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Thread: Red Hook, Brooklyn

  1. #76
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post

    ... can you also find them when they're applied for?
    There's the rub ...

    The new "My Community" feature on the DOB website should make that info more accessible.

    For example, here is the current list of Full Demo Jobs in Community Board 2.

    The lastest Demo Application in CB2 was filed on 12/4/06 -- and no Permit has yet been issued.

    And here is the Full Demo list for Community Board 1, where 50 Trinity Place is located -- but interestingly that address doesn't appear on the Demo list because the Permit for that site is described as "demolish portion of the buildings exterior wall" rather than a full demolition ...

    Looking over the other Applications / Permits on the lists you find that it is often just a couple of weeks between the date when an owner files for Demo and DOB issues the Permit.

    Trying to stay on top of the goings on at DOB could become a full time job / hobby ...

  2. #77
    I admit I have a problem
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    We could protect 'em before the demolition stage ...
    Here are some the Municipal Art Society wants NYC to landmark:
    http://www.mas.org/viewcategory.php?category=4

    Including Domino Sugar in Williamsburg:
    http://www.mas.org/viewarticle.php?id=1422&category=4


  3. #78
    I admit I have a problem
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    BTW, do we have a designated historic preservation thread somewhere on site? Mebbe we could use it to call attention to unsung buildings that should be landmarked before development threatens.
    Last edited by 212; December 12th, 2006 at 01:22 AM. Reason: ocd

  4. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by 212 View Post
    We could protect 'em before the demolition stage ...
    Here are some the Municipal Art Society wants NYC to landmark:
    http://www.mas.org/viewcategory.php?category=4
    Good site. It includes photos of the magnificent and historic (and recently demolished) East River ConEd plant, a unique piece of 19th century industrial architecure with lovely arched windows and towering smokestacks. It was almost like a cathedral, it was so bueautiful. The MAS desperately tried to save it for adaptive reuse for something grand like an opera house, and started lobbying for this YEARS before its demolition, yet still it is gone, to be replaced by ever more glass condo towers. If that power plant could not be saved, then I seriously doubt that any industrial architecture can be.

  5. #80

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    February 4, 2007

    As Officers Stop and Frisk, Residents Raise Their Guard


    Angela Jimenez for The New York Times
    Victor Fields, 13, walked past a police car at the Red Hook East buildings, where he lives in Brooklyn.


    Angela Jimenez for The New York Times
    Mikel Jamison, 32, said he is conscious of the way the community is affected by police actions.

    By TRYMAINE LEE

    At 14, Rocky Harris knows the routine: You raise your hands high, you keep your mouth shut and you don’t dare move a muscle.

    Then the police officer’s gloved hands go up and down each leg, around your waist, across your chest and back, then down your shoulders to your wrists.

    When they don’t find guns or drugs, Rocky said, they let you go. He said that he had been searched, fruitlessly, at least three times since last summer, and that he had friends who had been searched repeatedly.

    “They tell you that you’re selling drugs. But I don’t do nothing wrong. I just play ball,” he said, walking through the Red Hook East housing development in Brooklyn yesterday morning, headed to a community center for a game of basketball.

    On Friday, the New York Police Department released a report showing that police officers stopped 508,540 people on city streets in 2006, an average of 1,393 a day and quintuple the number from 2002. While it was difficult to find a consensus on the significance of those statistics — good patrolling, overly aggressive officers and more faithful recordkeeping are just a few explanations — it was not hard yesterday in Red Hook to find a handful of that number walking around.

    More than half of those stopped, and sometimes frisked, by the police were black. The Red Hook projects have a large black population, a history of crime problems and, at least in a few young men, a wariness of the police.

    Mikel Jamison, 32, said that “he came up in these Brooklyn streets,” and that it is “hard being an African-American, hard to live and walk down the street without the police harassing us.”

    Mr. Jamison said some young men bring the unwanted attention of police on them, “with their pants down to their ankles and drugs in their pockets.” He then urged that he and this reporter keep their voices down because “some of the dealers, they’re out here right now.”

