SeaStreak

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SeaStreak
Industry Passenger transportation
Founded 1986
Headquarters New Jersey, United States
Area served New York City
New Jersey
Rhode Island
Massachusetts
Parent New England Fast Ferry
Website www.seastreak.com
Passing under Hell Gate Bridge
Seastreak Wall Street docked at the East 34th Street Ferry Terminal.

SeaStreak is a private ferry company operating in the Port of New York and New Jersey and in New England. It provides high-speed commuter service between points the Raritan Bayshore in Monmouth County, New Jersey and in Manhattan in New York City as well as special event and sightseeing excursions in the harbor and seasonal service to the New England coast.

History[edit]

SeaStreak began operation in 1986 as Express Navigation. In 1999 Sea Containers acquired Express Navigation for $5 million, The company was renamed SeaStreak. SeaStreak has been a subsidiary of New England Fast Ferry since 2008. The acquisition was a result of its former parent owner Sea Containers Ltd. filing for bankruptcy in 2006.[1] SeaStreak has provided commuter ferry service between New Jersey and New York City since 1986.[2][3]

Vessels[edit]

SeaStreak operates a fleet of six diesel-powered double-hulled catamarans. The SeaStreak Highlands, SeaStreak Wall Street, SeaStreak New Jersey, and SeaStreak New York are all 141 foot vessels owned by SeaStreak; each has a capacity of 400 passengers and travels at a service speed of 38 knots (44 mph). The vessels were built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding of Somerset, Massachusetts.[4]

The Ocean State is a 65 foot vessel owned by New England Fast Ferry; it has a capacity of 149 passengers and can travel up to 34 knots (39 mph). Originally designed as a ferry for the Providence to Newport route, the Ocean State is used for service to baseball games. The vessel was built by Merrifield-Roberts of Bristol.[5]

The Martha's Vineyard Express is a 95 foot vessel owned by New England Fast Ferry and is operated by SeaStreak from September through May; it has a capacity of 149 passengers and can travel up to 29 knots (33 mph). The vessel was built by Derecktor Shipyards of Mamaroneck and is the sister ship of New England Fast Ferry's Whaling City Express.[6] It operates between New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard during the summer months.

Past vessels have included the SeaStreak Manhattan, the SeaStreak Brooklyn, and the SeaStreak Liberty, among a few others.

Routes[edit]

SeaStreak routes connect the towns of Atlantic Highlands and Highlands in Monmouth County, New Jersey with Pier 11 at Wall Street and the East 34th Street Ferry Landing on the East River in Manhattan. During the morning rush hour the trip from the Raritan Bayshore to Manhattan takes approximately 40 minutes and there is limited shuttle service to Battery Park City Ferry Terminal.

From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, service is also provided to the public beaches in Sandy Hook a few times each day. Service is also provided to Yankee Stadium for selected New York Yankees games and to Citi Field for New York Mets games on weekends. The company has long offered "special event cruises" such as sightseeing excursions, sunset cruises, and trips to Broadway matinees, college football games at West Point, the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and to see the fall foliage in the Hudson Valley.

On July 17, 2009, SeaStreak began providing weekend service between New York City and Martha's Vineyard. One ferry departs New York City on Friday afternoon and returns on Sunday night. The trip through Long Island Sound and along the shoreline of Rhode Island and Massachusetts takes a little over five hours. The service will continue through Labor Day weekend and was implemented following the success of a trial run held over the Fourth of July weekend.[7] Before launching its service to Martha's Vineyard, SeaStreak had expressed an interest in providing a similar service on summer weekends to Sag Harbor in the Hamptons, but there were concerns over traffic and ferry service is a non-permitted use in the village code.[8]

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012, which caused massive infrastructure damage to the New York City Subway system's IND Rockaway Line A train branch south of the station at Howard Beach – JFK Airport, severing all direct subway connections between the Rockaway Peninsula and Broad Channel and the Queens mainland for many months, SeaStreak began running a ferry service between a makeshift ferry slip at Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway Park, Queens and Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. The service currently runs from Monday through Friday [9] for a fare of $3.50, with five morning Rockaway-to-Manhattan trips between 5:40 a.m. and 9:25 a.m., with three morning return trips from Pier 11 back to Rockaway between 6:35 a.m. and 8:35 a.m. The fare, subsidized by the city government, was originally set at $2, but was raised to $3.50 on Feb. 1 after the service was extended.

