NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some Rockland County residents have asked for an alternative to a brutal daily commute.
Visible from the blue autumn sky above Nyack, Manhattan beckons down river from Rockland County — visible yet almost out of reach.
“Oh man it’s terrible. When I go in to New York, I take the bus across the bridge, then I get on the train,” Compton Maddox told CBS2’s Lou Young.
“Rockland County is unique because we’re as close to Manhattan as Westchester is, but we struggle because we don’t have a lot of transit options,” Nyack Mayor, Jen Laird White explained.
Even the big new bridge going up at the Tappan Zee doesn’t offer much promise.
“One of the things the bridge was supposed to have was mass transit, and that never happened. We have a bus that takes you to the train that’s very sporadic. We have a bus that goes into the city that takes forever. The alternatives are not great,” Annie Hekker-Weiss said.
Hekker-Weiss has organized an online petition to start a ferry service, probably from a waterfront park on the Hudson. The people at New York Waterway confirmed they’re watching and waiting to see if the idea catches fire.
The mayor was encouraged by a recent Columbia University study that concluded ferry service is feasible for that part of the suburbs. Some in the sleepy village wonder if it might be too good of an idea.
“It’s so hard to get to the city, so I think people would end up jumping all over it. But I’m concerned about where they’re going to park and where they’re going to be,” Mercedes Kent said.
“There would be too much traffic at certain moments. There would be people flying here late for the ferry blasting down the road,” Mike Donahue said.
But what about the reduced commute home?
“Wouldn’t it be great if you could leave Manhattan and be in Nyack in half an hour or 40 minutes?” Laird White said.
New York Waterway already operates two cross Hudson lines — Haverstraw to Ossining and Newburgh to Beacon, both designed to feed riders to Metro North.
Nyack is considering a similar service to Tarrytown, and the possibility of that full blown run to Manhattan — a trip that could take 40 minutes, and cost commuters hundreds of dollars a month.
Currently cross-Hudson service in some towns is $5, subsidized by the MTA.