Update: Ferry service at the India Street Pier resumed Monday at 4 p.m.
Commuters eager to cross the East River on Monday morning were in for a disappointment. The Greenpoint Ferry Landing, which serves as the India Street. access point for the East River Ferry towards 34th Street and Wall Street, was inaccessible. Though the NYC Ferry app still posted a schedule for Greenpoint ferry service, the pier to access the ferry has been closed since Saturday, October 17.
“Due to temporary restrictions to the Greenpoint pier, ferry service to and from the Greenpoint landing will be suspended until further notice,” NYC Ferry, which is operated by Hornblower Cruises, posted on Facebook Saturday morning. “We will post updates on www.ferry.nyc and the NYC Ferry app when service will resume. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Greenpoint @NYCferry stop out of commission ‘indefinitely’ bc the developer sold the property. This isn’t how public transit functions.— Elizabeth Adams (@ElizabAdams) October 19, 2020
And here’s how commuters are being notified this morning: from a boat operater calling out to people as the ferry goes by. Seriously @NYCEDC? pic.twitter.com/KNU7QQdy83
Reopening updates have not been made, but questions have been raised as to why the ferry, a necessary and safer public transit option during the pandemic, suddenly restricted access to the only ferry pier in Greenpoint. The reason? Private ownership.
“Unfortunately access has been restricted by the new owner of the pier,” @NYCFerry shared in a Tweet on Sunday. “We are working diligently to resolve the issue.”
Due to temporary restrictions to the Greenpoint pier, ferry service to and from the Greenpoint landing will be suspended until further notice. We will post updates on https://t.co/Rp8vJADKlJ and the NYC Ferry app when service will resume. We apologize for any inconvenience.— NYC Ferry (@NYCferry) October 18, 2020
The new owner of the pier, Lendlease, bought 18 India St. from JZ Capital Partners last week for over $110 million, the Real Deal reported. Australia-based Lendlease is a multinational construction and development corporation with annual revenue reported at over $15 billion.
Structurally, there seems to be no reason for the Greenpoint landing to shut down. Previously, flooding has led to ferry pier shutdowns and restricted access, but the larger issue at play is that while New York City used public funds to build a public transit pier, the city itself doesn’t own the pier, meaning the private company that know owns it is seemingly within its rights to close off public access.
Councilman Stephen Levin is currently trying to resolve the situation, which has left many commuters and Greenpointers who rely on the ferry to reach Manhattan, stranded on this side of the river. “Like everyone who’s just seeing this-I am livid about this. This property and pier has a long history (including the gangway falling into the East River in 2014)-I know it was built by the owner of the property and they were liable but I have never heard that the city/@NYCEDC didn’t have ongoing legal access to the pier,” the Councilman tweeted on Sunday night.
This story is still developing and will be updated accordingly.
Like everyone who’s just seeing this-I am livid about this. This property and pier has a long history (including the gangway falling into the East River in 2014)-I know it was built by the owner of the property and they were liable but I have never heard 1/ https://t.co/3g8ljVPWpc— (((Stephen Levin))) (@StephenLevin33) October 19, 2020