August 29th, 6:40 A.M.

At Last, NYC Ferry Welcomes Roosevelt Islanders

Updated 3 years ago David Stone

A dream came true for Roosevelt Islanders this morning when NYC Ferry opened its Astoria Line. On a cloudy, cool morning, a happy crowd waited to board as RIOC CEO/President Susan Rosenthal became the first person to arrive for work by NYC Ferry and City Council Member Ben Kallos welcomed first passenger Judy Berdy with a hug.

In the quiet of 6:00 a.m. NYC Ferry welcomes Roosevelt Islanders for the first time.
In the quiet of 6:00 a.m. NYC Ferry welcomes Roosevelt Islanders for the first time.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

“We are finally using our waterways to improve commutes for thousands of Roosevelt Islanders who will be able to take the new ferry. Roosevelt Islanders can travel by air (by tram), land (by car, bus, and train) and now water (by ferry), all offering improved commutes. After advocating alongside the community since before I got elected and continuing that fight for ferry service every day since then, I am proud to be a part of a City government that finally made it a reality,” said Council Member Ben Kallos in a press release.

The gangplank ready for the first riders.
The gangplank ready for the first riders.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily
An NYC Ferry travels north toward Astoria where it will pick up passengers for the trip to Roosevelt Island.
An NYC Ferry travels north toward Astoria where it will pick up passengers for the trip to Roosevelt Island.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

I got to the landing early, a little after 6:00 a.m. Even at that hour, it was no surprise that Judy Berdy beat me there.

No surprise. Historian Judy Berdy is the first in line to buy a ticket to ride.
No surprise. Historian Judy Berdy is the first in line to buy a ticket to ride.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

She knew history was in the making.

 

First ferry approaches beneath the Roosevelt Island Bridge.
First ferry approaches beneath the Roosevelt Island Bridge.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Mayor Bill de Blasio today officially launched NYC Ferry's Astoria route, with the first trip departing from Astoria at 6:30 a.m. headed to Wall Street/Pier 11. 

NYC Ferry representative instructs waiting passengers to line up for the initial ride across to Gantry Park in Long Island City..
NYC Ferry representative instructs waiting passengers to line up for the initial ride across to Gantry Park in Long Island City..
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily
...but the boat glides past the landing...
...but the boat glides past the landing...
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily
...before circling back to the opposite boarding gate.
...before circling back to the opposite boarding gate.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily
Waiting line' reversed, Roosevelt Islanders prepare to board.
Waiting line' reversed, Roosevelt Islanders prepare to board.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

The Astoria route connects residents and workers in Astoria, Roosevelt Island, and Long Island City to Midtown and Lower Manhattan, shortening commutes for thousands of New Yorkers. Passengers are also able to transfer free of charge to NYC Ferry’s East River, Rockaway and South Brooklyn routes at East 34th Street and Wall Street/Pier 11.

 

RIOC CEO/President Susan Rosenthal is the historic first person to arrive at Roosevelt Island for work on the NYC Ferry Astoria Line.
RIOC CEO/President Susan Rosenthal is the historic first person to arrive at Roosevelt Island for work on the NYC Ferry Astoria Line.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

NYC Ferry now carries approximately 12,000 daily riders, and the Astoria route is expected to add another 1,800 daily riders. Boats will run every 25 minutes during rush hours. Residents of Astoria Houses will be able to reach East 34th Street in just 29 minutes, cutting those commuting times by nearly half.

City Council Member Ben Kallos, seen here with Judy Berdy, was aboard waiting to greet passengers.
City Council Member Ben Kallos, seen here with Judy Berdy, was aboard waiting to greet passengers.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Detailed timetables for the Astoria route, along with a map of all 2017 routes, can be viewed here.

 

And they kept coming, bicycles and all, as banks of cameras rolled.
And they kept coming, bicycles and all, as banks of cameras rolled.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

“The amazing success of NYC Ferry is a tribute to the can-do attitude of New York City and underlines the tremendous need to connect underserved communities to jobs, schools, health care and parks. We will continue to improve public transportation options and quality of life for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.  

 

Ben Kallos waves goodbye before the first ferry pulls out.
Ben Kallos waves goodbye before the first ferry pulls out.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

The opening of the Astoria Route follows the successful launches of the Rockaway and South Brooklyn Routes, and the integration of the East River Route. Combined, the routes have served over 1.5 million riders to date.

 

First boat carries passengers south from Roosevelt Island on the way to Long Island City, Midtown and beyond.
First boat carries passengers south from Roosevelt Island on the way to Long Island City, Midtown and beyond.

Due to high demand, NYC Ferry recently announced that it will be adding capacity to three of its twenty boats. These new boats will be outfitted with bigger engines and a capacity of up to 250 passengers.

Job well done, NYC Ferry workers relax as service is underway.
Job well done, NYC Ferry workers relax as service is underway.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily


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