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Thread: Cruises from Brooklyn

  1. #1

    Default Cruises from Brooklyn

    May 19, 2003

    Bermuda Shorts Among Stevedores?


    The Carnival Legend steamed out of New York on Tuesday with 2,300 passengers bound for the Caribbean. On Saturday, the Norwegian Dawn docked at the West Side piers, the first cruise ship in at least 20 years to be based in New York year round.

    Cruise ships have become so popular that Carnival, the largest operator in the world, says that the industry has outgrown the once somnolent West Side piers, and is proposing to build a new $100 million passenger terminal with the city to handle new business on, of all places, the hard-bitten Brooklyn waterfront.

    The Carnival proposal comes amid tension between the remaining maritime industries in South Brooklyn and proposals to develop waterfront parks and residential projects. Meanwhile, a study by the city on the future of South Brooklyn maritime industries is under way, and the city's position on whether the proposal goes forward is by no means clear.

    The terminal would sit at the foot of Atlantic Avenue, where burlap bags of cocoa beans are now stacked to the ceiling of a blue shed that runs down Pier 7. Pacing the 1,300-foot length of the pier on a recent morning was Giora Israel, Carnival's vice president for strategic planning. He said that unlike the city's West Side piers, Pier 7 could easily accommodate the company's 1,150-foot Queen Mary II, the first trans-Atlantic passenger ship under construction in 35 years, which is to sail next year.

    "As an industry, we want to really increase the number of passengers we carry out of New York," Mr. Israel said. "We're getting a new ship every 47 days. But we need to add capacity."

    City officials said they were considering the proposal, but stopped short of embracing it.

    "It's exciting to see the growth of New York tourism," Joshua J. Sirefman, chief operating officer of the city's Economic Development Corporation, said of Carnival's proposal. "But we have to assess it in the context of how to ensure the industry has a capacity for growth, the transformation of Brooklyn Bridge Park and the long-term future of the Brooklyn waterfront."

    Even before the attacks of Sept. 11 prompted many people to avoid jet travel, vacationers were flocking to cruise ships, once the province of retirees and faded celebrities. In the last five years, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, the number of passengers embarking from North American ports has climbed 47 percent to about 8 million, while the number leaving from New York alone has risen 157 percent to an estimated 448,000.

    "Your grandmother's cruise line is no more," said Jeffrey Kivet, chairman of Cruise Value Centers in East Brunswick, N.J., a large travel agency. "You eat when you want, with whom you want. You don't have to dress in a tuxedo. There are spas, restaurants, shows, casinos and things for the kids to do."

    Rather than waiting for travelers to fly to Miami or San Juan to get on a ship, ships now sail out of Baltimore; Philadelphia; Norfolk, Va.; Charleston, S.C.; New Orleans; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Los Angeles; and San Francisco.

    "The cruise business post-9/11 is a business of drive-to ports," said John Tercek, vice president for commercial development of Royal Caribbean Cruises.

    It is anyone's guess whether the cruise ship business will continue to expand so quickly. The cruise lines have had to offer sometimes steep discounts to keep their berths full during the recession and the war in Iraq. But they have fared better than other elements of the tourism industry.

    "The cruise industry has held up relatively well when compared with the travel industry as a whole," said Glen Reid, an analyst with Bear Stearns. "To the extent there's port capacity, I think you'll see more and more ships leaving New York, Baltimore, Jacksonville and New Orleans."

    Given the size of its metropolitan market, the cruise lines all want to expand in New York.

    "The West Side terminals are jammed and outmoded," Mr. Tercek said. "We have a similar need as Carnival, though it's not as pressing. But we'd love to grow in New York, and we are cramped."

    It is a sharp turnabout for the West Side piers, between 46th and 50th Streets, which underwent a $40 million renovation in the 1970's as part of a deal between the city and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to build the World Trade Center. But many economists saw the project as a white elephant, because cruise ships were rapidly becoming relics of the past.

    Gone were the days when crowds would line the docks as the Queen Mary, Lusitania and the Mauretania slid into the Chelsea Piers, or soldiers mounted the gangplanks of warships bound for battle in Europe. The ships later moved north to the West Side docks, nicknamed Luxury Liner Row. But the industry nearly sank after daily plane service to Europe began in 1958.

