With a toot of its horn, the triple-deck Seastreak is off. Because the R train, which runs Brooklyn’s western corridor from Bay Ridge to Brooklyn Heights, will no longer run to Manhattan for the next 14 months, Bay Ridge Councilmember Vincent Gentile managed to finagle the boat operator to have its Rockaway ferry stop at Pier 4 in Sunset Park, where a New York Water Taxi used to land before service was suspended a few years ago.
It was a gorgeous day for an inaugural ferry ride: blazing sunshine and cooling breezes. Turnout was “better than we expected,” said Justin Brannan, Gentile’s aide, both of whom were on hand with free coffee and pastries—about 100 people before the last boat left at 10:05am (which carried at least a dozen more). Standing on its upper deck, the wind whipped so hard while in motion I had to take off and put away my half-broken glasses, lest the loose left lens pop out; I had to grip my camera so tightly that my hand is still cramped just to keep it from flying into the bay. The trip is impossibly fast, what felt like a matter of mere minutes. But the best part of riding the ferry are the otherwise unavailable views of the Brooklyn waterfront. Here’s what you can see.