Since its creation in 2017, the NYC Ferry System has gradually expanded throughout the five boroughs. However, local concerns might be delaying one of its newest routes.
Earlier this month, a number of Coney Island residents spotted what they believed to be oil in the water near Kaiser Park. The dark matter floating on the water’s surface was near the future landing site of a Coney Island ferry stop, which is currently being constructed.
Concerned residents sent photos to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Environmental Protection Agency, and Coast Guard.
“We are asking for a robust assessment from the city, the state, and the federal government,” said Assemblyman Mathylde Frontus. “We want them to monitor the air quality here that we are breathing, we want them to test this water and we want to know what are the effects of the dredging.”
NYC Ferry is operated by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). A spokesperson from NYCEDC stated the materials found in the water are not believed to be related to their activity.
“NYCEDC is proud and excited to bring ferry service to Coney Island residents after years of planning and community engagement,” said the spokesperson. “We have been notified that some residents have observed some debris in the historically polluted creek.
“Nothing has been observed connected to our activities, and we welcome monitoring by DEC to help us ensure our work has no negative environmental impact on the creek and residents,” they added.
Both NYCEDC and Coast Guard have inspected the site since the findings, and both confirmed that whatever was floating in the water was not related to the ferry project.
Coney Island Creek, which feeds into the waters near Kaiser Park, is historically polluted, so much so that the site has been considered for Superfund status by the EPA.
While the material in the water might not be related to the ferry, Frontus and community partners argue that the polluted waters near Kaiser Park make it a bad location for a ferry landing.
The assemblymember has suggested moving the landing somewhere closer to the main boardwalk of Coney Island and away from the somewhat isolated and vulnerable park.
The proposed Coney Island route would feature stops at Wall Street, Bay Ridge, and finally Coney Island. The ride would last approximately 37 minutes, and is planned to open to the public at some point before the end of 2021.