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Developer Wants Astoria Ferry Route to Include Upper East Side, But City Says Not Until After 2021

Astoria Ferry at the Hallets Cove Ferry Dock (Photo: Queens Post)

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.

Current Astoria Ferry Route (NYC Ferry)

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.”

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11 Comments

George Hall

True, it is up to the city to execute projects like this, but given the glacial pace at which it moves and endless moaning about money it would be a grand gesture by Durst to underwrite the project themselves. It can be a win for both them and residents of Astoria, and they gain extra credit for acting while city agencies stagnate. A public/private partnership I believe it’s called. And as someone suggested, Ditmars & Shore Blvd. would be an excellent location.

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Hellgate Harry

This is a good idea!
A ferry stop should also be added at where Ditmars Blvd meets Shore Blvd at the north end of Astoria Park.

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jenasoriat

I would use it. Anyone who has ever worked on the UES knows what a pain it can be to get there on the subway. Other options are welcome, but would be even better if the ferry fare included a transfer to the subway or bus.

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StopChangingAstoriaBoundaries

Also would be great if it actually stopped in Astoria, not Long Island City.

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Sara Ross

I bet if he wanted a bike lane, it would done before the weekend was over.

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Wait, really?

Really? There are lots of places I’ve though we could use bike lanes for years and nothing was done.

But you know how to get them immediately! Please share how we can do it. I mean unless you’re just ranting about something you’re clueless about…

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Name

Excellent idea. The E 90th Street stop is very close to the Astoria stop and would connect a lot of people. 2021 seems like too long for something like this to come to fruition.

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NoToLandlordClass

If the cost is so low, Durst can pay for it themselves. Stop subsidizing luxury real estate.

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History Buff

When luxury buildings went up on the UES, they often provided shuttles to the Lexington Avenue subway & the 2nd & 3rd Avenue buses, to induce people to live in a transportation challenged area.

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Aggrieved Taxpayer

Presumably it cost less to purchase land here than in an area with good transportation. Did Durst also receive incentives? Did they contribute to the infrastructure? build a school? a hospital? a library? a shopping area?
Or is this another area to be gentrified by people who order online & get deliveries unloaded & distributed from the sidewalk (without permits for using it to do business)?

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