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This Fanciful Tram Would Ease Brooklyn-Manhattan Commutes

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It's not a swimming pool in the East River that filters its water, or a beach-on-a-barge in the Hudson, but the latest whimsical idea to spring from the mind of a New Yorker isn't that far afield in terms of feasibility. First reported by the Daily News, Daniel Levy, president of real estate site CityRealty and (newly) of the East River Skyway, has come up with a proposal to build an aerial gondola between Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens that would drastically shorten commute times... and offer pretty awesome views, too. The cost? An estimated $75-$100 million—just for the first phase, which would connect Williamsburg to Manhattan's Delancey Street. Pro: unlike the Staten Island's enormous ferris wheel on the way, these pods would actually go somewhere, and in theory alleviate commuting congestion on existing forms of transit. Let the debate begin.

"You would get the best view you could imagine and a comfortable environment while avoiding the mayhem of the L train in the morning," said Levy, who was inspired during a ski trip. The cost he cited for phase one includes building the stations, which he claims is much lower than the pricetag of a subway line. (It's $1.5 billion just for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway, for pete's sake.)

These cable cars would move along their tracks at a fast clip, so much so that the Williamsburg-Lower East Side route would take something like four minutes. If you count both directions, the pods could, in theory, accommodate more than 5,000 people per hour. Each car, according to AM New York, can carry 38 people and would arrive once every 30 to 40 seconds.

Levy plans to present this pie-in-the-sky idea at a real estate conference, the Massey Knakal Brooklyn Real Estate Summit, today. The second and third phases of the plan include extending the tram north to Greenpoint, Long Island City, Roosevelt Island, and the UN building in Midtown East, as well as south to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Dumbo, and the South Street Seaport. Those next phases would cost between $75 million and $125 million.
· With newly proposed sky gondola, you could get from Brooklyn to Manhattan in less than four minutes [NYDN]
· Proposal for aerial gondola linking Brooklyn to Manhattan [Crain's]
· Next up For Brooklyn, an Urban Gondola [CityLab]
· Gondolas in NYC? Real estate exec to pitch East River Skyway [AMNY]