All five of the Rockaway-to-Manhattan trips first included a stop at the ferry landing at the Brooklyn Army Terminal industrial complex on 58th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, which was added to the schedule in August 2013 due to extensive Sandy-related damage to the nearby BMT Broadway Line R-Train infrastructure and the resulting disruptions to service between Brooklyn and Manhattan from the repair work,[10] although the morning Rockaway-bound ferry return trips did not also stop there. The morning runs to Manhattan all also included an additional stop at East 34th Street. The three earliest trips required a transfer to another waiting vessel, while the two later trips continued straight through with no transfer. There was no morning return service to downtown, Brooklyn or Rockaway from East 34th Street. In the afternoon/evening, SeaStreak ran five Manhattan-to-Rockaway trips between 2:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., originating at East 34th Street, with stops at Pier 11 downtown and the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Four of those five trips required a transfer after the short trip from East 34th Street to Pier 11 to another vessel for the longer trip back to Brooklyn and Rockaway. There were also three return trips in the afternoon/evening from Rockaway to Manhattan between 4:35 p.m. and 6:50 p.m., although these runs did not include stops at either Brooklyn Army Terminal or East 34th Street. Free parking was available for commuters in lots across the street from the Rockaway ferry slip and on the large ferry pier at Brooklyn Army Terminal.

In December of 2013, it was reported that since its inception a little more than a year earlier, the run between Rockaway and Manhattan had attracted an average of about 730 passengers per day, on top of the approximately 250 daily passengers traveling between Brooklyn and Manhattan.[11] The ferry by that time had carried nearly 200,000 passengers since its inception, according to city officials. [12]

Originally intended as a stopgap alternative transportation measure only for the months until subway service was restored at the end of May in 2013, the ferry service proved to be popular with locals, and the city's contract with SeaStreak was initially extended until July [13] and then was subsequently extended again, first till mid-October and then until Jan. 31, 2014.[14] Community organizations, activists and elected officials in Rockaway and Brooklyn campaigned for a permanent extension of the subsidized service.[15]

In late January of 2014, the city elected to extend the Rockaway-Brooklyn-Manhattan ferry service for another three months, until early May, and would at that time consider a further three-month extension, until Aug. 1, to give officials time to evaluate the ridership numbers and to determine whether to establish the service on a permanent basis. The fare was raised to $3.50 per ride during the extension period from $2 previously.[12] Local officials and activists in Rockaway and in Brooklyn planned to intensify their efforts to boost ferry ridership during this interim period in hopes of gaining a favorable decision on the possibly permanent extension of the service. The service was extended again through August; however, when the city government announced its budget in late June for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1, the ferry only received a $2 million further appropriation, enough to temporarily extend it again through October, but did not receive the approximately $8 million appropriation needed to keep the service running for the full fiscal year ending on June 30, 2015. Local officials and community activists expressed dismay with the decision, saying it was a blow to the Rockaways as the area continues to struggle economically in the aftermath of the 2012 hurricane. A spokesperson for the city government's Economic Development Corporation said that “We will continue to examine ridership and seek a sustainable funding stream that can support the $25-$30 subsidy per trip — the highest by far of any public transportation in the city.” [16]

Full service on the Montague Street Tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan was restored in mid-September, but many commuters continued to take the ferry, despite its extra $1 cost over the subway fare. In mid-October, Mayor Bill de Blasio visited Rockaway and declared that the time had come to end the ferry service, since all of the subway service that it had replaced was now back in operation. [17] He said the city would seek longer-term transportation alternatives, possibly including ferry service, but offered few specifics. The ferry began telling its riders that service would end on Oct. 31. The mayoral announcement produced renewed dismay among local officials and activists, who began an intense 11th-hour lobbying campaign, including the use of social media and barrages of phone calls to city agencies, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to try to convince de Blasio to reverse his decision or convince the other officials to advise him to do so. Several days later, the mayor said that he might be open to accepting state funding to continue the ferry service, [18] and a week after his original announcement came word that the mayor would meet with Rep. Gregory Meeks and other local officials, just days before the ferry's scheduled ending date, to discuss its possible future beyond that. [19] However, the ferry last ran on October 31, 2014, after SeaStreak was unsuccessful in procuring an extension of the service.[20]

Accidents[edit]

In October 2003, eight passengers were evacuated to Staten Island after a fire broke out aboard a ferry heading to the Raritan Bayshore.[21]

On January 9, 2013, at around 8:45 a.m., Seastreak Wall Street, arriving at Pier 11 from Atlantic Highlands, rammed into the mooring as it was docking, leaving a visible gash in the ferry stretching several feet above the water line. The president of the ferry company, James R. Barker, told NBC News that morning that there were 300 aboard and that many of those injured were thrown from their seats. The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.[22][23][24][25] Eighty-five people were injured, two critically. According to the captain, the control system of the boat[26] failed to respond.[27][28][29] Lawsuits seeking damages have been brought by injured passengers.[30] As of May 16, 2013, the deadline for filing, thirty-seven claims had been made against the company. The case will be heard in admiralty court since the accident took place on navigable waters.[31]

In popular culture[edit]

The ferry is seen during a romantic moment passing underneath the Brooklyn Bridge in the movie Step Up 3D. It is seen still operating in the year 2021 in the movie Click.

