Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Congressman Vito Fossella, Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall and Economic Development President Andrew M. Alper today announced the opening of the new Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Lower Manhattan. The Whitehall Terminal provides access to ferry service to the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island for approximately 65,000 travelers each day.
"Today is a great day for Lower Manhattan and Staten Island," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This beautiful new terminal combined with the new Molinari, the soon to be in service Marchi, and the near completion of the St. George terminal are transforming the Staten Island Ferry experience. Instead of scurrying through dark and dilapidated terminals onto 40-year old boats, passengers will travel through architecturally exceptional airy terminals onto a state-of-the-art fleet. I want to thank all those who contributed to the opening of this terminal and especially to the people of Staten Island for their patience during this building process."
The project encompasses a total area of 200,000 square feet, including, a 19,000-square-foot waiting room (6,500 square feet larger than the existing one), 6,000 square feet of concessions, 10,000 square feet of office space, and 10,000 square feet of ancillary support and ferry operation rooms. The existing terminal building was badly damaged by fire in September, 1991. An interim waiting room was opened in December 1992. In October of 1992, an international design competition, sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Transportation, was held to select an architectural firm to design the new terminal.
The new Whitehall Ferry Terminal will include:
- A 75-foot-high entry hall with panoramic views of the downtown Manhattan skyline and the waterfront;
- Five new escalators, three wide stairways and one elevator inside the entry hall;
- Rooftop viewing decks with benches;
- Service/concession spaces available for amenities such as cafés and other concessions;
- A new state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning system, including a radiant floor;
- Photovoltalic solar panels that convert sunlight to electricity to supply a portion of the terminal's power;
- Police and tourist information offices;
- New surfaces and fixtures including vandal-resistance fixtures in bathrooms for ease of maintenance;
- State-of-the-art public address system;
- Easy connection to South Ferry Subway Station (1 and 9 lines).
Percent for Art is installing 28 granite benches entitled Whitehall Crossing that mimics Indian canoes crossing New York Bay. The work, designed by artist Ming Fay will be installed in March.
The renovation of the new Whitehall Terminal was administered on behalf of the City by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for the New York City Department of Transportation and Department of Parks and Recreation, in association with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). The Terminal was designed by Schwartz Architects of New York City, a firm that was part of the design team that was unanimously selected for the project from an international design competition held in 1992. The design team also included Ron Evitts Design, Earthtech/TAMS Consultants, Inc., Robert Sillman Associates, Flack & Kurtz,Ysrael A. Seinuk, Philip Habib & Association. The construction manager was Tishman/Harris, a joint venture with Tishman Construction and Frederick R. Harris. The project cost $201 million and was funded by the State, City and Federal Governments.
In addition to the new terminal, the MTA will be overseeing the renovation of Peter Minuit Plaza. The newly configured plaza will include the elimination of the existing traffic island, a new traffic pattern to more safely accommodate pedestrians, installation of 12 benches on the plaza, new pubic space for community activities, 42 new trees, a covered walkways from the terminal to the Whitehall Street Subways Station (N and R lines), a dedicated cab drop-off area along Whitehall Street and a new bus loop for the M1, M6 and M15 buses.
"The completion of this beautiful terminal signals another enhancement for Staten Island Ferry commuters," said Congressman Fossella. "We are adding three new boats to the Ferry fleet, rebuilding the St. George Terminal, expanding overnight service and today celebrating the grand opening of the new Whitehall station. This project was many years in the making, and it was through the leadership of many individuals, including Mayor Bloomberg, that this new terminal is completed and open for commuters. I am also proud to have secured nearly $10 million in federal funding to make this new terminal a reality."
"The new ferry terminal here at Whitehall Street is stunning," said Commissioner Weinshall. "Two weeks ago, the passenger area opened to the public and became available for everyone's enjoyment, and we expect that the St. George Terminal will be completed this spring. The panoramic views, open floor plan, and state of the art design of both buildings guarantee that every ferry rider will experience the best the city has to offer while waiting for the boat. On typical weekdays we transport approximately 65,000 passengers between the terminals, and now the experience will be better than ever."
"To remain the business capitol of the world, New York City needs to maintain a first-class infrastructure system," said EDC President Alper. "And a critical component of our transportation infrastructure is clean and efficient ferry service. The reconstruction of the Whitehall Ferry Terminal has continued without a single service interruption while more than 65,000 passengers continue using the Staten Island Ferry each day. That is a monumental achievement considering the scope of this project. I am exceedingly proud of my staff and our construction and design partners for their work on this remarkable project."