    But he said he blames police practices like the stop-and-frisks for tension between the community and the police. He said many officers might want to stop crime in the community, but many cannot discern between common criminals and the common people who live among them.

    After having a police officer jam a gun in his chest a few years ago, in an incident he said he would rather not discuss, Mr. Jamison said he converted to Islam and is now more conscious of the way the community is affected by such police actions.

    Anthony James, 28, who works for a large sanitation company and, as such, often keeps late hours, said the police frequently stop him as he leaves or comes home. He said that the stops had become such a problem that he has taken to carrying his work identification badge home to prove to the police that he has a job and is not selling drugs.

    “You see where you’re standing. This is the Red Zone,” he said, mapping with his hands a section of the projects from Columbia Street to Clinton Avenue. “This is the war zone. If they catch you in here alone they’re going to stop you. And they’ll play mind games with you. Ten minutes after searching you, they’ll come back by, just staring.”

    Mr. James, who said his “bad-boy days” are behind him, said officers doing the stops will say that the basis of the stops is that people are coming out of known “drug buildings.”

    “But we live here. I put my 7-year-old son to bed here. We have grandmas and old ladies up in here. This ain’t just a drug building, this is home,” he said. “It’s serious and dangerous out here, and they wonder why some people want to pull out their guns and start blasting.”

    Dorothy Shields, 74, has served as president of the tenants association at the Red Hook East housing development for 33 years, and said she believes the issue is less about people being picked on by the police, and more about a new generation of young people who do not have respect for authority, or their neighbors for that matter.

    Ms. Shields said she doubted some of the reports of overaggressive patrolling. “Some of them young men are not telling the truth about the police officers,” she said. “A lot of them feel they should be able to do anything they want do, wherever and whenever they want to.”

    Ms. Shields said she thinks frisks, at least in her neighborhood, are happening but not as much as some suggested.

    “Some people just don’t care for the police, no matter how right or wrong they are,” she said.

    At a press conference outside police headquarters yesterday, representatives of black and Hispanic officers’ groups called the data damning, and renewed calls for Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly to step down.

    “These numbers substantiate what we’ve been saying for years,” said Noel Leader, a co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. “The New York Police Department under Raymond Kelly is actively committing some of the grossest forms of racial profiling in the history of the New York Police Department.”

    The Police Department said that officers stop people only if they are suspected of committing a crime, and that the practice is vital in getting guns off the streets. About 21,000 of the stops ended in arrests and about 29,000 in summonses.

    “I think it is one tool,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paul J. Browne said yesterday. “One law enforcement tool that is used to apply pressure. One of many.”

    Responding to complaints of profiling, the department noted that while 55.2 percent of those stopped were black, 68.5 percent of reported crimes involved suspects described as black.

    Mr. Browne said he could not speak about patrolling in Red Hook with any authority, but that in general the increase in reported stop-and-frisks was a result of the more scrupulous recording of such stops.

    “I think some of the individuals who have been critical of the department in the past will be critical of the department for this as well,” he said.

    At the community center in Red Hook where Rocky Harris had gone to play basketball, a 50-year-old man named Stanley, who is a big brother of sorts at the center, was shooting pool.

    When asked if he had been stopped and frisked by the police, Stanley, who said he did not want his last name published, said, “I’m an old man now, and they don’t bother me one bit. It’s the youth that they’re after. Not me.”

    Ray Rivera contributed reporting.


    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  6. #81

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    I don't do drugs but I can without any worries. Its no secret that the police don't do pat downs in Wall Street or the Upper East Side but there are as many drug users there as you will find in the projects. Also the racist NYPD knows that the users from Wall Street that live in the Upper East Side won't serve a day in jail, whereas poor people in the ghetto will not get adequate representation and will face decades in jail for as little as carring a little bit of weed because of the Rockefeller Laws.
    Last edited by NoyokA; February 4th, 2007 at 09:07 PM.

  7. #82

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    I think it's more about trying to catch the sellers not the users. People with jobs usually don't sell drugs, example given in the article by the kid who shows his work i.d. to prevent getting frisked.

