Earlier this summer, a local resident started a petition drive to urge the city to add ferry service on the East River at Grand Street.
The campaign, initiated by Joe Hanania, won the support of nearly 600 people, who signed the online petition. Now Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Grand Street resident himself, has reiterated his support for the idea. In a letter to Kyle Kimball, executive director of the NYC Economic Development Corp., Silver wrote:
I would like to express my strong recommendation that EDC create a new ferry stop on Grand Street in my Lower East Side community. This portion of the Lower East Side has traditionally been severely underserved when it comes to public transit. It is also an area that has seen an influx of new residents and a surge of commercial and retail development in recent years. For these reasons, I believe Grand Street would prove to be a popular location for a new ferry stop. A Grand Street ferry stop could provide local residents with a faster and more accessible commute to the Financial District and Midtown. It would also serve as a gateway to the Lower East Side and Chinatown for other New Yorkers and tourists, as well as bring people into the East River Esplanade and bikeway, which the EDC has done such a wonderful job reviving. Further, a ferry stop here would provide a link to Williamsburg and other parts of Brooklyn that are home to their own burgeoning neighborhoods. As EDC explores ways to improve the East River ferry, I believe Grand Street would be an ideal location. I look forward to you giving this proposal a positive review and I thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Silver wrote a similar letter to Deputy Mayor Bob Steele in 2011.