In a letter to NYC Economic Development Corporation President Maria Torres-Springer sent today, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer raised concerns about the de Blasio administration’s selection of an out-of-state operator for the planned citywide ferry service.
In the letter, Brewer highlighted the potential loss of up to 200 jobs created by New York Water Taxi, which sent a memo to its employees stating it may need to shut down its existing operations in the face of subsidized competition from a citywide ferry service. Brewer also cited the negative impact New York Water Taxi’s shutdown could have on local businesses and organizations, such as the South Street Seaport Museum, which receives crucial operating support from the service through its lease of Pier 16.
“Does EDC have a financial plan to prevent the Museum from closing its doors as a result of lost revenue? You know how hard we are all working to support this institution, and a loss of income such as the one from this lease is devastating,” wrote Borough President Brewer. “While I certainly support increasing ferry service, the predicted loss of jobs and the foreseeable harm to New York Water Taxi and to the Museum must be addressed.”
Brewer has been an active supporter of the planned citywide ferry service, which is scheduled to launch in 2017. Last month, she and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams co-authored an op-ed in Crain’s New York Business outlining the need to connect ferry landings with the greater transit system, including existing networks servicing the East and Hudson rivers, as well as the need to expand service to Southern Brooklyn and the Manhattan’s West Side.
Brewer’s letter is available for pdf download.