2018-07-04 / Features

US Coast Guard Honored, De Blasio To Expand City’s Ferry Fleet

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

New York City has more than 520 miles of coastline, more than San Francisco or Seattle, and the Bronx is the only one of the five boroughs on the mainland. The United States Coast Guard plays an essential role in keeping the city’s waterways—and citizens—safe.

Founded in New York City by Alexander Hamilton in 1790, the Coast Guard evacuated more than 500,000 people from Lower Manhattan on 9/11. They serve and protect New Yorkers every day by escorting ferries, inspecting shipments and responded to over 600 search and rescue calls in 2017, according to a press release from the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On May 10, Admiral Paul Zukunft, commandant of the United States Coast Guard, was welcomed by de Blasio at a City Hall ceremony recognizing New York City as the nation’s largest official Coast Guard city, an honorary designation established by Congress in 1998 to celebrate the service and sacrifice of Coast Guard men and women.

“The men and women of the Coast Guard serving in New York City are a vital part of our community,” said Mayor de Blasio in the May 10 release. “Our city is immeasurably stronger and safer thanks to the work of members of the Coast Guard.”

New York City is home to more than 1,000 active duty and reserve Coast Guard members.

Coast Guard men, women and families are stationed at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island during their tour of duty in New York City.

On May 3, de Blasio announced $300 million would be added to expand ferry service and double the fleet’s capacity.

“New Yorkers have spoken: we’re going to need bigger boats,” said the mayor during an announcement in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The city estimates NYC Ferry will attract as many as nine million riders annually, double the initial projection.

With beach season fully in swing, the Parks Department now says the area from Beach 96th to Beach 98th Street is open as of June 30. De Blasio had previously announced on May 25 at the opening of city beaches, that the section of Rockaway Beach between Beach 91st Street and Beach 102nd Street would remain closed, “in order to maintain the protective dune and to keep swimmers safe.”

“The community had long expressed its concerns about the vulnerable shoreline to the Parks Department for years,” said Borough President Melinda Katz in a May 21 press release. “The consequences of the city’s failure to act earlier will be disproportionately borne by the Rockaway community.”

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