate change is not necessarily man-made. The debate is whether or not it is a natural cycle or man-made. Al Gore flies his private jet while lecturing everyone else. Limousine liberals.
June 5, 2019, 12:44 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
There is no debate you dullard, it's happening whether you believe it or not.
June 5, 2019, 12:51 pm
Douda says:
Allow me to educate you. Look up milankovich cycles. Reading is fun. Try doing it instead of quoting Democrat talking points.
June 5, 2019, 12:57 pm
Trump train from White House says:
There is no arguing with a bunch of 12 years that are being told bedtime stories by the likes of AOC. Just remember your queen told you that you will be dead in twelve years anyway, so go drive a gas guzzler across the country and have some fun while you can.
June 5, 2019, 1:11 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Do yourself a favor and shut up, you idiot. 97% of the worlds scientists disagree with you. How does someone so stupid dress themselves? Do you have nanny to help you wipe too?
June 5, 2019, 1:11 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Oh look, the trumptard showed up. So all those protests in the UK were fake news, huh? Trumpturds are the dumbest of the dumb. Flat earthers are smarter than trumpkins.
June 5, 2019, 1:12 pm
Conservative justice warrior says:
So tell the libs to stop driving their Suvs. Dont take so many trips that use fuel.
June 5, 2019, 1:16 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Tell the orange monkey in the white house to stop golfing every weekend on our dime and work for once.
June 5, 2019, 1:17 pm
Trump train from White House says:
97% of the world’s scientists also believed that lobotomy’s cured mental illness like yours, Henry. You should listen to them.
June 5, 2019, 1:18 pm
CJW says:
Your idol obama liked to take vacations overseas more thsn any pres.
June 5, 2019, 1:20 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Your writing is atrocious. How old were you wen you dropped out of school, 12? Obama was working, not golfing, numbnuts.
June 5, 2019, 1:29 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
June 5, 2019, 1:30 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Fact: 2 out of 3 trump supporters are just as stupid as the other 1.
June 5, 2019, 1:32 pm
CJW says:
Yeah barry never played golf sure. As for writing i am on iphone on way to work on subway. U should try working. Give you some meaning.
June 5, 2019, 1:32 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
He golfed a fraction compared to orange baboon. You write like English second language. Glad you're on the way to work, those burgers aren't gonna flip themselves.
June 5, 2019, 1:37 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I am at work, stupid. Smart people can multitask. Do you know what that word means?
June 5, 2019, 1:42 pm
CJW says:
Next time im on the subway on my iphone i will remember to use the kings language. You are at work? Does your boss know he pays you to troll the internet?
June 5, 2019, 1:47 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
So you don't know what multitask means. Don't be late for work, your boss will make you clean out the grease traps, stupid.
June 5, 2019, 1:49 pm
CJW says:
Do your job and stop slacking on the net. I would fire you.
June 5, 2019, 1:50 pm
Trump train from White House says:
CJW, you are talking to someone that has an orderly wiping the drool off him as he types on the shared computer at his facility. Every other site is blocked so he just trolls here all day.
June 5, 2019, 2:14 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
You're still not at work yet? You should have driven, much faster. Have fun cleaning the grease traps, stinky. LOL @ chump train from White House trying to buddy up with someone. You're the dumbest person here and your corny dad jokes a lamer than your flaccid carrot. You have the intellect of a 2 year old. I feel dumber for having engaged you. Shame on me.
June 5, 2019, 2:25 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Quick chump train, refresh and post again. You dumdum.
June 5, 2019, 2:26 pm
CJW says:
A crud job better than no job.
June 5, 2019, 2:33 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Do your job and stop slacking on the net. I would fire you from your crud job.
June 5, 2019, 2:36 pm
R from Greenpoint says:
I live there and it never flooded. This is a deep fake. Fake News! Sad!
June 5, 2019, 3:38 pm
Mohammed Eid el Fatwa from Corner Bodega says:
Henry Ford is displaying classic symptoms of TDS, most likely stage 4. You can see the same symptoms with well-known libtards as Bette Midler, Jim Carrey, Cher, Robert De Niro, Joy Behar and Tom Arnold. Haven’t heard much from Kathy Griffin or Rosie lately, they may already be in hospice care.
June 5, 2019, 7:48 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Mohammed Eid el Fatwa from Corner Bodega is displaying classic symptoms of obese, white, racist, trump supporter with possible mass shooter capabilities. Someone needs to notify the authorities and stop him.
June 5, 2019, 8:53 pm
Kokomo says:
Hey ford, Trump has support from latinos and African Americans. Cut the racist nonsense out. What kind of white bred building do you live in?
June 5, 2019, 8:57 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Correction, trump has the support of stupid racist people, like yourself. Don't concern yourself about my residence, you POS. Go die in a fire.
June 5, 2019, 9:03 pm
Local from Here says:
“Henry Ford” is actually a trump supporter trying to make the resistance look bad. Tell him to speak in his native Russian next time.
June 5, 2019, 9:53 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
I do all the time in brighton beach.
June 5, 2019, 10:16 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Nobody cares what Local from Here is.
June 6, 2019, 7:25 am

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: