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BY CLARISSA-JAN LIM | Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver expressed his support for a new ferry stop at Grand St. to Kyle Kimball, executive director of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
E.D.C. is currently considering expanding the East River ferry service. A ferry stop at Grand St. would serve as a “faster and more accessible commute to the Financial District and Midtown,” as well as bringing in people to Lower East Side from other parts of the city, Silver wrote in his letter to Kimball. He also noted that it would provide a link to Williamsburg and “other parts of Brooklyn that are home to their own burgeoning neighborhoods.”
Joseph Hanania, an advocate for the new ferry stop who collected signatures petitioning E.D.C. to put a ferry stop at the existing dock on Grand St., said it would help bring in new passenger traffic from Brooklyn and Queens, revive the street, and “relieve congestion near the renewed East River Park athletic fields, and for heavily attended concerts/events at the East River bandshell.”
The petition now has close to 600 signatures.
The renovation of the East River esplanade and bikeway could also benefit from a Grand St. ferry stop, Silver said in his letter. The influx of new residents along Grand St. — which runs from Soho through Chinatown, Little Italy and the Lower East Side, to the East River — as well as new commercial and retail development in recent years, means many would benefit from a Grand St. ferry stop, he added.
Last week, Hanania said, “I am thrilled that the Assembly speaker is backing the proposed ferry stop at Grand St. His backing may well be the decisive turning point in bringing this about.
“I also hope that the new proposed stop, coupled with a possible cafe at the ferry stop, which would be the only one yet in East River Park, will help feed a revival of the far Lower East Side by bringing in additional foot and bicycle traffic. I also hope that the additional passengers coming here will feed the existing bus lines — the 14th St. crosstown, the Houston St. crosstown and the No. 22 to Battery Park City, helping us get more frequent bus service.”
“Most importantly,” Hanania said, “we still need a subway stop that is closer to our area. Right now, it is about a 12-minute walk from Grand St. and the F.D.R. to the nearest subway station. I discussed several weeks ago with one of Mr. Silver’s assistants the desirability of a stop on the M line at either Pitt St. or at Clinton St. and Delancey.
“Other areas of the city are getting entirely new lines,” Hanania noted, “including the Second Ave. subway and the subway line going into the Hudson Yards. We are asking only for an additional needed stop on an existing line. I hope the additional activity generated by the ferry stop will help bring all this about.”