Despite the disruptions stemming from last week's terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, some Brooklynites are enjoying their fastest commute in years. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following story from Sunset Park.
It's a strange sight: the Staten Island Ferry in Brooklyn, picking up commuters and transporting them to Manhattan. It's part of the city's effort to get Brooklynites back to work.
"I think it's great," said one commuter. "New York is getting together and taking public transportation, and the service was great."
And it's free!
The ferry started making runs at 6 a.m. from the 58th Street pier at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park. The ride to Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan is only about 20 minutes.
"Brooklyn was particularly hard-struck because of the N and the R train being directly located under the World Trade Center towers, so we wanted to do something, especially with the Brooklyn Bridge being closed and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel being closed," said Brooklyn Department of Transportation Commissioner Kathie Keegan.
But the special service didn't help the uneasiness commuters felt as they made their way in, especially with the view of the smoky skies over a new Manhattan skyline.
"To see this devastation is heartbreaking," one Brooklynite said.
Another added, "It's very sad to come this first day back and to have that smell and remember the poor people that have been lost."
"All I've been doing is crying, so I don't know how I'm going to work today," said a third commuter.
DOT workers tried to help Brooklynites get acquainted with their new route. But commuters were also greeted by the military.
"I'd just like to stay home. I'm afraid to even be here right now. It's scary," said a ferry rider.
While Brooklynites were emotional, many say they're ready to get on with their lives.
"It's tough, but you've gotta' do what you gotta' do. The markets are open today so that's where we're going," one man reasoned.
Another said, "We have to continue. Like the public has been saying, we can't let them win, so we have to mourn but continue to go on."
The DOT will continue the Brooklyn ferry service indefinitely, along with free shuttle buses to and from the pier.
- Jeanine Ramirez