Would You Rather?

Streetcar or ferry: Which transportation alternative moves you, New York?

By Mayra David | March 14, 2016 - 11:59AM 

Mayor Bill DeBlasio recently made some headlines when he proposed a new transportation alternative in NYC: a streetcar connecting Queens and Brooklyn. That immediately got us fantasizing about alternative commutes (that don't go underground, that is). So we asked a group of New Yorkers: Would you rather commute via streetcar or ferry, like so many of our European friends?

Practical and environmental As nostalgic and groundbreaking as ferries and streetcars both are to New York City, at this time I am a little more inclined to want something similar to a light rail and if that is a streetcar, so be it. Ferries are a wonderful form of transportation, but I think to better utilize the existing roads between Astoria and South Willamsburg or beyond with dedicated transportation options makes more sense. Numerous people live and work along this stretch of our tidal estuary but a more relevant option for them is to construct commuting options along the roads/paths they are already using. Not to mention the greener results of using electric or solar power versus petrol for boats. —Morgan, Hamilton Heights (pictured above)

Seeking San Fransisco style I kind of love the idea of a streetcar, but only because I’m thinking of those old San Francisco ones with the nice sounding bells where you hop on and off. I wouldn’t take a ferry because I get seasick pretty easily. —Sandra, Chelsea

German-engineering approved I lived in Germany where streetcars (strassenbahn) are pretty common. They work really well. They have old towns where there aren’t any underground subways, so maybe that’s why they include them in the city planning? Anyway, they are more pleasant than the subways, which get hot and are very dirty. And they are faster than buses. A ferry is not that flexible and it can get cold on the water. —Ben, Hamilton Heights

One rail fiasco at a time Considering the traffic, noise, and money it would take to build that thing in the city streets, no way. Can we just get that Second Avenue subway line done first? Enough rails. Ferry sounds easy: Just add a another dock to stop at. Done. —Josh, East Harlem

Footloose and ferry fresh I like the ferry idea much more. Less opportunity for rail delays, or for bums and crazies to hide out and scare the crap out of people or stink up the place. Being on the water even just a few minutes sounds more peaceful, then a nice stroll to work. —Anna, Midtown West

Verdict: New York desires a streetcar!


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