  8. #83

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    Follow up.


    February 5, 2007

    Numbers Show How Police Work Varies by Precinct

    By EMILY VASQUEZ

    In the 75th Precinct, in the East New York section of Brooklyn, which has the city’s highest violent crime rate and some of its poorest neighborhoods, the police stopped, questioned or frisked someone last year, on average, about once every 24 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in the First Precinct, which encompasses Battery Park, Wall Street, TriBeCa and SoHo, one person was stopped about every 16 hours.

    On Friday the Police Department released 1,000 pages of data on how often it stopped, and sometimes frisked, people on the streets last year. The pages contain statistics for every precinct, housing police service area, transit district and narcotics division; every race or ethnicity; each sex; each quarter of the year; the reasons for the stops; and more.

    The four volumes of data will soon be parsed by city officials, civil rights advocates and civil libertarians, and their conclusions will almost certainly vary. But a look at the extremes — the precincts with the most and the fewest stops — gives a rough outline of how police work varies across the city.

    In the 75th Precinct, which had 173,198 residents in the 2000 census, the police made 21,483 stops in 2006. When race or ethnicity was known, in 20,494 of the cases, 69 percent were black, 24 percent Hispanic, 3 percent white and 1 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Seven percent of the stops resulted in an arrest or a summons.

    In the First Precinct, which had only 40,451 residents but has many thousands of people coming in for work and shopping every day, the police made 554 stops. Of those, 39 percent were black, 28 percent white, 21 percent Hispanic and 10 percent Asian/Pacific Islander. Four percent were arrested or received a summons.

    The police cited other major differences between the precincts for stopping people. In the First Precinct, the most common reasons were “fits a relevant description,” “suspect acting as a lookout,” “report by victim/witness/officer” and “proximity to the scene of an offense.”

    In the 75th Precinct, the top reasons were “area has high crime incidence,” “furtive movements,” “time of day fits crime incidence,” “casing a victim or location” and “change direction at sight of officer.” To understand the differences, both area’s residential and daytime populations, their crime rates, and many other factors must be taken into account, said Paul J. Browne, the chief police spokesman.

    Last year the department began a concerted push, which included adding officers, to try to reduce crime in the 75th Precinct, which had 28 murders in 2006. In the First Precinct, there was one murder.

    “What the stops are about is somebody reporting crime,” he said. “Clearly one would expect more stops in areas of relatively high crime, especially violent crime.”

    Citywide, the data showed that more than half of those stopped were black, though the Police Department, defending itself against accusations of racial profiling, said that 68.5 percent of crimes involved suspects described as black by their victims (or by witnesses, in the case of homicides).

    On Friday the Police Department said that 55.2 percent of those stopped last year in cases where the race was known were black.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking yesterday at St. Luke Baptist Church in Harlem, suggested that the statistics showed many of those stopped were picked because of their race.

    He said his organization, the National Action Network, would begin to gather plaintiffs for a class-action lawsuit against the city based on the findings. He said that he did not intend to hamper legitimate law enforcement practices, but he urged people who felt they had been searched unjustly to come forward.

    “We do not intend to live in a city where the color of your skin means you’re suspect more than anybody else,” he told about 200 people inside the church on Morningside Avenue, many of whom stood and shouted encouragements. “The fact that you can be pulled over is dehumanizing and humiliating. The fact that no matter what your background, no matter how productive you are, to be cast as a suspect rather than a citizen is intolerable in this century.”

    But Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr., chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, said yesterday that it was completely irresponsible for any community leader to use the data “to inflame passions.” He added that, in light of the data the police revealed regarding crime suspects, Mr. Sharpton “is misleading the public.”

    “One thing we can draw from this right now is the people who are being stopped match the description of the people who are described by the victims of crime,” he said.

    The data released on Friday said that the police made 508,540 stops in 2006, a significant increase from 2002, the last full year for which figures were reported. That year, 97,296 stops were recorded.

    Mr. Browne said yesterday that the increase was largely attributed to “the scrupulousness with which the Police Department requires police officers to record information of who was stopped and why.”

