New York City

High speed gondola aims to transport New Yorkers in style

  • A graphic rendering of The East River Skyway

    A graphic rendering of The East River Skyway  (East River Skyway )

  • Three phases of gondola construction.

    Three phases of gondola construction.  (East River Skyway)

New York City commuters know the pain of between-borough transit so one local real estate developer has come up with a solution.

Dan Levy, president and CEO of CityRealty, has proposed plans for a high speed gondola that would ferry people from Manhattan to Brooklyn, reports NBC New York. Levy claims that his system, currently called the “East River Skyway,” would be able to take up to 5,000 people an hour both directions. A one way trip would take about four minutes.  For tourists visiting the city, it would also offer incredible views of the Big Apple.

Plans from CityRealty reveal three project phases that would take passengers to various parts of different boroughs.  The first phase-- and shortest route-- connects hipster haven Williamsburg to the Lower East Side. Phase 2 would connect Williamsburg up through Queens and back into Manhattan’s Midtown East. Phase 3 would extend through Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, ending in the South Street Seaport near Manhattan’s Financial District.

"You walk up to the gondola, wait no more than 30 seconds to get in and get from Brooklyn to Manhattan in less than four minutes," Levy told NBC.

While a scenic gondola ride sounds preferable to a congested underground subway ride (the L train is one of the most popular ways to get between boroughs and is notoriously crowded or slow), skeptics are quick to point out the flaws in Levy’s plan.

Although the gondola ride itself is quick, most commuters would likely have to use the trains once arriving in Manhattan, further congesting stops near the gondola exit. Others say the transit time expectations are unrealistic and tram cables would compromise skyline views.

Levy believes his plan far outweighs any potential issues and claims his proposal is "pennies on the dollar relative to building a new bridge or digging a new subway tunnel.” Plus, with no gas emissions, he claims it is an environmentally friendly option.

The high speed skyway would not be first gondola system in New York City. Manhattan currently has a tramway system has ferries passengers to and from Roosevelt Island.