May 23, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
A developer is calling on the city to extend the Astoria ferry line to include an Upper East Side stop.
The Durst Organization, a privately owned Manhattan-based real estate company, wants the city to pay for an additional stop beyond the Hallets Cove Ferry Dock–the final stop on the Astoria line-– to include East 90 Street in Manhattan.
The concept has already gained support from civic leaders, although the city said that the extension could not occur until after 2021, since the NYC Ferry is backed up with expansion work until then.
Jordan Barowitz, a spokesperson for Durst, said the proposal was recently presented to Manhattan’s Community Board 8 on the Upper East Side, which voted in favor of endorsing the idea.
The board has passed its endorsement along to the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the city’s non-profit arm in charge of overseeing NYC Ferry. Durst plans on formally pitching the idea to the EDC in a few months.
The Astoria Route– which was launched in 2017 currently stops at Wall Street, Brooklyn Navy Yard, East 34th Street, Long Island City, Roosevelt Island and Hallets Cove/Astoria. Durst’s proposal would extend the line back over the East River, ending at the East 90 Street, where there is an existing landing.
Barowitz said the additional stop would be an enormous benefit to residents who live along the Astoria line–and particularly to people who live or work on the Upper East Side and Astoria.
Durst has a lot to gain from the addition. It is currently in the midst of building 4,000 units on the Hallets Point Peninsula. The company recently opened “10 Halletts Point”, the first tower in its seven building complex.
The ferry dock is about a 10 minute walk from the Durst development. However, the dock is close to Astoria Houses and many other residents in this mushrooming section of Astoria.
But the proposal is viewed by Durst as being logical.
“Despite being only 1,000 feet from each other, it takes over an hour to travel from Astoria to the Upper East Side by way of public transportation,” Barowitz said. “A ferry would cut that down to about 5 minutes.”
Durst has already received the support of the Old Astoria Civic Association (OANA),a local non-profit advocacy group. The organization argues that the extra ferry stop would have a positive economic impact on all neighborhoods along the expanded route.
OANA also says that the extension of the ferry line would lessen the amount of vehicles on the road, provide greater access to the Astoria waterfront, and offer commuters improved access to the 2nd Avenue subway in Manhattan.
The Astoria group also notes that the cost of the additional stop would be low, since the infrastructure is already in place.
Stephanie Baez, a spokesperson for the EDC, said the city looks forward to reviewing Durst’s proposal. She said that NYC Ferry would not be able to work on the proposed extension until after 2021 due to other work.
This work includes opening a new route from Staten Island to the West Side in 2020, adding a route from Coney Island that will connect Bay Ridge and Manhattan in 2021, as well as the addition of a Throgs Neck stop to its Soundview line in the Bronx in 2021.
“We’re focused on providing a high-quality service and reaching New Yorkers that reside in transit-starved neighborhoods,” Baez said. “We look forward to hearing the details of the Durst Organization’s proposal.”