NYC's Economic Development Corporation is considering a plan to expand the East River ferry service by adding a stop at Grand Street, a plan that now has the support of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
"This portion of the Lower East Side has traditionally been severely underserved when it comes to public transit," said Silver in a letter to EDC Executive Director Kyle Kimball. "It is also an area that has seen an influx of new residents and a surge of commercial and retail development in recent years. For these reasons, I believe Grand Street would prove to be a popular location for a new ferry stop."
The idea started with a Lower East Side resident named Joseph Hanania, who said the neighborhood around Grand Street and FDR Drive is lacking sufficient options for mass transit. He reached out to the EDC and was told they were actually looking to expand sites for the ferry service, and to submit a petition for his idea of a stop on Grand Street.
"The renovation of East River Park has gone quite nicely, and I noticed that they rehabbed the old dock, which was used to launch fireboats through the early 1900s. The new dock, however, has sat empty, doing no business. Why not?" said Hanania.
His petition gained over 600 signatures and was presented to the EDC.
Hanania said that after Silver's letter, his proposal "went from a pipe dream to something which looks like it will actually happen, hopefully in the next several months."
"East Grand Street needs new blood," said Hanania. "Exactly what the new ferry stop and passengers would help provide."
The EDC said be they expect to have more information this winter after reviewing data collected from their Citywide Ferry Study.