Monday is the last day for New Yorkers to give their input on where the next NYC Ferry route should be, and one elected official is making a case for West Harlem.
“125th Street is crying out for ferry service,” 7th District Council Member Mark Levine told Metro Friday. “We’ve already built the pier — this is a $30 million investment to build a wonderful, modern West Harlem pier.”
From the early 1800s until it was demolished in 1965, the West Harlem pier was a hotbed of transportation activity, including a regular ferry that crossed the Hudson River to Palisades Amusement Park in Edgewater, New Jersey. The pier reopened in 2009 as part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway and “included infrastructure for a new ferry landing — making this site an ideal location for NYC Ferry service,” Levine wrote in a letter to the NYC Economic Development Corporation Friday, which he shared exclusively with Metro.
In addition to providing shortened commutes and more transit options for New Yorkers as it’s done along the East River from Soundview, Bronx, and to Rockaway, a Harlem NYC Ferry route would also reconnect Manhattan and New Jersey via a seven-minute commute across the Hudson, Levine said.
“New Jersey commuters who now drive across the George Washington Bridge and add to our already congested streets, would be able to commute by ferry and leave their cars at home,” he wrote.
While Levine does not have exact numbers of how many uptown residents commute to New Jersey, “I do know the new GWB bus terminal is a 50-50 commuting pattern with as many people going to New Jersey as is coming in due to job growth in Bergen County,” he said.
Why an NYC Ferry route in West Harlem?
Levine’s proposed West Harlem NYC Ferry route is near the 125th Street stop on the 1 train and several Citi Bike docking stations with the 125th Street ABCD station a 15-minute walk away.
“Given the rapid expansion of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus, there will very soon be a massive influx of students, staff and traffic to the area,” he added. “Investing in ferry service now would be the most sensible thing to do before the neighborhood’s already overcrowded 1 and A trains are stressed any further. As New York City continues to make the dream of a truly citywide ferry network a reality, I strongly urge you not to leave Northern Manhattan behind.”
Constituents have been “universally positive,” Levine said, and “local business owners think it would bring new customers and employers think it would be important to their workforce.”
Carin Sarafian of Delmonico’s in the Financial District knows first-hand how impactful an NYC Ferry route can be.
“We’ve seen a very big uptick with the new routes — it’s opened up a demographic that may not have dined with us,” she told Metro recently. “And I think that’s going to continue with the new routes.”
The EDC told Metro Friday it’s received nearly 3,000 suggestions for the next NYC Ferry route.