    The number of passengers traveling from New York piers fell to fewer than 200,000 from the 1970's through the early 1990's.

    But with business suddenly booming four years ago, the cruise lines explored ways to renovate and expand on the West Side. Executives said the piers were outmoded and ill-equipped. At times the terminal area is gridlocked, with five ships in the harbor, 7,500 passengers trying to disembark, even as 7,500 others are trying to get on board.

    The industry concluded it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to renovate the terminal, and they wanted much of it to come from public coffers. Still, Mr. Israel of Carnival said, there is little room to expand, which led the company to look in Brooklyn.

    Carnival is proposing to knock down the storage shed on Pier 7 and build two terminals, a conference center and a 1,000-car garage, which, Mr. Israel said, would not rise higher than the current structure and block the views of nearby residents. One person involved in the talks between Carnival and the city said the company has signaled that it would be willing to pay about three-quarters of the $100 million cost, providing it could get tax-free financing.

    Mr. Israel said the cruise ship industry spends an estimated $800 million a year on provisions and services in New York.

    The Brooklyn borough president, Marty Markowitz, has applauded the proposal. "I have no doubt it'll be successful," he said. "It represents jobs. We're reclaiming the waterfront, and it'll promote tourism."

    But Brooklyn's piers are in the midst of change. The Port Authority is giving Piers 1 through 5 to the city for the creation of a waterfront park. Sal Catucci, chief executive of American Stevedoring, operates Piers 6 through 12 under a lease with the Port Authority. Mr. Catucci, who employs 1,000 workers, has built up a thriving business, handling cocoa, lumber and containers headed for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Long Island.

    Mr. Catucci said he could move the cocoa operation, the largest in the country, to another pier to make room for the passenger terminal.

    "It would be great for the area to have passenger ships," he said. "It'd bring a lot to the neighborhood."

    Mr. Catucci is more worried about the fact that the Port Authority has refused to extend his lease beyond 2004, while the city engages in a study about maritime uses on the Brooklyn waterfront. Bette Stoltz, executive director of the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation, which works with waterfront businesses, is also concerned about what happens next.

    "How can you give away the last piece of the port we've got?" she asked. "We generally think maritime use of the waterfront is good. We also think Carnival's proposal makes sense in that it's consistent with the kind of tourism development that the Brooklyn Bridge Park will bring."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

    Default Cruises from Brooklyn?

    This is great for the city, as long as the importers, etc can be moved. *No need to kill thriving businesses. *The pic in the paper was pretty nice, too. *It's a great thing for NYC. *It's more convenient for the metro, than flying to FLA, and it brings money, toursits, etc. to the city. *I hope it goes through.

  3. #3

    Default Cruises from Brooklyn?

    I agree. This area should stay maritime. I'd hate to see this turn into a real estate development just because of its great harbor views.

  4. #4
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

    Default Cruises from Brooklyn?

    I think it is great and the rendering was very nice. *They can have a stop on the downtown to JFK airtrain stop here as well.

  5. #5

    Default Cruises from Brooklyn?

    Carnival, the largest cruise operator in the world, is proposing to build a new $100 million passenger terminal on the Brooklyn waterfront. The terminal would sit at the foot of Atlantic Avenue, where burlap bags of cocoa beans are now stacked to the ceiling of a blue shed that runs down Pier 7.

    Atlantic Basin and Brooklyn skyline.

    Atlantic Basin and Manhattan skyline.

    Norwegian Dawn leaving the port of New York on the way to week-long Bahamas cruise.

  6. #6




    March 3, 2004 -- The city is now considering converting two Brooklyn piers, instead of just one, for use by luxury cruise ships, officials said yesterday.

    Carnival Cruise Lines had been seeking to dock its ships at Pier 7 - at the foot of Atlantic Avenue - since 1999.

    But officials disclosed they are studying the possibility of creating a new cruise ship terminal using both Piers 7 and 8.

    They're also considering an alternative site about a half-mile south using Piers 10 and 12.

    Because of growth in the cruise-ship industry - as well as the increased size of the liners - new space is needed.

    Brooklyn has berths big enough to handle massive vessels like the Queen Mary 2.

    If docked in Manhattan, the world's largest ship would jut 300 feet into the Hudson.

