Lifeless Lifeline

TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

The city has delivered a slap in the face to Rockaway residents, who have relied on the ferry as an alternative to the longest public transit commute in the country on the A train and buses immobilized on clogged highways.

As City Council members congratulated themselves last month on reaching a budget accord before the deadline, there was something vital to Queens missing in the final $75 billion tally for the city.

No provision was made to extend the Rockaway Ferry beyond October despite despite lobbying efforts by several elected officials in the borough. Nor was there any explanation from City Hall as to why the ferry was left out of the calculations.

There have been half-hearted attempts over the years to offer summer ferry service to the Rockaways to draw beach-goers. But the latest incarnation of the Rockaway Ferry was born out of necessity when Hurricane Sandy destroyed parts of the A train tracks leading to the peninsula.

And the Rockaways, where many of its 115,000 residents are still struggling to recover from Sandy, have embraced the ferry. Ridership remained strong to Manhattan and Brooklyn even after the A train starting rolling to the Rockaways again.

The outcry from elected officials who represent the area has been surprisingly muted. All but one of Queens’ Council members voted for the budget, including Eric Ulrich, whose district reaches into the Rockaways.

Is the city hoping that the federal government might sweep in and pick up some of the tab for the ferry, which costs an estimated $5 million a year to run? The $3.50 fare covers only some of the operating expenses for trips from the Rockaways to Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The city Economic Development Corp. has also been tight-lipped about the ferry. In February, Mayor Bill de Blasio asked the EDC to put out a request for proposals to operate the route for five years, but the agency has been mum about when it might select a bidder.

State Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder, who represents Far Rockaway, said several groups had submitted plans to the EDC before the budget ax fell. The East River ferries have bigger ridership, but the Rockaway Ferry must not be the neglected stepchild.

The peninsula’s economic recovery from Sandy’s devastating destruction depends on reliable and affordable public transit. Rockaway residents are taxpayers like everyone else in Queens, and they should be told why funding was eliminated for one of their few lifelines to the rest of the city.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Danny Ruscillo from Rockaway Park Queens says:
You know I'm really getting tired of hearing about the EDC, the EDC is a disgrace. Like I said in some other community papers, they just play with words and the Mayor is in full contol of them. The Mayor just don't get it, Rockaway's transportation is terrible and the Ferry can be the perfect solution to improve it. Mr. Mayor while your relaxing in Italy think about adding the money to the fiscal budget so our Ferry can continue to operate past October.
July 12, 2014, 9:29 pm
Philip McManus from Rockaway Park says:
Dear Friends,

The Queens Public Transit Committee is having their first monthly transportation meeting on July 16, 2014 from 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 333 Beach 90 Street, Rockaway Beach, Queens.

We will discuss the Queens Rockaway Ferry and other important transportation options.

Improving transportation and increasing opportunities for Queens.

Queens Rockaway Ferry.
A train and Shuttle trains.
Toll Bridges.
Queens Rockaway Beach Line, the New Queens Crosstown.
Select Bus Service.
Local, Limited, and Express Buses

All are welcome.

We need everyone who wants faster transportation to unite and bring your ideas and energy to fight for fairness and more transit services.

We need faster transportation to help our city and community reduce travel times and increase social, economic, recreational and environmental opportunities for everyone.

Please RSVP by emailing or calling, or 718-679-5309

Lets us know if you want to join our group and tell us how we can help you.
We also need Volunteers to help.

Lets remind our government that they should listen to the People.

Philip McManus
Queens Public Transit Committee

Thank you.
July 12, 2014, 10:14 pm
Rochelle Ginis from Rockaway park ny says:
It is a shame that a place trying so hard to re-develop and have the resiliency to stay a vital part of queens is so neglected by mr. De Blasio. The ridership remains good even with the A
Train back in service. Shame shame.
July 12, 2014, 10:57 pm
mark from Far Rockaway says:
Why does the surprise anyone?

It took Hurricane Sandy to make people/politicians to even look at the Rockaway Peninsula, the EDC has done nothing to help the economy in Far Rockaway. This action is not a surprise to a resident like myself.
July 13, 2014, 12:14 am
Philip McManus from Rockaway Park says:
Why did our government put a Ferry on Beach 108 street and not provide a free bus connector to the Ferry for the East side and the West side of Rockaway and Broad Channel? 1 1/2 years after Sandy and no bus connector to provide more ridership to the Ferry? Why would our government divide and not help all of our community? I believe our government wants our Ferry to fail. Why can't our Ferry be free like Staten Island? Why must a person from Rockaway pay $2.50 for a bus to the ferry, $3.50 for the Ferry and then maybe another $2.50 to get on a train to get to work? Why? A tale of two cities Mr. Mayor?
July 13, 2014, 12:50 am
Frank Chimera from Belle Harbor says:
Many years ago the powers in Albany split our representation in two by gerrymandering the west end of rockaway from the east end. This has limited the need to care about our needs. This is why our elected officials do not fear our power. We need to send a message that there failures will not be rewarded with reelection year after year. They all (each and every one of them) talk a good game, but do not deliver. The mayor may or may not like us, but our representatives in Albany and the Council don't fear us.
July 13, 2014, 7:49 am
pete from rockaway, queens says:
Can't we use Mother Nature's awesome blue highway as a cleaner, greener, efficacious and more 'natural' public transport system from JFK and from Rockaway to BK and Manhattan? 150years ago Cornelius Vanderbilt did, and he created an empire. Why not today? Bill de Blasio, our Mayor, says No - EDC says MAYBE, but the 115.000 people of Rockaway say - resoundingly - YES!!!...PJS
July 13, 2014, 8:34 am
Dan Kirk from Rockaway Park says:
We are being treated like the 9th Ward, a section of New Orleans that was devastated by another hurricane a few years back. The government then wasn't providing any aid, just like "Build it Back" is doing here today.

