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NYC Ferry Queens
Photograph: courtesy NYC Ferry

A brand-new ferry could connect Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport

The car-less option would shuttle people from three Manhattan landings to two docks at LaGuardia.

Shaye Weaver
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Shaye Weaver
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Getting to NYC's airports has always been a hassle—taking a taxi is too expensive and taking the subway takes way too long.

Multiple solutions have been thrown around in an attempt to make it easier for New Yorkers to get to LaGuardia, including a scrapped plan for an AirTrain that would have connected to the MTA subway and Long Island Rail Road to ease access to the Port Authority-run airport.

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In March, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released a set of alternative options to this AirTrain, including a ferry service that would use NYC's waterways to get people to the airport. 

Possible stops on this ferry could include Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan, East 34th Street in midtown and East 90th on the Upper East Side. These would connect to landings at the airport—a Flushing Bay landing and a Bowery Bay landing—which would both require shuttle bus connections to get people to the terminals.

It would be about 7 miles to Bowery Bay and 10 miles to Flushing Bay from the East 34th Street/midtown ferry stop.

Ferry service to LaGuardia
Photograph: courtesy of the Port Authority NY NJ

According to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, it's a "no-brainer." In an interview with The New York Post, he said that getting cars off the road reduces carbon emissions. 

Despite this, ferry ridership and the long distance to docks don't seem to hint at great success with this option, the Post notes. 

"Most New Yorkers are nowhere near a ferry dock and most ferry docks don’t connect to the subway," Jon Orcutt, a consultant for Reinvent Albany, told the Post. "We think it’ll be low ridership, even if it’ll be relatively easy to do."

He added that adding a ferry service might mean a separate maintenance facility at Willets Point.

Other options the Port Authority is looking at include expanded, rapid bus service, and a light rail that would be adjacent to N line's Astoria Boulevard station, the 7 train stations at Woodside/61st station, Mets-Willets Point, Jackson Heights and Jamaica (which would mean there would be a connection between LaGuardia and JFK Airports). It could also eventually connect to the forthcoming Interborough Express.

The N/W lines could also be extended to the airport, but there's still a lot of analysis done to determine which option is best.

Laguardia Light Rail
Photograph: courtesy Port Authority of NY NJ
Laguardia Light Rail
Photograph: courtesy Port Authority of NY NJ
Laguardia Light Rail
Photograph: courtesy Port Authority of NY NJ

You can read up on the different options in detail here and attend the next information session on March 24 at the Astoria World Manor. 

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