    Meanwhile, the city proposed hikes in docking fees in exchange for upgraded facilities.

    The city's $250 million plan to attract cruise ships to piers in Manhattan and Brooklyn - and keep them from carrying out threats to bolt for Bayonne - would be funded by the higher fees.

    The city would maintain ownership of the piers and pay for upgrades to the current Manhattan terminal as well as construction of the proposed terminal in Brooklyn.

    The city hopes to decide on the new site in Brooklyn next month. The Brooklyn piers are now used for shipping and storage by the American Stevedoring company.

    Copyright 2003 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  7. #7
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New York City


    I assume that there will be an opportunity to renovate the Passenger Ship Terminal in Manhattan?

  8. #8


    Really good news, with the Brooklyn Bridge Park just one pier over and a 300 room hotel on Pier 1 (part of the Park proposal) the area could really be a nice tourist destination. Who'd have thunk it? Brooklyn, a tourist destination!

  9. #9
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Good, I thought the docks were failed proposals. I hope American Stevedoring is fine with moving a pier down.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Jackson Heights


    This project is clearly good for New York, and I hope to see it move forward. However, I want to echo the sentiments above that the existing cocoa importing business can be saved.

    Clearly this is not a huge operation by port standards, so space should not be a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Wieland
    May 19, 2003

    Bermuda Shorts Among Stevedores?
    Mr. Catucci said he could move the cocoa operation, the largest in the country, to another pier to make room for the passenger terminal.
    But there’s a reason that this business has concentrated on a single pier… this type of agglomeration doesn’t tend to happen by mistake.

    The ability to have specialized handling at a relatively quiet pier apart from other commodities seems to appeal to the chocolate importers. The storage facility on the pier also seems to provide some type of temperature/humidity control that preserves the quality of the product. Whatever the reason, I hope the city and Port Authority continue to foster this unique specialty that has evolved along Brooklyn’s waterfront, and doesn’t simply shove it off to the side because it’s in the way of the new cruise ship terminal.

  11. #11


    May 2, 2004


    On the Waterfront, Wariness Over a Cruise-Ship Plan


    A Saudi cargo ship was unloaded on Pier 11 last week but the future of shipping there is uncertain.

    When the Queen Mary 2 glided past Brooklyn the other day, residents of Red Hook scrambled up to on their rooftops to watch it pass.

    The neighborhood, like the rest of the city, was buzzing, but not just over the ship. Days before, the city's Economic Development Corporation had announced plans to create a cruise-ship berth in Brooklyn for similar vessels as early as the summer of 2005, with Red Hook's Pier 12 emerging as a favorite possible location. But in a place where residents list unemployment among their main worries, there is concern over the impact that plan could have on one of the waterfront's largest tenants.

    American Stevedoring, a shipping business that employs 600 people on Piers 8 through 11, saw its lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey expire two days ago. Negotiations on a new lease continue, but Steven Coleman, a Port Authority spokesman, said a long-term commitment was unlikely as the authority studied other possible uses for the piers, including more cruise ships and retail use. Mr. Coleman said the authority favored a two-year lease for American Stevedoring, to keep its options open.

    "Obviously, if we were to sign a long-term, multiyear lease," he said, "that would preclude us from doing anything on those piers for a long period of time. Even if there are much better uses for those piers than a cargo-ship terminal."

    Sal Catucci, American Stevedoring's chief executive, said he did not plan on going anywhere. "The only way this place will ever, ever close is if I'm dead and they bury me here," he said. "I'm 66 years old, and I expect to live another 25 years. So take it from there."

    Mr. Catucci, who has operated on the piers since 1994, said he would not mind having cruise ships for a neighbor, but he contends that the city has too much to lose by letting his company go.

    "They don't create that many jobs at all," he said. "It's only 25 days a year that ships come in. They're not going to create the jobs that we're creating."

    New York City's unemployment rate is around 8 percent, but activists say the number in Red Hook is higher, especially in the Red Hook Houses, a few blocks from Pier 12. That is why Ray Hall, who runs a youth program called Red Hook Rise, supports American Stevedoring's presence on the piers. "I see these youth, and I deal with them every day, and this is the most I've ever seen kids, and grown people, want to work," he said. "People are dying for work, and there's just no jobs for them."