In "New York Shark" , an online game where a shark destroys boats and aircraft, one of the larger SeaStreak vessels is featured. The vessel has Sea"Steak" written on the side.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Murphy, Dan (March 18, 2008). "New owner to keep SeaStreak ferries afloat". The Star-Ledger (Newark). Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  2. ^ Leuck, Thomas J. (January 30, 1999). "Big Ferry Operator to Enter New York Market". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  3. ^ Nordheimer, Jon (January 2, 1995). "A Ferry Gives Wall Streeters Speed Plus Socializing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  4. ^ "SeaStreak Launches New High-Speed Catamaran". Maritime Reporter and Engineering News. May 5, 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  5. ^ Yanity, Kathleen (April 4, 2003). "Fast ferry's finishing touch". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  6. ^ "Derecktor Delivers Second Catamaran For New England Fast Ferry" (Press release). Derecktor Shipyards. November 28, 2004. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  7. ^ Sigelman, Nelson (July 16, 2009). "New York fast ferry will begin weekend service tomorrow". The Martha's Vineyard Times. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  8. ^ Vecsey, Taylor K. (June 11, 2009). "Looking Into Ferry Service". Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  9. ^ "Seastreak Ferry New Jersey, New York and New Bedford, Martha's Vineyard". Seastreakusa.com. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  10. ^ McFadden, Katie (2013-08-02). "Ferry Will Make Brooklyn Stop | www.rockawave.com | Wave of Long Island". www.rockawave.com. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  11. ^ "Ferry Facts | www.rockawave.com | Wave of Long Island". www.rockawave.com. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  12. ^ a b "Rockaway Ferry Floats On Through May, But Trip Will Cost Nearly Double - Rockaway Beach - DNAinfo.com New York". Dnainfo.com. 2014-01-20. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  13. ^ "Rockaway ferry will continue for six more weeks: Mayor Bloomberg". NY Daily News. 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  14. ^ Guarino, Dan. "Ferry Lives On | www.rockawave.com | Wave of Long Island". www.rockawave.com. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  15. ^ McFadden, Katie (2013-12-06). "A Ferry Strong Commitment | www.rockawave.com | Wave of Long Island". www.rockawave.com. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  16. ^ http://www.amny.com/transit/rockaway-ferry-service-only-funded-through-october-1.8582809
  17. ^ http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/10/8554795/bell-tolls-rockaway-ferry
  18. ^ http://rockawaytimes.com/2014/10/23/answers-provided-ny-rising-ferry-funds/
  19. ^ http://www.rockawave.com/news/2014-10-24/Front_Page/Ferry_Hail_Mary.html
  20. ^ http://brooklyn.ny1.com/content/news/transit/218228/commuters-bemoan-closing-of-rockaway-ferry/
  21. ^ Newman, Maria (October 21, 2003). "8 Rescued From Ferry Fire Near Verrazano Bridge". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  22. ^ Santora, Marc (January 9, 2013). "More Than a Dozen Injured in Ferry Accident in Lower Manhattan". The New York Times. 
  23. ^ Murnane, Paul (January 9, 2013). "Ferry hits NYC pier while docking, injuring dozens". CBS News. 
  24. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt; Moynihan, Colin (January 9, 2013). "Several dozen injured in ferry crash in lower Manhattan". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  25. ^ Goldberg, Dan (January 8, 2013). "Ferry crashes into NYC pier, injuring nearly 60 N.J. commuters". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2013-01-09. 
  26. ^ http://www.maritimeaccidentattorney.com/blog/why-the-new-york-ferry-disaster-proves-the-jones-act-is-important.cfm
  27. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt (January 10, 2013). "Day After Crash, Focus Is on Ferry’s Control System". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  28. ^ Sherman, T; Goldberg, Dan (January 10, 2013). "Officials investigating why ferry from N.J. to NYC crashed, injuring dozens of passengers". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  29. ^ Sherman, Ted (January 17, 2013). "NYC ferry crash: NTSB finds damage to propeller". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  30. ^ Sherman, Ted (January 22, 2013). "Lawsuit seeking $45 million in damages filed against Seastreak in ferry crash". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  31. ^ Higgs, Larry (May 17, 2013). "SeaStreak ferry crash brings 37 federal court claims". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 

External links[edit]