The first three of 20 Citywide Ferries arrived at the New York Harbor on Monday to much fanfare — and some jeers.
As Mayor Bill de Blasio and his entourage of city officials arrived at the Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 aboard the Lunchbox on Monday morning, he was greeted by taunts from a New York Water Taxi floating nearby, honking its horn as the press awaited the mayor’s announcement.
The New York Water Taxi had lost a bid to operate the Citywide Ferries to the company Hornblower, and was subsequently acquired earlier this year by another operator New York Cruise Lines, which owns the city’s Circle Line. Apparently the losing bidder is still sore about it.
On Wednesday, Peter Ebright, executive vice president of New York Water Taxi, refuted the claim that the nearby vessel was honking at the commotion on Pier 1, stating it was per regulations.
“We are required to sound the horn when exiting the landing. We follow this protocol every single time we exit this landing,” Ebright said in an email, referring to the Fulton Ferry Landing.
De Blasio reiterated on Monday that the East River and Rockaways routes will launch a month ahead of schedule, on May 1.
Officials also announced that they have tapped a company called New Stand to run concessions on the ferries, including an app that allows ferry riders to make purchases with their phones. The concessions offered will include wine, cold brew coffee and beer on tap.
The New Stand also runs kiosks in the Union Square station, the Columbus Circle station and Brookfield Place.
“By the way, this is starting ahead of schedule,” the mayor said, joined by DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, NYCEDC president James Patchett, along with elected officials and Hornblower executives.
“Yes, you’re looking at a government project starting ahead of schedule.”
In celebration of the boat arrivals, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen christened the Lunchbox by smashing a bagged bottle of champagne onto a handrail, and an FDNY boat shot water cannons nearby. The ferry’s name was chosen by Bay Ridge’s P.S. 170’s second-graders.