Mayor de Blasio rode the first NYC Ferry into Brooklyn Bridge park this morning. The ferry is the first of 20 coming to New York harbor on May 1 that will shuttle New Yorkers across the East River for just $2.75 a trip, the price of a subway ride.

The first ferry in the fleet came up from Liberty Landing in New Jersey this morning before docking at Pier 1. Upon its arrival, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen christened the boat with a bottle of champagne as Mayor de Blasio watched from over her shoulder. Then the two of them, along with several other City Council and State Assembly members, walked off the boat and onto the docks for a short speech to a gathering of press accompanied by the live tunes of a four-piece brass band.

“We want to make life easier for New Yorkers,” said Mayor de Blasio at a podium framed by lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, “A ride on a ferry makes things a little nicer and a lot of times gets you where you need to go faster.” The ferry will make 21 stops along the East River and New York Bay including in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Rockaway, and Manhattan.

Map Courtesy of NYC Ferry Website

“Neighborhoods that have been underserved in terms of transportation are going to have new options they need,” the mayor said of the new route.

“Soundview in the Bronx, Red Hook, Far Rockaway, these are places that have not had enough transportation for the people and now will have much more. That means people can get to jobs, they can tap into opportunity that was a lot harder to access before.” Although the Rockaway and East River routes will open on May 1, Red Hook will not open until later this summer and, unfortunately, residents of Soundview and the Lower East Side will need to wait another year for their docks to open.

For those concerned about more motors in New York City waters, de Blasio assured the crowd this morning that the ferries have an “energy efficient design, are environmentally friendly, low emission, low noise level, good for everyone on board and the neighborhoods where they dock.”

Finally, the mayor explained that this first ferry, The Lunch Box, had been named by second-graders from P.S. 170 in Bay Ridge–
because “you only find good things in lunch boxes.”

After the mayor’s speech, press were allowed on board to check out the new rig and were given a quick ride to Ellis Island and back.

Inside, the ferry is comfortable and quiet, enough room for 150 passengers. There are a few bike racks outside on the boat deck (it will cost an extra dollar to bring your bike) and inside there will be a New Stand serving Joe’s coffee, some food, and even some locally-made wine and beer.

The first “wave” of ferry service will officially begin on May 1 with the Rockaway and expanded East River routes. Ferries will depart from Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park for Wall Street every hour in each direction. The East River route will also now stop at Governors Island every 45 minutes from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. as well as on weekends once the island opens in mid-May. Check out the NYC Ferry website for more details.