Martin Ginsburg on Haverstraw Ferries

Martin Ginsburg, who could quite possibly go down along with Mayor “Bud” Wassmer as men who “saved Haverstraw,” is the father of waterfront development in the Village of Haverstraw. The Harbors at Haverstraw, and subsequent communities that will follow it, are at any length children of Mr. Ginsburg. Thanks to him and his corporation,Ginsburg Development Corporation, the face of Haverstraw will be forever altered… for the better. Recently, in the Rockland Journal News, Mr. Ginsburg wrote a Community View in favor of ferry transport from Haverstraw and elsewhere in the Hudson River Valley:

The Journal News was correct when it called for increased government funding for ferries along the Hudson River in its June 1 editorial, “Utilizing the Hudson.” Railroads and highways are already subsidized by taxpayers, and it makes sense to support ferries as well.

There are three main reasons the government should support ferries

• Ferry service along the Hudson River is a viable option for commuters, providing a wonderful alternative to the region’s increasingly congested highways at a much lower cost than building and maintaining new roads;

• Ferries also are helping attract new residents to the historic towns along the waterfront, bringing life and energy to the long-overlooked river’s edge and helping reinvigorate the nearby downtown areas;

• Ferries could play a key role in boosting tourism throughout the Hudson Valley and radiating upstate. This is potentially a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry.

The demand for commuter ferries to Manhattan has been vividly demonstrated by the popularity of the Haverstraw-Ossining ferry, which connects Rockland County residents with Metro-North trains in Westchester County. More than 500 passengers use this ferry each day, and ridership is sure to surge next year with the introduction of service directly from Haverstraw to Manhattan with a stop in Yonkers — the “one seat” commute to New York City many Rockland County residents have long desired. Ferry services should be expanded to include ferry/cruise ships, which could run from New York City to Albany, stopping at various towns and villages along its route. Similar cruise ships serve almost every major river in the world, the Hudson River being an exception.

One hundred years ago, more than a million people a year traveled on the Hudson River and engaged its beauty and helped activate the rivertowns and various inland resorts. As the rivertowns are rediscovering their waterfronts and becoming special places and destinations, a “string of pearls” on the Hudson will become attractions to local residents and tourists. Public support for expanded ferry services can make that future, which is really a return to the historic Hudson, a reality.

This summer marked the third year my company has sponsored the Hudson River Ferry-Go-Round. The magic of the Hudson River attracted thousands of people eager to take boat rides and attend special events at riverfront towns such as Haverstraw, Ossining, Peekskill and Tarrytown. Westchester County’s RiverWalk program is also bringing increased public access to the waterfront in many community areas. This will help people reconnect with the beautiful Hudson River and eventually become a significant tourist attraction when the trail connects from Yonkers to Peekskill.

Expanding ferry service and cruise ship activity provides an everyday alternative for commuters and can enhance their commuting experience. The river experience alone warrants substantial investment. But we should not ignore the potential of a significant increase in tourism that could benefit the entire Hudson Valley and other resort areas of the state.

Mr. Ginsburg has long been an advocate of ferry travel on the Hudson and was a catalyst for the creation of the Haverstraw-Ossining Ferry that currently exists. He was also influential in the creation of the Haverstraw-Yonkers-Manhattan Ferry that is scheduled to launch in Spring 2006. With his townhome communities on the Hudson River’s edge, Ginsburg is appealing to commuters who will use the ferry to get to work and for weekend leisure. Martin Ginsburg and believe that the ferry present and future will continue to drive Haverstraw toward a more successful and prosperous tomorrow.

More about the Haverstraw Ferries in Journal News article, “Meet the Little Ferry that Might.”

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