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Queens Chronicle

Rockaway-Manhattan ferry service begins

$2 rush-hour rides link hurricane victims with Downtown, Midtown

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Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 12:15 pm, Thu Nov 15, 2012.

The city and a private contractor have set up temporary ferry service between the Rockaways and lower Manhattan while A train service to and from the peninsula is suspended due to hurricane damage.

Service began Monday as the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Seastreak teamed up to run ferries between Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways and Pier 11 and East 34th Street in Manhattan.

The one-way fare is $2. There are five Manhattan-bound trips scheduled between 5:45 and 9:20 a.m. from a temporary landing.

Return service will run from Manhattan during the evening rush hour.

Mayor Bloomberg announced the agreement last Friday at a press conference that included officials from the city and Seastreak.

The MTA on Monday also established bus service to take Rockaway residents to the newly-reopened A train station in Howard Beach.

“Thanks to quick work by Seastreak and the Economic Development Corporation, residents of the Rockaways will now have an affordable and reliable way to get to and from Manhattan,” Bloomberg said. “Ferry service is one of the many ways the city is helping these New Yorkers begin the enormous work of recovery from Hurricane Sandy.”

Congressman Bob Turner (R-Queens and Brooklyn) applauded the Bloomberg administration in a statement issued by his office. Turner and his wife lost their home in the fire that destroyed more than 100 houses.

“Given all the problems Rockaway residents are facing as a result of Hurricane Sandy, they should not also have to worry about how they will get to work each day,” Turner said.

Seth Pinsky, president of the EDC, and Seastreak Chairman James Barker said the project is all part of getting the city and its economy back on normal footing.

“Businesses must also play a part in the relief efforts, and Seastreak is doing what it can to bring a sense of normalcy back to the community,” Barker said.

Councilmen Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton), both of whom represent the peninsula, said the move will play an enormous role in the revitalization of Rockaway.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) also praised the public-private partnership and the speed with which they came together in a time of need.

“As we work to rebuild devastated areas of the city, this new ferry service will make transportation much easier for residents of the Rockaways to get to and from Manhattan,” Quinn said.

“Come Monday, Rockaway residents who work in Manhattan will be able to reliably get to work again, and those who wish to get off the peninsula for the time being will have another route out,” Sanders said last week.

“The prayers of so many people in Rockaway, who since the storm hit have been stranded on the peninsula, have finally been answered,” Ulrich said.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) also praised the move, but believes Bloomberg should encourage the EDC to go one step more.

The senator, during his recent re-election campaign against Ulrich for the seat in the 15th District, called for a new permanent ferry from some point in the Rockaways to Manhattan.

“It shouldn’t be just until we get the A train back,” Addabbo said Friday afternoon in an interview at the Queens Chronicle office.

Welcome to the discussion.