11:35 am Jul. 16, 2012
Council Speaker Christine Quinn greeted passengers Monday morning at the North Williamsburg entrance to the East River Ferry. Then, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at her side, rode the choppy waters to Wall Street.
The photo-op was designed to underscore the success of the new service, which, after only a year, has served a million passengers, more than twice as many as originally predicted.
"People love it," said Quinn, after disembarking in Manhattan. "They love it to commute on it. They love it to use as tourism. And New Yorkers are loving it to explore other neighborhoods, particularly in Brooklyn."
Launched in June 2011, the new more-frequent, all-day ferry service carries passengers between Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Long Island City, 34th Street, Wall Street, DUMBO, and sometimes Governor's Island.
It's part of a three-year pilot run by NY Waterway, subsidized with $9 million in city funds.
Quinn, who is running a still-undeclared campaign for mayor in 2013, has yet to offer a particularly substantive transportation platform, though ferry service has been a recurring talking point for her.
Today, she said she'd like to see it further expanded.
"New Yorkers are really embracing the rivers as our next great blue highways," she said. "I think the millionth rider proves that. And my goal is to expand to as many neighborhoods and many boroughs as possible."
Does she the next administration should continue to subsidize the ferry?
"I think, you know, the next mayor should continue everything that's working ... and also everything that is environmentally sustainable," she said. "And it's just been getting a wonderful response from New Yorkers, so I hope it grows and expands throughout the rest of this administration and the next administration," she said.
She also said she'd like the ferry, which costs $4 one way, to be closer in cost to a subway fare.
Unrelated, Quinn, who has more than $5 million in campaign funds on hand, declined an invitation from a reporter to discuss what she planned to do with that money. She said only that she was "really right now very focused on continuing the great opportunity I have to help New York as the speaker and whatever's in the future, we'll talk about in the future."