May 25, 2015 By Michael Florio
Councilman Costa Constantinides is hosting a town hall meeting next week where the precise location of Astoria’s ferry dock will be revealed.
The location is planned to be on the Hallets Cove peninsula although the actual site will be discussed at Constantinides’ meeting, which is scheduled for June 4 at the First Reformed Church (27-26 12th Street) at 7 pm.
The Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which is the economic arm of the city, will present the city’s ferry plan, which is part of de Blasio’s aim to expand the city-wide ferry service.
A lot of factors have gone into where the exact location of the Astoria dock will be, Constantinides said, such as water depths and the accessibility of the site.
“Everything will be revealed at the town hall,” Constantinides said.
The town hall is being set up to inform the community of the plans, yet allow them to express their concerns and ask any questions following the EDC’s presentation.
The Astoria ferry is expected to open in 2017, according to the mayor’s office, and will stop at Long Island City, Roosevelt Island, East 34th Street and Pier 11/Wall Street.
“There will be opportunities [for riders] to transfer onto other ferries along the route,” Constantinides said.
Constantinides, who said construction on the dock needs to start soon to meet the 2017 deadline, said the ferry service will be a big boon for the neighborhood.
“It is a game changer for Astoria,” he said. “The waterfront has been neglected for a long time. The ferry is a great way to connect us to the city.”
The cost of a ferry ride will be the same as the subway, Constantinides said.
“This will not be a luxury where people will think they can treat themselves to a ferry ride on occasion,” he said. “This will be a part of their everyday commute.”
He added that the ferry will save residents who live near the water the hassle of taking a 25-minute bus ride, and then a 40-minute subway ride to Manhattan. Instead, they will be able to simply hop on the ferry and be in Manhattan within half an hour.
“Residents who live on the peninsula can see Manhattan from their homes but it takes them over an hour to get there,” he said. “This will be a much more convenient commute.”
The ferry will also bring jobs, Constantinides said.
“There will be an opportunity for ticket agents, security staff and all the jobs that go along with the transportation network,” he said. “We are hopeful local jobs will be created.”
The funding for the dock comes from the city, as part of its agreement with the developers of Astoria Cove.
The Astoria Cove development, which was approved by the City Council in November, will bring about 1,700 apartments to the peninsula near the likely dock site.
Meanwhile, the Hallets Point development is expected to bring more than 2,000 apartments to the area. It is expected to break ground in October.
The EDC will be responsible for maintaining the dock and completing any necessary repairs.
Constantinides also wants to enhance the Astoria waterfront via an eco-dock, which can be used to dock small boats as well as to teach school children about marine life.