ASTORIA — The city's five-borough ferry system now has an official launch month as work on the plan moves forward, according to Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen.
While the city has previously only said the service would launch in the summer, Glen gave more specifics Wednesday night at a town hall at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.
"We will be ready to launch the service in June of 2017," Glen said.
The city's Economic Development Corporation hasn't officially announced an operator for the ferry service, but the docks are currently under construction at a factory on Staten Island, a borough that isn't scheduled to get any Citywide Ferry Service.
Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced the five-borough ferry plan in his 2015 State of the City address. When it kicks off, it will feature routes from Rockaway Park, Long Island City, Astoria, Bay Ridge and Sunset Park.
It's just one way the city is re-imagining its "spine," Glen said, along with the recently announced Brooklyn Queens Connector, or BQX streetcar project.
"When you look at the neighborhoods that run along the East River, from northern Queens to Sunset Park down in Brooklyn, that corridor, that strip, are home today to over 600,000 people," she said.
There are also many growing employment hubs.
"We are going to make sure that we maximize the impact of this growth by investing in the infrastructure it takes to move people in and out and between these neighborhoods," she said.
The summer start for the ferry was originally planned to allow for higher ridership, an EDC official said last fall.
"We want to launch this during a successful period in which there's higher ridership," said James Foot, of the EDC, at a meeting October 2015.
"Winter has been a lot tougher to get the ridership. We've learned that with the East River Ferry."