01/09/13 3:00pm
01/09/2013 3:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Peconic Bay Water Jitney that had a trial run between Greenport and Sag Harbor last summer is unlikely to return this summer.

Hampton Jitney president Geoff Lynch, a partner with Mattituck businessman Jim Ryan in last summer’s Peconic Bay Water Jitney pilot program, reportedly told the Sag Harbor Village Board Tuesday night he doesn’t expect the water taxi that ran between Greenport Village and Sag Harbor to float a second season.

It would take an infusion of money from the federal government for the partners to continue the service, Mr. Lynch reportedly told the Sag Harbor Village Board.

He said while the ferry service was a huge hit with riders last summer, financially it was “a bust.”

It wasn’t the first time that Mr. Lynch made the comments about the unlikelihood of resuming water taxi service next summer. In September, he told the East End Transportation Council he didn’t envision a second season. Despite running five trips a day and carrying more than 15,000 passengers since it launched the passenger service in June, he said then, “It’s not a moneymaker.”

Barring investors showing an interest in underwriting the service, he said it wouldn’t be running again. The East End Transportation Council has been charged with exploring mass transit alternatives for the region and has representatives from the five East End towns.

At the time, Mr. Ryan denied that the ferry service wouldn’t resume in 2013. He was unavailable for comment today.

Greenport Village Board member Mary Bess Phillips said Mr. Lynch has asked to make a presentation to that group at either at its January 21 work session or January 28 regular meeting. But she had no information on the content of that presentation.

j.lane@sireporter.com

12/02/12 8:30am
12/02/2012 8:30 AM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Greenport native Harry Biechele, the subject of the “Harry Hellfire” documentary film premiering in Sag Harbor Sunday afternoon.

After six years of documenting Harry Biechele’s life through a series of complicated living situations, director Jim Morrison paints a portrait of his childhood friend, their continuing relationship and their shared passion for heavy metal music in a documentary film premiering this weekend.

“I changed the face of music in Greenport as we know it,” Mr. Biechele said of his influence on the growth of heavy metal music in Greenport during the 1980s. “And you can quote me on that.”

The 42-year-old native Greenporter is the subject of “Harry Hellfire,” which will be aired as part of the 5th annual Hamptons Take Two Film Festival in Sag Harbor Sunday afternoon. The festival includes other films with North Fork roots, including “Long May You Shine” about the restoration of Greenport’s Bug Lighthouse.

For six years, Mr. Morrison followed Mr. Biechele’s life of musical passion, frustration, pain, personal loss, drugs, alcohol and even a problem with chocolate.

“I’ve definitely cleaned up and being allergic to just about everything on the planet helped,” Mr. Biechele said. “I’m especially allergic to chocolate. After Halloween, I broke out all over the place.”

As “Harry Hellfire,” he wasn’t afraid to go trick-or-treating despite his age.

“I take my light saber, put on crazy-ass make-up, my cloak and robe and go out and scare the crap out of kids,” he said. “I love doing it. It’s not even a matter of the candy, it’s about going out and having fun.”

Local reactions to Mr. Biechele are also documented in “Harry Hellfire,” with one woman describing him as not just the “class clown” type, but another species altogether.

The film will be shown at the Bay Street Theatre at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. A question and answer session will follow.

09/08/12 7:00am
09/08/2012 7:00 AM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan aboard the water taxi earlier this summer.

Peconic Bay Water Jitney officials announced this week that its passenger ferry service linking the North and South forks will run through September.

The 100-day temporary approval granted in June by the Suffolk County Legislature allows the water taxi to shuttle passengers between Greenport and Sag Harbor villages until Sept. 28.

But ferry officials said Wednesday they believe they might be able to extend ferry operations an additional few days, if the Legislature approves an amendment to the plan during its next general meeting Sept. 13.

Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan of Response Marine, who launched the ferry plan jointly with Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch, said he and Mr. Lynch have decided to extend service past Labor Day to find out if the 45-minute ride is popular during September festivals in both villages.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to have a better look at the look at the off-season,” Mr. Ryan said.

Mr. Ryan said he didn’t need additional approvals from Greenport or Sag Harbor to run the ferry until Sept. 28 because those municipalities already agreed to allow the pilot program to operate through October.

Although the ferry had low ridership when it first launched in June, Mr. Ryan said he believes the pilot program was a success. After this season wraps up, he said he will work with both communities to tweak any changes to the plan before reintroducing it to Greenport and Sag Harbor next year. Peconic Bay Water Jitney customers have also provided feedback by answering questionnaires while aboard the boat, he added.

“We’ll only move forward with the input and support of both villages,” Mr. Ryan said. “Otherwise we won’t do it.”

The September schedule runs Thursday through Monday with extra late-day trips on Fridays and Saturdays. There will be no ferry service on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

jennifer@timesreview.com 

06/19/12 1:38pm
06/19/2012 1:38 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan aboard the water taxi.

The Peconic Bay Water Jitney passenger ferry linking the North and South forks is expected to be operational June 30 now that the Suffolk County Legislature has unanimously approved the ferry’s fares, schedule and license.

Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan of Response Marine, who is proposing the 100-day water taxi pilot plan jointly with Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch, said the county’s approval was the final piece needed in order to launch the first-ever Greenport-Sag Harbor passenger ferry.

In an interview after the Legislature approved the plan Tuesday, Mr. Ryan said he’s “delighted” about the county’s decision.

“We’re printing the tickets right now,” he said.

The estimated 40-minute ride will cost $11 for adults one way, $20 round trip. Fares for children under 12 would be $5.50 one way, $11 round trip.

CHECK OUT A VIDEO FROM ON BOARD THE FERRY

Mr. Ryan said his brother, John, a Catholic priest, will bless the boat June 27.

Mr. Ryan had said he planned to shrink wrap the boat with Hampton Jitney’s colors — silver and green. But on Tuesday, he said he has decided to color the boat navy, gray and black.

This is the second time in the past two years that Mr. Ryan has proposed the alternative transportation project.

The most recent plan includes bus service to alleviate parking congestion in both villages. Hampton Jitney will shuttle passengers between Bridgehampton, East Hampton and the ferry dock at the north end of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. On the North Fork, shuttle service will be provided between Greenport School and Mitchell Park Marina.

The 53-passenger vessel will tie up at Mitchell Park near the camera obscura.

The ferry will make seven trips from each port Sundays through Wednesdays, starting at 7 a.m. from Greenport. There will be nine daily departures from each port Thursdays through Saturdays.

The route between the North and South forks will hug the western shoreline of Shelter Island. During bad weather, an alternative route would move along the island’s eastern side. The ferry’s captain will ultimately decide the safest course through commercial channels, Mr. Ryan said.

The vessel was built in 2003 by Derecktor Shipyards in Bridgeport, Conn., for New York Water Taxi, which has leased it to Peconic Bay Water Jitney.

jennifer@timesreview.com

06/13/12 12:00pm
06/13/2012 12:00 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan aboard the proposed water taxi earlier this month.

The first-ever Greenport-Sag Harbor passenger ferry is poised to launch later this month now that the Sag Harbor Village Board has signed off on the plan linking the North and South forks.

Sag Harbor Village, which agreed last month to amend its anti-ferry code to allow the ferry company to operate on a 100-day trial, approved the Peconic Bay Water Jitney application Tuesday night. The final hurdle is the Suffolk County Legislature’s approval of the ferry’s fares and schedule, which will be voted on June 19.

The Greenport Village Board unanimously approved the ferry plan May 10.

Mattituck business owner Jim Ryan of Response Marine, who is proposing the water taxi plan jointly with Hampton Jitney president Geoffrey Lynch, said that after the county signs off on the plan, he expects the first ferry ride from Greenport to Sag Harbor to happen sometime between June 20 and June 28.

