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Press Release

Model Citywide Ferry Boat Sets Sail For Queens Borough Hall, Rockaway Library

Dec 20 2016

Scale model gives New Yorkers preview of ferry features, including spacious seating, bike racks, innovative design

First ferries expected to arrive in NYC early 2017

NEW YORK, NY—New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott today announced that a scale model of the brand new Citywide Ferry boats will be on display in Queens as the first two stops of a multi-borough tour. The model will be on display in the lobby of Queens Borough Hall through Sunday, January 1st, and then will sail over to the Queens Library at Peninsula from Tuesday, January 3rd through Sunday, January 15th.

The model will give Queens residents a first glimpse of some of the exciting features that will be offered in the modern, efficient ferry boats currently under construction, such as more spacious seating and places for commuters to stow their bicycles. Other specs and features of the Citywide Ferry vessels include:

  • Capacity for 150 passengers along with space for bikes, strollers and wheelchairs.
  • ADA Local Law 68/2005 accessibility and compliance.
  • Boats are 85 feet long, offering passengers more space than more traditional ferries.
  • Ferries are primarily built out of aluminum, which is safe, light weight and increases fuel efficiency. The fleet of 19 vessels will be built with the equivalent of over 77 million cans of aluminum.
  • Use of ultra-efficient engines to reduce emissions.
  • Innovative hull design to limit wake and maximize fuel efficiency.
  • Wi-Fi available throughout the vessel.
  • Heated decks that increase each vessel’s resiliency and durability, especially during the cold, snowy winter months.

The first new Citywide Ferry routes to launch in 2017 will include new Queens stops in Astoria, Long Island City and the Rockaways, connecting Queens residents to neighborhoods from South Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan. Transportation to and from the Rockaway ferry landing will be available via the free Rockaway Shuttle. Two shuttle routes will span four miles, connecting the ferry terminal at Beach 108th Street with Beach 35th Street to the east, and Beach 169th Street to the west.

“Starting next summer, we’re bringing Citywide Ferry Service to twenty-one landings around the city, transforming commutes for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “And starting today, we’re bringing a sneak preview of our brand new, state-of-the-art boats directly to people in Queens, with more tour stops to be announced in the weeks ahead.”

“We are very pleased to host a scale model of a Citywide Ferry boat here in Queens first, right in the front lobby of Borough Hall,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “While the model is on display, visitors to Borough Hall will get a glimpse of the future of transportation in Queens, which has long been underserved by traditional mass transit. The Citywide Ferry service will provide fast and affordable transportation to tens of thousands of Queens residents and we look forward to its operation next year.”

"We are delighted to host the prototype for this new mode of transportation for the Rockaways and beyond," said Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. "As a hub of information, education and many community activities, Peninsula Community Library is a natural place to show it off."

“You don’t have to wait till next summer to see Citywide Ferry sailing around the borough,” said Cameron Clark, Senior Vice President for Hornblower and Project Manager for Citywide Ferry. “The scaled model making its way around Queens will give future riders and local neighborhoods an intimate look into these state of the art vessels that will be landing in New York City in 2017 and providing millions of New Yorkers and visitors with a new way to work, live, play.”

With nineteen vessels operating at 21 landings across New York City, Citywide Ferry will carry an estimated 4.6 million trips per year across six routes - providing a new and easily accessible transit option traditionally underserved communities and where job and housing are growing rapidly. The existing East River Ferry will be fully integrated into Citywide Ferry, which will reduce the cost of that service to $2.75 from $4, the same cost of a subway ride.

For more information and images on Citywide Ferry, please visit www.CitywideFerry.NYC.

More Details on Citywide Ferry Service

New Jobs:

  • At least 155 new jobs in New York Harbor.
  • Crew will earn a living wage, along with a comprehensive benefits package.
  • Hornblower will participate in the City’s HireNYC program, which matches qualified applicants from neighborhood-based WorkForce1 training centers.


  • Rockaway, South Brooklyn and Astoria routes are scheduled to launch in 2017.
  • Rockaway route will connect to the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Wall Street.
  • Astoria route will connect to Astoria, Roosevelt Island (Cornell Tech), Long Island City, East 34th Street and Wall Street.
  • South Brooklyn route will connect Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Red Hook, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 and Pier 6, and Wall Street, with an optional link to Governors Island (launch date TBD).
  • Soundview and Lower East Side routes to launch in 2018.
  • Routes from Coney Island and Stapleton on Staten Island are in the planning stages for future expansion.
  • Combined routes will cover over 60 miles of waterway.
  • Over half a million New Yorkers live within a half-mile of one of the 21 Citywide Ferry landings, including over 15,000 families living in NYCHA developments.

Commuting Times:

  • Rockaway to Wall Street (1 stop): Approximately 1 hour
  • Astoria to E 34th Street (2 stops): Approximately 22 minutes
  • Astoria to Wall Street (3 stops): Approximately 38 minutes
  • Soundview to Wall Street (2 stops): Approximately 43 minutes
  • Bay Ridge to Wall Street (4 stops): Approximately 48 minutes


  • Cost per ride will equal that of a single subway ride.
  • Over 4,000 daily East River Ferry customers will see fares reduced from $4 to the cost of a single subway ride.
  • Fare will allow for free transfers to any other ferry route within the system, including the East River Ferry.
  • Both paper and smartphone ticketing will be available, with payments accepted via cash, credit, or debit card. Discounts will be available for seniors, children and New Yorkers with disabilities.
  • Passengers will be allowed to bring bicycles on board for a $1 fee.

The Boats:

  • Each boat will be able to carry 150 passengers.
  • All boats will be equipped with WiFi.
  • Boats will be fully accessible to New Yorkers with disabilities, and will comply with the requirements of both the Americans with Disabilities Act and New York City Local Law 68 of 2005.
  • New boats will be equipped with the most modern engine design available to reduce emissions and noise, as well as an efficient hull design that will limit wakes and maximize fuel economy.
  • The city contract with Hornblower allows the company to charter vessels if necessary to meet the implementation timeline.

City Support:

  • The city is investing $55 million in infrastructure upgrades, including building 10 new ferry landings. Barge construction is currently underway at a facility on Staten Island.
  • The city is providing $30 million in operating support per year, over a period of six years. Based on a projection of 4.6 million annual trips, the per-trip subsidy for Citywide Ferry Service will be $6.60, lower than the nearly $8 per trip subsidy on the Long Island Railroad or the nearly $15 per trip subsidy for express buses. The city is providing $10 million for additional startup costs, such as vessel upgrades and ticketing machines.
  • Potential sponsorships would offset operating costs.
  • City negotiated an option to acquire at least 18 state-of-the-art, highly efficient passenger ferry vessels, allowing for greater operational flexibility and providing significant savings to taxpayers over the life of the service (roughly up to $5 million per year).
  • City will receive a portion of fare-box revenue if ridership exceeds 5.6 million passengers.

New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.