    “This record-keeping was not always so complete,” he added.

    Some citizen leaders in East New York said yesterday that residents had been keenly aware of a surge in stops and searches long before the police issued their report on Friday.

    Many East New York residents were upset, they said. “People are absolutely concerned,” said Jean Reynolds, a member of both Community Board 5 and the 75th Precinct Community Council, a citizens’ group that conducts monthly hearings where residents are encouraged to share their complaints about police conduct.

    “You hear complaints like one about young people coming home at night, who unfortunately have to walk through some bad blocks, and they are stopped,” she said.

    “But you can’t expect people to walk five blocks out of their way to get home, and all it takes is for one cop to get nasty for these people to develop a very bad taste for the police.”

    Since the fatal police shooting of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man, in November, “some members of the community think it is getting a little racial,” said Ms. Reynolds, who is also an administrator with the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, a nonprofit group. But in much of East New York, she said, “it’s not as though there is a big white population.”

    Stephen Heyman, Thomas J. Lueck and Colin Moynihan contributed reporting.


    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  9. #84

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    http://www.villagevoice.com/

    The Magician's Nephew

    The goods on Gargano: A seamy tale of nepotism on the Brooklyn waterfront

    by Tom Robbins
    February 13th, 2007 12:18 PM

    In the spring of 2003, Charles Gargano, who served as George Pataki's economic development czar, made a visit to the embattled operator of the marine container port that sprawls for 80 acres along the docks in Brooklyn's Red Hook. Much of the region's cocoa, coffee, and lumber is handled here, along with tens of thousands of huge shipping containers from around the world loaded with everything from beer to appliances. All told, an estimated $4.5 billion in goods move through the port every year, and some $36 million in wages are generated there. As Sal Catucci, president of American Stevedoring Inc., which operates the container terminal, recalls it, Gargano had phoned—seemingly out of the blue—to say he wanted to come by to see his operation.

    Catucci was elated. He had been trying for years to get the Port Authority, where Gargano still serves as vice chairman, to agree to a long-term lease deal. Such a lease would let Catucci bring in additional shipping customers, expand his business, and add to the 600 workers already employed on the docks. That's what the local community board and politicians such as Congressman Jerrold Nadler and City Councilman David Yassky have been pushing to happen, arguing that Brooklyn's deepwater container port is a vital economic engine that cuts environmental woes by using waterborne cargo transport instead of air-fouling trucks.

    In recent years, however, there's been little official interest in that plan. Under the Pataki administration, the bi-state Port Authority gave it the cold shoulder, saying it wanted to limit shipping to Staten Island's container port at Howland Hook on the narrow Arthur Kill waterway and the huge freight hubs on the New Jersey side of the harbor. Even stiffer opposition has come from the Bloomberg administration, which has been pressing to replace the gritty containers with cruise ships and a Sausalito-like waterfront offering glittering views of the Statue of Liberty and the towers of lower Manhattan.

    The container port's current lease runs out at the end of March, and the Port Authority has moved to transfer the land to the city for what would be a "mixed-use development"—likely to include market-rate housing. Those who want to see Brooklyn hold on to a marine freight terminal capable of handling ocean-going vessels are frantically trying to win the attention of the incoming Spitzer administration.

    The dispute over its fate has become one of those basic "Which Way for New York?" debates, one that pits a handful of blue-collar job advocates against a seemingly invincible army marching under the flag of Condos With River View.

    Which is why Gargano's sudden interest in the terminal back in 2003 was received as such good news. "When Charlie Gargano's call came in, I thought, 'Wow. They're finally paying attention. Now he's showing interest,' " Catucci recalled.

    Indeed he was. Within a few weeks, a newly optimistic Sal Catucci had a new attorney under retainer: Charlie Gargano's nephew. And not long after that, the waterfront executive was finally getting the attention from state decision-makers that he'd long sought. But when those meetings produced little more than kind words, and when he was back again fighting just to stay in business, Catucci wondered exactly what had prompted that unexpected phone call. Whatever made him pick up the phone, Charles Gargano wasn't saying, refusing to respond to requests for comment. His nephew, Frank Gargano, also didn't want to talk about his involvement, acknowledging only that he had represented Catucci's company. Exactly how that came to pass is one more disturbing tale from New York's waterfront.

