The Importance of Rockaway Ferry Service
by Anthony Stasi
May 29, 2013 | 1822 views | 0 0 comments | 186 186 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I have been a supporter of a ferry service that would usher people from Rockaway to Manhattan since I ran for the Assembly in 2000. Although the ferry was not as popular when it was in use (with approximately 160 riders per day), it was brought back following Hurricane Sandy because of limited train service.

The problem with the ferry service is the cost, which is what we debated about for years before the ferry was introduced. The city should find a way to make this mode of transportation permanent for Rockaway residents and visitors.

Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder is right to point out that the ferry may have a better shot now that it launches from 108th Street, which is a popular hub.

A ferry service is never going to have as many riders as the subway system because the subway is just cheaper and it allows for stops throughout lower Queens and Brooklyn. To get to lower Manhattan from Rockaway in a half hour, however, will do wonders for the businesses and real estate values in Rockaway.

The rates to ride the ferry are the big question mark. If the rate is $6 per ride, it will be too much for riders over time. But if the cost went to $4 per ride and riders could have that cost taken out of their paychecks before taxes (same as a Metrocard), might that be a way to pay a little more and not feel the pinch as much?

The city would still have to find a way to make up the other $2, but it may be worth it.

One of the ideas that was talked about years ago was to use the same ferry for other purposes during the non-rush hours. In other words, if tourists wanted a ferry service from say Brooklyn to Manhattan, could that revenue help subsidize the rush hour routes for commuters?

The experts have probably exhausted all of these possibilities, but the bottom line is that the city should get behind this service if the ridership remains near the 400-person per day range. The A Train just takes way too long to get people into Manhattan, and not all of those trains even go to Rockaway.

Give credit to Goldfeder for his efforts to keep this going, it would be great for Rockaway and Manhattan.

The Democratic Primary and Israel

There has been some talk about the issue of US-Israeli relations now that Anthony Weiner has declared his candidacy for mayor.

Voters who identify as “pro-Israel” often want to see some level of commitment. Remember that Bob Turner won Weiner’s old congressional seat due in part because he was considered by many to be reliable in supporting Israel.

What does Israel, or any other Middle Eastern country, have to do with the day-to-day life of New Yorkers? Not all issues are hands-on, but that does not mean that they do not matter.

Supporters of the state of Israel know that a mayor has little muscle as far as foreign policy is concerned, but they do want to know whether a candidate has their back on the issue for moral reasons.

The same is true with the abortion issue. Those who are pro-life or pro-choice know that a mayor cannot change the law. They know it has been decided by the Supreme Court. Where one stands on the issue, however, matters to them.

With the Middle East in a state of uncertainty, people are right to be concerned about where their leaders stand on the issues of war and peace.

The matter of Middle Eastern politics is sensitive on all sides. I am not an expert on foreign policy, but in a primary race, where one stands on this might be relevant.

Weiner has been a staunch supporter of Israel in Congress. Not all Jewish voters fall into the pro-Israel camp when it comes to politics. Screenwriter David Mamet, for one, has opined about the widening split between those who support Israel and those who are uneasy about the issue.

Weiner, however, has been very successful at capturing votes in both camps. Some claim that Weiner entering the race will force a run-off. There was going to be a run-off anyway. What it does, however, is cause others in the race to weigh in on where they stand on the issue.

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