One of Mayor Bill de Blasio's big pre-election moves involves launching a greatly expanded city ferry service this summer, and last week the first new ferry began its long voyage from the Gulf Coast to New York. The maiden voyage did not begin auspiciously, however—the ferry got stuck in the mud. In Florida. Is this a metaphor?
The Times reports that ferryboat Hull 200 started its voyage to the city from its home shipyard on the Gulf Coast last week. The company operating the service, Hornblower Cruises and Events, decided it would be easier to cut across the Florida peninsula instead of going around it. Unfortunately, Florida is a giant sinkhole full of alligators and Carl Hiaasen characters, and on Friday the boat hit a mound of mud somewhere near the Everglades.
The boat was only lodged in there for a couple of hours, and the issue only set the mission back by a day or two. “We tried,” acting ferry captain James Caspers told the Times. “It cost us a day or two and a little excitement.”
The inaugural ferry is expected to reach us sometime next month, assuming it doesn't hit any more mudbanks. Meanwhile, it appears all the ferries will have to take the long journey around Florida to get up here, adding extra travel time for the 19-boat fleet. Hornblower says the service will still launch this summer—it's expected to service commuters in Far Rockaway, South Brooklyn, and Astoria this year, and will expand to the Upper East Side, Soundview, and the Lower East Side in 2018. The city is spending $325 million on the project; rides will cost only $2.75-a-pop.