A very happy anniversary. 4 years ago, the NYC Ferry opened on Roosevelt Island


On an unusually chilly August morning, just before 7:00, the first NYC Ferry approached the spanking new Roosevelt Island landing. With city council member Ben Kallos acting as host, RIOC president/CEO became the first official arrival.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

August 27th, 2017, NYC Ferry Is A Reality For Roosevelt Island

Excitement rose from the day Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the new NYC Ferry service would build a landing on Roosevelt Island.

A little resentment stirred when transportation starved residents heard that the landing might be dubbed, “Cornell Tech.” But even the campus opposed that.

The countdown began.

An eager crowd awaited the first arrival, ready to board themselves. Historian Judith Berdy, right, sampled the current experience.

Covering the event was tricky for me. Exactly 24 hours before, I was in a Mount Sinai facility, prepping for cataract surgery. But what local reporter could miss this?

So, with one eye now filled with vivid color and the other yellow-brown filtered images, I joined the crowd.

It was early and chilly, but this was a one of a kind Roosevelt Island event.

But first, the ferry cruised past us, heading north to begin the maiden voyage out of Astoria. It was never out of sight as passengers boarded in Queens before the ferry split the waters again in our direction.

First Roosevelt Island Ferry arrival. Ben Kallos, an ardent supporter of de Blasio’s planned service, stood by as Susan Rosenthal stepped off for the first time.

The event brought plenty of media attention. Bulky news cameras were already onboard, but for us, it was all right here.

Relief from Tram cabins crammed with tourists and inadequate subway service during rush hours was here. At last.

Within a few minutes, the transaction of passengers on and off finished, and Kallos invited me onboard.

But my repaired eye needed attention, and sadly for now, I had to stay close to home.

Four Years Later

For many of us now, a ride on a NYC Ferry is routine. For business, errands or just pleasure. But cruising under the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time or trying to figure out exactly where in the Brooklyn Navy Yard the opening scene from On The Town was filmed still feels special.

A unique experience, though, is sitting among passenger and listening to their conversations as a ferry passes Roosevelt Island.

We are fascinating, and the perspectives from the water show our hometown as sort of inside out.

A tricky landing at low tide.

NYC Ferry was a de Blasio administration brainchild, an initiative for helping underserved communities. We hope the incoming administration and our new city council representative will uphold those values.

We love the service, but many Roosevelt Islanders really need it.

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