    At 72, Charles Gargano still cuts a suave figure. He wears expensively tailored suits and French cuffs and prefers to be addressed as "ambassador" in deference to his service in the Reagan administration as envoy to Trinidad and Tobago. A successful Long Island construction contractor, he won his economic development post after serving as a key fundraiser for Pataki and his ally, former senator Alfonse D'Amato. The position has allowed him to hobnob with the glitterati, and he's appeared in five movies since taking office, including the Robert De Niro mob comedy Analyze That and, most recently, Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, in which he plays himself. The job takes him to ordinary places as well, and he arrived on the Red Hook docks that spring in a dark, chauffeured limousine with official plates and a radio antenna jutting from the trunk. Catucci greeted Gargano effusively, packed him into his "pier car," and proceeded to give him the full tour of his operations. But he said the ambassador didn't seem very interested.

    "He didn't say much until we got back to my office," said Catucci. "Then he sat on the couch and asked some questions about what contractors we worked with, what lawyers we used." Sitting there, one of the things that struck Catucci was that while city and Port Authority bureaucrats had been burying him for months in extensive policy objections to the Red Hook port, the state's top economic development official didn't seem fazed by them. Instead, Gargano gave the impression that those were minor obstacles that could be overcome. The bigger problem, Catucci said the ambassador suggested, was the expense of the fight. "He said, 'You're fighting the city; you're fighting the state. This is going to cost you many hundreds of thousands of dollars for consultants and lawyers and all.' " Catucci said Gargano then added, "Maybe there's another way," and suggested that Catucci could cut his costs to "about $300,000" if he used the right approach. Shortly afterward, Gargano got back in his limo and drove away. Catucci watched him go, wondering what the hell that was all about.

    Not that anyone would ever call Sal Catucci naive. He is 68, and like Gargano, keeps himself in trim shape. But while the ambassador exudes boardroom polish, Catucci is a scrappy, salty-talking businessman given to wearing black turtlenecks and a wide-brimmed black hat with a colored band that makes him look like an aging Zorro. After 40 years of making his living around the piers, he has fielded most everything that rough-and-tumble world throws at its denizens. The Red Hook terminal was virtually defunct when he took it over in the early 1990s, and he has turned it into a thriving port that handles more than 50,000 containers a year. Along the way, he acknowledges, disputes with the mob-ridden International Longshoremen's Association, which represents many of his workers, led to angry pushes and shoves.

    Law enforcement officials have claimed that Sabato "Sal" Catucci owes his survival and success on the docks to his status as an associate of the Gambino crime family. Mob informants have also described him in familiar terms, and a business partner, also dubbed a mob ally, pled guilty to tax evasion in 2004. Given the mob's longtime hammerlock on the waterfront, such ties are hardly a stretch. But Catucci angrily denies them, citing his antagonistic relationship with the Mafia-friendly ILA, which has never gone to bat for him in his fight to remain in Red Hook. And authorities acknowledge that unlike many others who do business on the docks, Catucci has a clean record, and he hasn't personally shown up in their many surveillances of mob social clubs or wiretaps.

    Whatever his associations, Catucci's name would instantly pop up on the radar of anyone checking big political campaign donors. Between 1995 and 2004, when he angrily stopped giving to anyone connected to then governor Pataki, Catucci and his businesses pumped more than $240,000 into the state's Conservative Party, making him the party's biggest single giver. The contributions started after party chairman Mike Long, arguing that the city needed more blue-collar jobs, began championing Catucci's efforts to win a long-term lease from the Port Authority. Catucci also was one of the largest givers to Pataki's push for a new environmental bond act in 1996, donating more than $50,000. In addition, he's doled out generous contributions to Nadler, Yassky, and other pols.

    Given the overall heft of those campaign gifts, someone might reasonably conclude that—waterfront wiseguy or not—here was a man who could well be a soft touch.

