Anticipating the launch of the first phase of a transformative riverfront redevelopment in New York’s Harlem, the project leaders have announced two major sponsors and plans to add more new sponsors this year.

Inviting prospective partner qualifications from around the world, the executive team heading the Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative unveiled their phased creation of the “Transformation Project” set to draw visitors, create jobs and build job skills among area residents. The several steps of redeveloping the Hudson River site, in projected order of completion, include:

  • The Harlem Rocket, an exciting and educational high-speed tour along the famed Harlem and Upper Manhattan waterfront, launched from the award-winning West Harlem Piers.
  • The Harlem Maritime Center & Museum, a proposed venue now in planning, conceived to “recognize the significant contributions of people of color to U.S. and international maritime history and achievement.”
  • The Harlem Wheel, a proposed 180-foot-tall waterfront attraction centered on an observation wheel, located on a new pier.
  • National rollout of the Harlem Rocket in multiple U.S. cities, including Detroit, New Orleans and Oakland, California.

“We’re partnering with novel, sustainable and scalable companies that support Black-led business enterprises and African-American communities around the country,” said Garry A. Johnson, founder and CEO of The Harlem Rocket and Paradise Express Ferry and one of the leaders of the waterfront Transformation Project.

Photo courtesy of Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative

Interviewed recently on WPIX-TV in New York, Johnson says that New York’s newest high-speed tour, The Harlem Rocket, is on schedule to launch in the early summer. Already growing its blue-ribbon team of “Transformation Sponsors,” Johnson welcomed global tech company Raymarine as a sponsor in December and the acclaimed entertainment company UniverSoul Circus as a signature sponsor in January.

“We all know the wise aphorism, ‘A kid can’t be what a kid can’t see,’ and these sponsors share our vision of inspiration, education and job skills training through the waterfront Transformation Project, to make it a new hub of maritime activities and employment,” added Johnson, who is also NAACP’s New York State Conference Economic Development Chair.

“The momentum is clearly building, and we are excited about our vessel launch in Harlem this summer to officially debut this transformative effort of the Harlem Gateway Waterfront Initiative,” added Michael A. Preston, co-founder and vice president of Government Affairs & Customer Experience. “The level of community support and pledged endorsements by Harlem’s most celebrated people are truly heartening for our team.”

“Just as the UniverSoul Circus is for all to enjoy, The Harlem Rocket is a new immersive experience created by Garry Johnson’s team for the people to join in and participate in the fascinating story of Harlem’s waterfront,” said Cedric Walker, CEO of UniverSoul Circus. As thrilling as it is educational, the Harlem Rocket focuses on the historical and cultural contributions of dynamic people who lived and worked in and around Harlem.