Brooklyn community leaders huddled in the blistering cold at the entrance to Canarsie Pier on Dec. 19 to say they will not be forgotten in their pursuit of fast ferry service.
Calling South Brooklyn a transportation desert, the group is urging Mayor-elect Eric Adams to ensure residents have equal access to the same water transit that can be found in other parts of the city.
“Mayor-elect Eric Adams, we’re here to call on you to bring a fast ferry to Canarsie Pier. You had a statement released about two years ago to say that you’re gonna support the idea of bringing a fast ferry to Canarsie. Now it’s time to deliver,” said Jibreel Jalloh, a member of Flossy Organization, an advocacy group fighting to bring resources to Canarsie.
Jalloh glanced at the traffic accumulating along the Belt Parkway adjacent to the pier and simply asked of the city, “You opened up a fast ferry port in so many other parts of New York. Why are we left out yet again? Why is it taking so long?”
According to Jalloh, the Canarsie Improvement Association has garnered over 6,000 signatures from concerned locals who desire to see a ship sail into their home pier, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The petition has been collecting names since 2017, yet still speakers say the city has yet to act. With a new mayor imminent, the group is turning to Adams for action.
This proposed ferry service is also backed by incoming Council Member Mercedes Narcisse. She shared that since Canarsie, her hometown, deserves the opportunity to flourish with tourists and visitors, enjoying the diners, shopping areas and other small businesses.
“I believe it is time for us as a community to get all hands-on deck to fight to bring equity and transportation is one of them. We live in a transportation desert and having a fast ferry here, we’ll have the community not only on the transportation, but economically it will grow our businesses. It will grow! Give us an opportunity to gather to spend time together as a community. We see people fishing here and enjoy the recreational area. We’re gonna open other doors to connect. We know communication is everything,” Narcisse said.
Residents also joined the rally from areas throughout Canarsie, Spring Creek and East New York calling for ferry transportation from the pier to Shirley Chisholm Park (which is only accessible by bus) and other boroughs.
“We are forgotten, but we will be forgotten no more,” Ottis, a local resident said as he held onto a sign with the words: “Fast ferry now.”