What’s the Downtown Ferry Problem?

Written by Daniel Fitzsimmons on . Posted in News Our Town Downtown.


One resident says noisier ferries only dock on north side of Battery Park City

About 18 months ago, ferries coming into the north side of the downtown terminal near Rockefeller Park vastly outnumbered those that would dock on the south side – so much so that Community Board 1’s Battery Park Committee took up the cause of “ferry balancing” to look into the issue. 

Anthony Notaro, chairman of the committee, said the imbalance was due to the way the company – Billybey Ferry Company, which leases the terminal from the Port Authority – set up its routes.
“We worked with [Billybey] and the Port Authority and over the last 12 to 18 months have worked the issue of the re-balancing,” said Notaro. “As of today there are 240 landings at that terminal [per day] — 170 go to the south side and 70 go up to the north side.”Ferry
But Andris Vizbaras, who lives in the River Terrace building on the north side of the terminal, disputed that and said of the ferries that dock on his side, an unequal amount of them are the noisier, more polluting Brooklyn Class ferries.
Notaro said he has no idea whether that’s the case – and has no way of knowing. “We’ve fixed the balancing, but I don’t that we can fix what boats go where or how many boats they have of the older style,” he said.
Vizbaras has been a presence at Community Board 1 meetings pleading his case, to no avail he said. He said he’s taken to wearing earplugs when sleeping and that noise from the ferries – which run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. – sometimes wakes his children. Vizbaras said 11 boats come in every hour during peak hours. “It’s a significant irritant,” he said.
Vizbaras claims that the majority of Battery Park Committee members live on the south side, and represent only their neighbors, and have used their influence to push the noisier boats to the north side, a charge that committee members deny.
“Almost all of the noise-making ferries are docking on the north side and that’s no coincidence,” said Vizbaras. “That’s because of an active effort by the committee to do it that way.”
Notaro said Billybey has done a great job in upgrading eight of their 13 ferries with quieter, less polluting engines.
A call to Billybey’s public relations firm, Sunshine Sachs, was not returned by deadline.

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