This morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off the construction on the NYC Ferry landing that will open at Corlears Hook on the Lower East Side this summer. For locals, this expansion of the ferry system is a big boon: most people live 10 to 15 minutes from the nearest subway station. For the mayor, the success of NYC Ferry has been a key point in his administration’s mission to build a “fairer city.” Particularly important has been the extension of service to underserved neighborhoods like The Rockaways, Red Hook, Lower East Side and the Bronx at Soundview (also opening this summer).

De Blasio said to the press this morning, “If you don’t have a way to get around and if everything that you’re trying to do takes too much time it just robs you of opportunity…So, this is about preparing this city for a new reality, a city that is growing in population but also has to grow in fairness and opportunity in all five boroughs, not just in this one, but in all five boroughs. That’s what NYC Ferry is all about. According to a press release, the two new routes launching this summer from Lower East Side and Soundview is anticipated to serve more than 1.4 million riders per year.

A pylon that will go into the East River to support the future landing

After the press conference, de Blasio, James Pratchett from NYCEDC, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera and yours truly from Untapped Cities signed the pylon that will go into the water!

Asked why NYC Ferry is great, de Blasio said, paraphrasing an answer James Pratchett, President of the NYCEDC previously said to a reporter, “You get to be on the water, you can go to all sort of places, it’s the same price as a subway fare, and they serve beer.” De Blasio estimates that one million people will take the ferry from Corlears Hook, “If you build it they will come.”

During its inaugural year, NYC Ferry surpassed initial projections by 34 percent (or nearly 800,000 riders). Due to the high demand, the ferry system is adding six bigger, higher-capacity boats to its fleet — the first three of which are expected to arrive in the New York Harbor over the summer.

Here are some additional photographs of the construction site:

Stay tuned as we report on the progress of this construction. Next, check out 10 Fun Facts about the NYC Ferry.