The "ferry" is too nice of a way for residents and tourists to enjoy a commute to this enchanted place we call the Rockaways! If your from here and haven't noticed, the Rockaways have continued to be a dump site for all of the City's unwanted. Each day I see more and more new faces. Not DFD's, not tourists, but people who have been released from shelters, psychiatric wards and hospitals! We have no creditable hospital, we who can afford a car are being targeted for ticket after ticket by either the DOT or NYPD. It appears obvious that the City of New York isn't concerned about us at all. They have wasted $Millions of such items as new bathrooms and lifeguard "shacks" and lots of sand, all of which doesn't solve any problem.

Maybe it's time that all of Rockaway became a separate entity from the City of New York a new government be created which would meet our needs.
July 13, 2014, 1:09 pm
Dina from rockaway park says:
Maybe if more people can travel here with the easy access by ferry would see more of Rockaway and it residents. This might encourage people to invest here. They could improve this area with business which would make more people to have an interest here and also enjoy our beaches.
July 13, 2014, 1:51 pm
Frederick Lewis from Far Rockaway says:
Betrayed once again. Lack of transportation, Lack of adequate Health Care facilities, Failing Schools, High Unemployment, High Crime rate, just to name a few issues affecting the quality of life in Rockaway. Who is listening? Who cares? Rockaway is treated like a Third World Country.
July 13, 2014, 8:38 pm
John from Belle Harbor says:
Lets not only fund the ferry beyond October, lets increase the amount of trips per day.

The suggestion of free connection from east west buses is a great idea for increased ridership.

I would expect that advertising for quick beach access from Manhattan during the summer season should also help and would be good for the local retailers in the area.

I hope our officials are paying attention to a badly needed service.
July 13, 2014, 8:48 pm
Jeremy from Rockaway West says:
I love how my fellow voting taxpayers were duped, yet again.

If any of you were at Lew Simon's Meet the Candidate Night, does anyone remember if deBlasio even appeared?

I have been advocating, for some time, the need to succeed from New York City. The taxes we pay do not justify the return on investment we receive from such an non-empathetic government.

Finally, the government, whether it be Federal, state or city really has no legal empowerment over Rockaway. The basic premise or main purpose of any government is to protect its citizens. If it should fail or neglect to do so it forfeits any rights to proclaiming itself to be a government over any of its citizens.
July 14, 2014, 6:27 am
Mike O'Reilly from Broad Channel says:
Mr. Mayor,

The Rockaways are a beautiful, tight-knit community of hard working people who vote and pay taxes. We only ask for reasonable transportation from the penninsula to Manhattan in order to access our jobs.
You should google "Rockaway" sometime, since you seem to be unable to find it on the map (hint: it's not in Italy).
We were devasted by Sandy and received almost no help from FEMA, Build IT Back; Ny Rising, etc... nothing! And now you brush aside the one positive thing that is actually helping the Rockaways "build it back" on their own.
We are organized Mr. Mayor, and we have long memories. That can work for you or against you. Your choice.
July 14, 2014, 9:50 am
Sophia from Broad Channel says:
We need improved transportation and other basic city services, or give us back our taxes. We need this ferry with more frequent trips, we need rapid bus transportation up and down crossbay blvd., and we need to be treated like full citizens instead of saps who pay taxes and taxes and taxes (a.k.a. fees, tickets, user charges and more), and are treated like something to be scraped off the bottom of one's shoe. Basic quality of life issues are held over our heads as a luxury to those of us here in the Rockaways. We need recall elections to claw back the seats given to those boneheads who think it's alright to ignore us.
July 14, 2014, 12:17 pm
Mike from Rockaway says:
It's just so frustrating to see all the energy being put into this area to make it a viable destination only to have us blown away by one non-decision. Meanwhile who asked for the ferris wheel in SI ? No one ! EDC thought it up. What has EDC done for anyone except make money for the well connected! They should be audited by the Comptroller. Oh wait the can't they are not a true "city agency". I'm done the new tax on driving 4mph or 6 over the limit has done it for me!
July 14, 2014, 12:47 pm
Jim Darcey from Rockaway Park says:
What's very interesting about the budget that was passed is, that the same money that could have went to funding the ferry, has been allocated to giving ID's to illegal aliens. ID's that will allow illegal aliens to receive services that are paid for by hard working Americans like the people of Rockaway.
July 17, 2014, 7:27 am
use ids from queens says:
They will probably use these IDS to register to vote.
July 17, 2014, 2:09 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group