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Activists from Canarsie continue their call for NYC Ferry landing

Brooklyn residents make case for Canarsie ferry
Brooklyn residents make case for Canarsie ferry 02:49

NEW YORK - Residents in Canarsie, Brooklyn have been fighting for an NYC Ferry landing for at least seven years, saying the area is in dire need of more transit options. 

Lifetime resident Jibreel Jalloh runs The Flossy Organization, which advocates for the community. He says bringing the ferry there has been top priority since its foundation. 

"Looking at this issue through a class and race lens, equity lens, you could really see the injustice," he told CBS New York's Hannah Kliger. "The system currently serves more white and wealthy neighborhoods."

Marc Want from the Canarsie Improvement Association began the fight when NYC Ferry was just launched in 2017. When the community brought a petition to then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, they were promised a feasibility study.

"The study found that the pier is a perfect place, no alterations needed and so on. The only thing they really need to do is bring a barge here and set up the walkway," Want said. 

However, the study also showed that commute times from this part of Brooklyn to Manhattan won't improve with ferry service. Residents disagreed, but the proposal was left hanging. 

Norine Medas is the head of the Canarsie Merchants Association and believes a lack of transit options can impact the community's economic health. 

"We have great Caribbean food, we have great shops," she said. "We want you to come and see Canarsie."

The Rockaway Parkway L train station is a mile and a half away from the Canarsie pier, so people who live next to the water have to take about a 20 minute bus ride to get there. 

Activists also add that many commuters from the area have to pay two fares because they run out of transfers before getting to their destinations. 

"Say you want to go out to Far Rockaway, you will have to take two busses and two trains," said Maria Garrett, of the Fresh Creek Civic Association. "You want to go out to Bay Ridge? Two busses, two trains."

"Transit accessibility is the most important factor when it comes to your potential of escaping poverty," added Rose Uscianowski, South Brooklyn Organizer at Transportation Alternatives.

A spokesperson from the Economic Development Corporation, responsible for ferry service, replied with a statement that reads: "NYC Ferry plays an important role as a transit option, and we welcome New Yorkers' advocacy and excitement about NYC Ferry and the recognition about the critical part it plays in our communities. While we are not actively pursuing expansion options, our focus is on making our current service more accessible, equitable, and financially sustainable through the Adams administration's Ferry Forward plan."

However, with three NYCHA developments in the neighborhood and tens of thousands of residents who are serviced by one subway line, Nigel Dupree, the Tenant Association President of the nearby Breukelen Houses, says many stand to benefit from the service. 

"We need to start investing in our community and a ferry would be a great start moving forward," he says. 

Mayor Eric Adams supported the idea as Brooklyn Borough President, but City Hall did not clarify on the record whether he still does as mayor. 

On February 21, Hornblower, the company that runs NYC Ferry Service filed for bankruptcy, but NYC Ferry says it pertains to only one part of the company and will not affect operations in the city. 

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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