    Mr. Coleman of the Port Authority emphasized that everyone had the area's best interests in mind. "Our primary objective," he said, "is to find the best uses for that site that are going to provide the best jobs and economic activity for the Brooklyn area."

    In the meantime, American Stevedoring will continue to operate on the piers, though without a lease. Mr. Catucci is confident that things will work out. "Everybody always says I see the glass not half-full," he said, "but full."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  12. #12


    City: Cruise ships at Pier 12 by summer

    By Jess Wisloski
    The Brooklyn Papers

    Brooklynites can expect to see a cruise ship terminal completed as early as next summer, city officials announced Tuesday before a joint City Council committee hearing.

    And if the cruise ship terminal, to be built at Pier 12, is successful, Piers 10 and 11 could be cleared of existing maritime businesses by as early as 2007.

    The American Stevedoring cargo company currently uses those piers and is awaiting Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approval for a lease extension that would consolidate their operations onto Piers 8-10 for the next three years. But the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the agency charged with implementing the $150 million cruise ship venture, hopes down the line to “morph” Piers 10 and 11, into use exclusively for cruise ships.

    The outcome, EDC Vice President Kate Ascher told the council members, will depend on the success of the cruise industry at Red Hook’s Pier 12.

    The meeting was dominated by Brooklyn council members, including David Yassky, Diana Reyna, Letitia James, Erik Martin Dilan, Vincent Gentile, Sara Gonzalez, and Yvette Clarke. It was hosted by the Waterfronts and Economic Development committees.

    “I think it is plain, Mr. Chair, that Brooklyn’s in the house,” Yassky said dryly to Councilman James Sanders Jr., chairman of the Economic Development committee, as he introduced each member coming in.

    Yassky, who chairs the Waterfronts committee, did much of the questioning, probing EDC officials about forecasts for the development, and other members took turns asking just what Red Hook could expect to see of boat traffic, jobs and traffic remediation in the months and years ahead.

    Ascher used a slide presentation and indicated that in June the Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines had signed “patronage commitments,” or letters of agreement, to use New York City exclusively for their area ports, to pay raised tariff fees through 2017 that would supply $200 million and would be increased each year following completion of the developments, and commit to broadening their tourist base by helping promote the city to customers, which Carnival CEO Howard Frank said includes “adding extra overnight stays in New York.”

    In return, the city will supply $150 million over 10 years for renovations of the berths already in use on the West Side of Manhattan (which are currently underway using another $51 million in city funds), and to develop a terminal and berth for use by ships of all sizes in Brooklyn, that could also help absorb the overflow during Manhattan’s improvements.

    Ascher discussed renderings of a master plan at the hearing, which depicted a bright, open terminal built in an already existing warehouse, and showed people in lines similar to those at an airport.

    Ascher said the schematic design was being reviewed by EDC’s oversight committee.

    As many as 600 new jobs, said Ascher, are anticipated as a result of the Brooklyn development by as early as next summer, at which point the terminal would be “fully operational.” But just when there will be a cruise tenant to supply the jobs was still up in the air.

    Testifying after Ascher, Carnival CEO Howard Frank said he did not anticipate opening for business on the Brooklyn berth until spring 2006, nearly a year later than the city’s estimate.

    “We’ve committed to our schedules for 2005 already,” he said, when asked by Yassky when the jobs would become available.

    Kenneth Adams, president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, clarified that the lines themselves wouldn’t do most of the hiring, but most jobs would be “shore-side” positions, and include “all those categories of jobs that are local because they serve the ship,” including “taxis, limousines, terminal operations, the provisioning of ships, logistics, communications professional services and much more.”

    Adams said the figure of 600 projected jobs was obtained using the Queen Mary II cruise liner, the largest in the world, as a model for the size of ship that would be docking at Pier 12, and suggested EDC may hire subcontractors that could work with area businesses and his agency to ensure local hiring.

    And while EDC officials said they would be taking operational control of those piers, that, too, seems to be in dispute.

    The Port Authority, which occupies some of the piers from the city in leases that run roughly through 2026 — and owns others has yet to issue a lease or sublease to the EDC. While Ascher said they anticipated a lease would be signed within “the next few weeks,” no date has been set.

    Yassky suggested the EDC work on wresting pier control from the Port Authority.

    “They’re city owned, am I right?” Yassky asked.

