Citywide ferry service coming in 2017

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More people now live in the five boroughs of New York City than at any other point in history. And the city continues to grow, welcoming an estimated 59 million tourists in 2016 in addition to the 8.5 million people who live here every day.

Ferries and other modes of efficient commute improve a civilization's quality of life by allowing its people to spread out, stimulating once-undesirable communities.

Mayor Bill de Blasio hopes 18 new state-of-the-art ferries stopping in 21 different neighborhoods and charging only the cost of a subway fare contribute to that better more affordable life.

If construction of $55 million in infrastructure upgrades and those 18 new vessels finishes on time, ferries should run citywide in places like Astoria, the Rockaways, and Soundview in 2018.

Early critics of the announcement point out that 4.6 million riders a year breaks down to not even 13,000 a day, suggesting the city might better invest that money elsewhere.

The city awarded the contract to Hornblower because the company provided the best proposal, the mayor said. Other private water-taxi services say they won't be able to compete and may have to go out of business.