“We’re excited about carrying out the service we proposed,” Mr. Ryan said.

This is the second time in the past two years that Mr. Ryan has proposed the alternative transportation project.

The most recent plan includes bus service to alleviate parking congestion in both villages. Hampton Jitney would shuttle passengers between Bridgehampton, East Hampton and the ferry dock at the north end of Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. On the North Fork, shuttle service would be provided between Greenport School and Mitchell Park Marina.

The 53-passenger vessel would tie up at Mitchell Park near the camera obscura.

If approved, the ferry would make seven trips from each port Sundays through Wednesdays, starting at 7 a.m. from Greenport.

There would be nine daily departures from each port Thursdays through Saturdays. The estimated 40-minute ride will cost $11 for adults one way, $20 round trip. Fares for children under 12 would be $5.50 one way, $11 round trip.

The route between the North and South forks would hug the western shoreline of Shelter Island. During bad weather, an alternative route would move along the island’s eastern side. The ferry’s captain will ultimately decide the safest course through commercial channels, Mr. Ryan said.

The vessel was built in 2003 by Derecktor Shipyards in Bridgeport, Conn., for New York Water Taxi, which has leased it to Peconic Bay Water Jitney.

Instead of painting over the yellow passenger ferry, Mr. Ryan said he plans to shrink-wrap it with Hampton Jitney’s colors — silver and green.

jennifer@timesreview.com

03/15/11 5:06pm
03/15/2011 5:06 PM

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Jim Ryan is proposing a water taxi service to ferry passengers from Greenport to Sag Harbor.

The man who once owned Rudy’s Coffee Shop in Mattituck is proposing a water taxi service for pedestrians between Greenport and Sag Harbor and eventually service to Riverhead, Southampton, East Hampton, Montauk and even Block Island.

Jim Ryan brought the idea before the Greenport Village Board Friday afternoon, raising the issue of the sign he would need to post to show the hours his 40-passenger boat would run. The board members listened and made no decision.

Eventually his complete plan to run the service out of the village’s Mitchell Park Marina would require village approval and payment of a dock fee.

Greenport Mayor David Nyce told Mr. Ryan, “Conceptually, it’s fantastic,” but added he and the trustees would have to discuss it further.

Mr. Ryan said later in an interview he wanted to start the service with one boat. While he would like to initiate it in April, he doesn’t yet have approval from Sag Harbor, he said. A similar idea was rejected by Sag Harbor about 10 years ago, according to Greenport Trustee Michael Osinski, but he said that times had changed and that the village might have a different attitude now.
Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride couldn’t be reached for comment.

Mr. Ryan said he would charge $10 per person for a one-way passenger trip. A shuttle bus in either Greenport or Sag Harbor, he said, would take passengers to local vineyards. By encouraging foot traffic in both localities, the service would be a boon to downtown businesses in both villages because it would not increase traffic and parking congestion, he said.

He’s not proposing to compete with North Ferry and South Ferry, he said. They provide both vehicle and foot-passenger service between Greenport, Shelter Island and Sag Harbor.

Mr. Ryan said he had spoken to Riverhead officials about his idea and said he had gotten a positive response. But Greenport Trustee Chris Kempner, who also is community development director for Riverhead, said that wasn’t true. If he ever did get permission in Riverhead, she said, the service couldn’t start anytime soon.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter denied Mr. Ryan’s assertion that Mr. Walter liked the concept. “I don’t think there’s much support for it,” Mr. Walter said in a Tuesday afternoon telephone interview. He said the service would turn his town into a parking lot for people heading east.

“I’m not sure how it helps businesses in Riverhead if someone parks and gets on a boat to visit other towns and villages farther east,” Mr. Walter said. “Maybe it would be great for Greenport and Sag Harbor. I’d much rather have individual boat owners dock in Riverhead,” he said.

jlane@timesreview.com