2017-04-21 / Top Stories

Q&A With Rockaway’s Very Own Ferry Fighter

By Maria Elena Perez

Joe Hartigan Joe Hartigan With the anticipated NYC Ferry service just weeks away from kicking off on Monday, May 1, several thank yous are in order for the people who had a hand in making it happen.

While many peninsula residents know him as the “ferry guy,” Joe Hartigan has been a transportation advocate for 24 years, working to get Rockaway the transportation it deserves.

In a Q&A with The Wave, Hartigan discussed his excitement for the new ferry service and what he hopes the new service will bring to the peninsula.

The Wave: How were you given the name “the ferry guy?”

Joe Hartigan: I have been a ferry/train/bus advocate for 24 years. My advocacy started when I worked as an F.D.N.Y. Lieutenant in lower Manhattan. Over the years, I have led numerous ferry companies on tours of the Rockaways and even arranged several demo ferry runs with airlines and the Genting Casino near Kennedy Airport to lower Manhattan.

W: Now that the ferry is coming to Rockaway, what are you most excited about it?

J: The most important fact is that the Mayor kept his word. The Mayor is the only politician that can take credit for the ferry. The fact that ferry service is seven days a week from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., will be a big relief for commuters. When ferry service was in place after the storm, I [started] calling for the first run to be at 5:30 a.m., for the construction workers. I was thrilled [to learn] that the Rockaway ferry will have three commuter ferry runs at 5:30, 6:30, and 7:30 a.m.

W: What kind of challenges do you anticipate with the new ferry program?

J: Overcrowding on the commuter runs and summer ferry service leaving people at the dock will be a challenge in Manhattan, but I guess that is a good problem rather than a lack of ridership.

W: What do you think the first ferry ride of the season will be like for you after all of your advocating?

J: It’s a relief, but my concern is over building up ridership over the next winter. I have been working on the idea of reverse tourism, which [transports] passengers from Manhattan to the outer boroughs for day trips.

W: Once the ferry service is in place, what's your next step into making the ferry service great for the entire peninsula?

J: Good question. Connecting the Rockaway ferry to the outlet mall and Ferris wheel on Staten Island is next on my list. Think about this: if the customers of COSTCO in Lawrence took the Rockaway ferry just once or twice in a year to the outlet mall or to the Ferris wheel, it would be a huge success.

W: Why is this new ferry service so important to you?

J: The biggest complaints from residents are commuting and shopping, so, hopefully, the ferry will attract new businesses. The local businesses need the tourist revenue to be more profitable and Rockaway needs more summer jobs.

W: How do you feel about the May 1 start date being so close?

J: Great. It will give the operator one month to get the kinks out before the main part of the summer season starts.

W: What do youhope the peninsula will get from this new ferry service?

J: Redevelopment and better access to jobs. If we want better stores and more restaurants, we need tourist dollars.

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because his selling out

because his selling out farrockaway for it put the hotel shelters and shelter at Dayton village ex site and possible prison in farrockaway a neighborhood of people of many descent put them in your neighborhood Danny coalition of the rockaways Bruce jacobs

New reporter on the beat

New reporter on the beat maybe should have done some homework.

This is so funny I had to

This is so funny I had to laugh, Bloomberg does not extend our Ferry service leaves as Mayor. Then we have Mayor de Blasio who takes over as our new Mayor and he takes away our Ferry Service. Now where suppose to thank de Blasio ha! How about thanking our Community people and elected's who had rallies, wrote letters, made calls in order to keep our Ferry Service for the Rockaway's, Broad Channel and Breezy Point. The Mayor it seems had no choice in giving us a Ferry stop here thanks to the outcry of our residents, elected's and our great Community papers. Oh yes true so what he had the final say it was all of us that got it done! Danny Ruscillo

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