    A few weeks after the ambassador's visit, Catucci got a call from another man named Gargano who introduced himself as "Charlie's nephew." Frank Gargano said he was an attorney who also ran a public relations office. "Maybe I can help you," Catucci remembers him saying.

    Maybe he could, Catucci thought.

    Frank Gargano, 36, soon appeared on the Red Hook waterfront in a sporty Mercedes-Benz coupe, ready for a tour of his own. He wore a wide grin and offered a steady salesman's patter about what he'd done and who he knew. He also brought along a pair of men he introduced as business associates, saying they could vouch for his talents and expertise. One was a Queens-based newspaper publisher from El Salvador named Rafael Flores who said he was trying to get the senior Gargano interested in Central American trade possibilities. The other was an aspiring Republican politician from Long Island named Robert Cornicelli. Catucci thought they made for an odd entourage, since the two business associates spent most of their time during the visit joking and laughing, so much so that Catucci later dubbed them "the two clowns." Still, the pair assured Catucci that the nephew was highly capable, that he had helped them, and, most important, could help deal with Charles Gargano.

    "Frank's entire pitch was, 'I can handle my uncle,' " said Catucci.

    Starting in June 2003, and over the next 10 months, Catucci's American Stevedoring Inc. paid the law offices of Frank Gargano in Melville, Long Island, an $8,500-a-month retainer. The work assignment was never clearly spelled out: The younger Gargano was asked to help with some minor legal matters—an arbitration, a default judgment from a creditor—but most of his efforts, Catucci said, went into trying to persuade his uncle and the Port Authority to extend American Stevedoring's lease.

    No reports were filed that the nephew of the state's most powerful economic development official was seeking to influence his uncle's decisions. But then, no reports were required. The Port Authority, along with many of New York's quasi-public agencies over which Charles Gargano held sway throughout the Pataki administration, has long been a kind of free-fire zone for lobbyists with little disclosure. In a notorious instance that sparked reform efforts in Albany, former senator Alfonse D'Amato acknowledged a few years ago that he'd been paid $500,000 by a client just for making a call to Pataki's chief of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority—a fee that also didn't have to be disclosed.

    New governor Eliot Spitzer has vowed to change all that, bringing oversight of the authorities into line with strict laws already covering the state's legislature where lobbyists are obligated to file regular disclosure reports. But at the time he signed on with American Stevedoring, Frank Gargano was free to come and go as he pleased among his uncle's agencies. And apparently he did.

    "I remember seeing him coming in to see Charlie every now and again," said a former state aide who worked at one of Gargano's agencies. "No one knew exactly what he was doing, only that his uncle was helping him somehow."

    According to Catucci and others with business interests on the Red Hook piers, Frank Gargano quickly arranged meetings with his uncle for Catucci and other waterfront businessmen. One meeting was at Charles Gargano's state office on Third Avenue, where the ambassador ruled the powerful Empire State Development Corporation, which oversees New York's economic development agenda, doling out funds and approving projects. There, the men from Red Hook laid out a plan for expanding freight work on the piers. "This is great, great. We're going to do this," one of the businessmen recalled Gargano saying.

    The nephew also obtained sit-downs with another high-level Pataki appointee, Port Authority commissioner Bruce Blakeman, the former majority leader of the Nassau County legislature and the Republican Party's candidate for state controller in 1998.

    According to Catucci and others who were at the meetings, Blakeman was sympathetic when he met in his Long Island office with Frank Gargano and Catucci. "Oh, this is ridiculous," Blakeman allegedly exclaimed after Gargano described the problems American Stevedoring was having with the port agency. "This can be worked out," the commissioner was said to have told them.

    Catucci said he got a second chance to pre-sent his case to Blakeman when Frank Gargano arranged for the three men to meet for a drink at a fashionable bar on the West Side. This time, according to Catucci, Blakeman had just one question: "He asked, 'Is the ambassador happy?' "

    Blakeman told the Voice that he didn't recall the specifics of the conversations, or a meeting at his Long Island office. "I really don't recall that one. I could check my records," he said. But he did remember sitting down with Catucci and Frank Gargano—whom he knew from "Long Island politics"—somewhere in Manhattan at one point.