    Ascher said it was a “patchwork” of ownership and noted that discussions had begun to consider breaking the authority’s lease on the uplands of Pier 11, parts of Pier 10 and the upland between piers 9 and 10. “It’s exactly what we should be doing,” she said, but added as much as they want to “take the Port Authority off the hook for its lease obligations,” and secure Port Authority-owned land, it would take time.

    Additionally, American Stevedoring has been operating without a lease since April, and company officials are also waiting for a commitment from the Port Authority to find out how much longer they will be able to stay.

    The problem didn’t evade Yassky’s notice.

    “Since both 11 and 10 are now part of the container terminal lease should we see this as a gradual supplanting of the container terminal by the cruise ship terminal, or is there room for both?” he asked Ascher.

    “The understanding is that the pier will morph into a cruise terminal starting in 2007,” she replied.

    “Whether we build that year or not depends on demand, and the containers will move somewhere else,” Ascher said. “Our intention is to build out three berths for cruise, which is what the 20-year master plan says we need, and intend to accommodate.”

    American Stevedoring spokesman Matthew Yates told The Brooklyn Papers that his company, which has a new president, former city Department of Environmental protection Commissioner Christopher Ward, taking the helm on Monday, isn’t too concerned.

    “I don’t believe it’s a threat,” that ships would replace the longstanding stevedoring company, Yates said. “We’ll see what happens, but it’s a long way off,” he said, referring to the 20-year plan. He also emphasized there would be room for both businesses on the piers, a point that Yassky had made at the hearing.

    “I don’t think we should be saying goodbye to 300 or more well-paying jobs at the container terminal,” Yassky said.

    Craig Hammerman, district manager of Community Board 6, also spoke of sharing, and asked that development of Pier 11’s new roadway be designated a truck route to lighten the burden on Van Brunt Street, which is currently used for local traffic, bus routes, truck routes, and will become a thoroughfare for the Red Hook Ikea.

    Red Hook Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez, who arrived half an hour late to the hearings, said she would become more involved on behalf of her community, which will be the most seriously affected by the pier changes.

    “We understand it will be a wonderful thing that will someday be a great economic boost to the city, but right now we have to make sure the community people are represented,” she said. “I think the dialogue will just continue, as it did with Ikea.”

  13. #13


    January 13, 2005

    City to Begin Building Luxury Ship Passenger Terminal in Brooklyn


    The city will begin building a $30 million passenger terminal for luxury ships in Red Hook, Brooklyn, in February, officials said yesterday.

    The terminal is part of a $200 million effort by the Bloomberg administration to make the city friendlier to the booming luxury cruise industry. The terminal, planned for Piers 11 and 12, is expected to open by the end of the year.

    Community leaders in Red Hook have generally been receptive to the idea of a passenger ship terminal there. But the announcement was quickly followed by renewed concern that the terminal would result in the end of American Stevedoring, a shipping company that has been operating in Red Hook for the past decade and says it employs 600 people.

    The concern came after Kate Ascher, an executive vice president of the city's Economic Development Corporation, indicated during a City Council waterfront committee hearing yesterday that the city hoped eventually to open other Red Hook piers to the cruise industry, including those used by American Stevedoring, whose lease expires in 2007.

    David Yassky, the Brooklyn councilman who is the waterfront committee chairman, said he took Ms. Ascher to mean "the city intends to shut down the Red Hook container terminal in 2007." A spokesman for Ms. Ascher, Michael Sherman, said that there was no plan to take over piers used by American Stevedoring and that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, not the city, held the company's lease anyway.

    Still, he added that the city was open to building other terminals on other piers eventually. And Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, said in an interview that the city was certainly aiming to greatly expand the number of cruise ships that leave from here.

    "It's a growing segment of the tourism industry," he said.

    In a joint released yesterday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki announced a five-year lease deal for the piers - controlled by the state - where the city plans to build the terminal. The city said it would pay the Port Authority roughly $560,000 a year for the space. It has an option to renew the lease for 10 more years. The city said the terminal would create at least 600 new jobs.

    Officials said that the Brooklyn terminal would be used by the Norwegian Cruise Line and the Carnival Corporation, but that they were hoping others would use it as well.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  14. #14


    Scan from the NY Post...

  15. #15

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