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Thursday, May 26, 2016
Rockaway ferry expects spike in ridership ahead of LIRR strike
(Page 2 of 2)
Courtesy Kristen Loeser
The Seastreak ferry operates from Rockaway, with multiple runs to lower Manhattan and midtown for $3.50 each way.
“I think we would be instantly very, very busy — probably at capacity level,” Seastreak President Jim Barker said of a possible strike. “And it would be up to EDC whether they would like to bring more vessels on the run, or someone else, like the MTA. There has been no talk about that just yet, but there has been some discussion internally about other ports that could be used, such as Glen Cove. At the end of the day, these things can ultimately be settled, but in any case, we would be available to help people get to work.”

The MTA said that while it is providing free ferry service in Glen Cove during the morning and evening rush hour, there are currently no plans to expand the service in Rockaway. Seastreak would operate a ferry, Barker said, from Glen Cove to East 34th Street in midtown, with three westbound runs in the morning and three eastbound at night. They would be able to carry 1,000 customers and trips would take 40 minutes. However, parking at Glen Cove is very limited, and the MTA recommends that passengers carpool or arrange for drop-off and pickup.

Seastreak currently operates two vessels out of Rockaway — for $3.50 each way — with multiple runs in the morning and evening to lower Manhattan and midtown. Seastreak averages about 1,800 commuters per day round-trip, Barker said, and the larger boats can hold up to 500 people. Free parking is available in a lot across Beach Channel Drive, Barker said, with approximately 300 to 400 spots and additional parking in the street, although Barker recommends arriving early.

“First of all, there is no traffic on the ocean, and you get a beautiful relaxing ride to the city for $3.50,” Barker said. “There is a direct service without any traffic headaches and it’s a beautiful way to go to work.”

Visit http://www.seastreakusa.com for more information and a full schedule.


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Kudos to the Nassau Herald and writer Anthony Rifilato for a fine article on the Rockaway Ferry, and also to my friend Joe Hartigan for effectively making the case for the ferry. Although the story is set in the context of the ferry as a transportation alternative in the event of an LIRR strike - which now, fortunately, is probably not going to happen - it still stands on its own as a wonderful way to travel into the city any weekday, whether someone is going to work (the ferry stops at Brooklyn Army Terminal in Red Hook, then at Pier 11 at the foot of Wall Street in Manhattan and finally at East 34th Street, with homeward-bound trips originating from these points in the afternoon/evening) or just for taking the family in for an exciting day in Manhattan (kids who ride the ferry and see sights like Coney Island, the Verrazano Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, and sometimes, passing ocean liners as well, just LOVE IT!). The Beach 108th street landing is just a 20-minute ride from Far Rockaway (a little longer from 5T) and parking in the fenced-in lot is free. Right now, activists such as Mr. Hartigan, my wife, Laura Deckelman, and Linda and Danny Ruscillo, among many others, aided by public officials like Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, among others, are fighting to make the ferry permanent (the city subsidy making the service possible expires in October) and could use any and all of the help they can get. Please check out our Facebook page Rockaway United to Save our Ferry! Hope to SEA you on board!

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