On Saturday, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey finally tugged its World Financial Center ferry terminal off of the East 39th Street pier in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where it was being assembled, and towed it to a dedicated anchor point off the Battery Park City esplanade. The five-slip, floating terminal, which began life in a Texas ship yard, is currently undergoing finishing work before a projected opening later this summer, some two years later than originally scheduled.
In addition to finishing late, the price tag on the project exceeded expectations. Total construction costs came to $50 million, up $10 million from the originally budgeted $40 million. BillyBey Ferry Company, which bailed NY Waterway out of financial trouble in 2005 by purchasing half of the company’s boats and routes, will operate and maintain the terminal.
Though ferry traffic to lower Manhattan has dropped off drastically since the post-9/11 glut, when disabled PATH service forced commuters from New Jersey to find other means of transportation, the Port Authority expects the number of riders to increase with the completion of the Goldman Sachs headquarters and the rest of the World Trade Center office towers. The temporary facility currently handles an average of 7,400 weekday passenger trips. The new terminal, which boasts a 22,000-square-foot waiting area, has the ability to handle up to 16,000 passengers an hour. The facility also includes additional seating and improved lighting. As Port Authority officials told AN in 2006, a central goal for the project was to keep it as transparent as possible, so as not to obstruct views of the water.