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Saturday, May 28, 2016
Rockaway ferry expects spike in ridership ahead of LIRR strike
Seastreak says service to NYC a good alternative for Long Beach, Five Towns commuters
Courtesy Kristen Loeser
The Seastreak ferry operates from Rockaway, with multiple runs to lower Manhattan and midtown for $3.50 each way.

With thousands of commuters facing a possible strike this Sunday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said that in addition to an existing ferry service in Rockaway, it will run a free ferry service in Glen Cove as part of its alternative transportation plan.

Traveling to Glen Cove is hardly convenient for South Shore residents, of course, so Rockaway resident and activist Joe Hartigan is encouraging commuters from the Long Beach barrier island, the Five Towns and other nearby communities to take advantage of the Seastreak ferry service in Rockaway, which takes approximately 50 minutes to get to lower Manhattan. Many people, he said, are unaware of the service, which is about a 30-minute car ride from Long Beach City Hall.

“There are quite a few people on the ferry from Long Beach — this is the most convenient route to lower Manhattan,” said Hartigan, a retired FDNY lieutenant who has advocated for the ferry service for more than a decade. “This is the best kept secret for the people of Long Beach, especially if there is a strike.”

Long Beach resident Sean Regan, 37, drives to his job in Queens but occasionally takes the ferry to Manhattan, and also said it is a great way to commute to the city if there is a strike.

“A friend of mine takes it into Manhattan on a regular basis and he loves it — it’s a good way to unwind,” he said. “People in Long Beach are considering it as an option if there is a strike; the MTA is going to put buses out there but who knows how backed up those are going to be? The waterway is not going to be backed up all.”

The Seastreak ferry, which departs from Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive, was launched in 2012 as a partnership between the New York City Economic Development Corporation — which subsidizes the service — in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It initially provided temporary ferry service between the Rockaways and Manhattan, while subway service on that route was suspended due to the storm.


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Kudos to the Nassau Herald and writer Anthony Rifilato for a fine article on the Rockaway Ferry, and also to my friend Joe Hartigan for effectively making the case for the ferry. Although the story is set in the context of the ferry as a transportation alternative in the event of an LIRR strike - which now, fortunately, is probably not going to happen - it still stands on its own as a wonderful way to travel into the city any weekday, whether someone is going to work (the ferry stops at Brooklyn Army Terminal in Red Hook, then at Pier 11 at the foot of Wall Street in Manhattan and finally at East 34th Street, with homeward-bound trips originating from these points in the afternoon/evening) or just for taking the family in for an exciting day in Manhattan (kids who ride the ferry and see sights like Coney Island, the Verrazano Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, and sometimes, passing ocean liners as well, just LOVE IT!). The Beach 108th street landing is just a 20-minute ride from Far Rockaway (a little longer from 5T) and parking in the fenced-in lot is free. Right now, activists such as Mr. Hartigan, my wife, Laura Deckelman, and Linda and Danny Ruscillo, among many others, aided by public officials like Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, among others, are fighting to make the ferry permanent (the city subsidy making the service possible expires in October) and could use any and all of the help they can get. Please check out our Facebook page Rockaway United to Save our Ferry! Hope to SEA you on board!

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