CityRealty East River Skyway

Renderings: CityRealty

Hot, cramped subway commute got you down? Take to the skies.

A proposed multi-phase aerial gondola could connect Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as high-growth areas along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts.

Inspired by efficient, high-speed gondolas used in London, Rio de Janeiro, Germany and Singapore, the East River Skyway could streamline transportation to New York’s swelling waterfront populations, while cutting down on congestion.

Daniel Levy, President of CityRealty, unveiled the proposal at the Massey Knakal Brooklyn Real Estate Summit. The first phase of the project would link the waterfront area in Williamsburg to Downtown Manhattan, South Williamsburg and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The gondola could cross the East River in 3.5 minutes, with a capacity of 5,000-plus people per hour in each direction. This would reduce commuting time by an estimated 20-30 minutes per trip for Brooklyn residents traveling to Manhattan.

Potential later phases would extend north to Greenpoint Landing, Long Island City and Midtown East, and go south to Dumbo and the South Street Seaport.

East River Skyway phases

“New York City is a natural fit for cable transit systems, given its severe topographical challenges,” said Steven Dale, President of Creative Urban Projects and Cable Car Consultants, who served as an advisor on the Skyway. The creators of the proposal point to the success of the Roosevelt Island Tram, “the most reliable piece of transportation in New York.” After Hurricane Sandy, the tram was the first piece of fixed transportation to become operational.

There is only one other urban gondola system in the US, CityLab reported; the Portland Aerial Tram transports riders from Portland’s South Waterfront neighborhood to Oregon Health & Science University’s Marquam Hill campus. Two years ago, Frog Design outlined a plan for the Wire, a system of detachable gondolas spanning Austin, Texas.

East River Skyway 1

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