    "My recollection is that Frank Gargano said that he would like me to meet a fellow by the name of Catucci from American Stevedoring, that there were a number of jobs at stake, and he wanted to talk about continuing his lease with the Port Authority. That was pretty much it," said the commissioner. "He asked would I give him 10 minutes of my time, and I gave him 10 minutes of my time. It didn't change or affect my decision in any way."

    Blakeman said it was the only occasion he could remember Frank Gargano having approached him about Port Authority business but that he'd never pressed the lawyer about his connection to the matter. Nor was he bothered that the vice chairman's nephew was reaching out to him. "Basically, I thought it was legitimate," he said.

    The nephew also opened a political front in his lobbying efforts. Like his uncle, Frank Gargano actively raised campaign funds for the Republican presidential ticket of 2004 (the Bush campaign listed both men as "Pioneers"—those who helped raise $100,000 or more in contributions). When the Bush-Cheney team held a fundraiser at the Sheraton New York Hotel on Seventh Avenue in June 2003, Catucci said that Frank Gargano persuaded him that it would be helpful to buy a pair of $2,000 tickets, saying his uncle would also be there. At the event, the younger Gargano showed up with his pals Flores and Cornicelli, Catucci said. When Frank brought them over to see his uncle, the ambassador greeted his nephew and his friends with hugs and kisses. Catucci got a warm handshake. The ambassador also made a point of noting the company Catucci was keeping. "He said to me, 'I see you are with my nephew here,' " Catucci said. "It was like he was telling me, 'Everything is going to be all right now.' "

    There was a social front to the lobbying push as well. On several occasions, Frank Gargano brought Catucci along on trips to Upper East Side restaurants favored by his uncle. Catucci said he joined Frank Gargano at two upscale Italian bistros within a block of each other on First Avenue—Nino's and Campagnola—where the ambassador regularly holds court amid a well-heeled crowd that includes real estate tycoons, entertainment figures, glamorous women, and more than a few bona fide mobsters. There, the pair sat at the economic development czar's tables, swapping stories as Catucci recalls. The specific subject of leases didn't come up, but Frank Gargano assured him later, Catucci said, that they were making headway.

    If so, it was hard to see where. While Frank Gargano was allegedly pressing Catucci's cause, the Port Authority, together with the city's economic development office, paid $400,000 for a widely publicized private consultant's study on the future of the Red Hook docks. Although the study was never officially released, the consultant wasted no time letting the South Brooklyn community know he believed maritime freight on the 80 waterfront acres was a waste of space and resources.

    Government officials also told shipping-line owners who used the piers that they'd be better off taking their business elsewhere since American Stevedoring's days were numbered. A backup plan to eventually shift the freight operations to another deepwater port in Sunset Park, a move that had originally been endorsed by the Giuliani administration, also failed to get traction with the Port Authority or Bloomberg's City Hall. During those months, Catucci estimated, his business fell by almost half.

    According to Catucci, Frank Gargano's response to these setbacks was to ask for more money. He said the nephew urged Catucci and other businessmen on the docks to chip in together for a joint lobbying push that would include his public relations firm, Gargano Associates, as well. "He was going to be our lobbyist, attorney, public relations, everything rolled into one," said one of the port businessmen who heard the new pitch.

    The fee that Frank Gargano said he would require for this enhanced effort, said Catucci, was $300,000. "I thought, 'Isn't that interesting. That's the same number his uncle came up with.' "

    Others were already highly skeptical. A former waterfront business executive said he got "a terrible vibe" after dining with Catucci and Frank Gargano. "It was all, 'I can get Charlie to do this,' then hitting Sal on the arm. And 'We can work on Charlie for this.' It was one step short of being illegal. The guy was creepy. I told Sal to stay away from him."

    Mike Long, the influential Conservative Party leader who had tried to help Catucci, also had a negative reaction when he learned that Charlie Gargano's nephew was representing American Stevedoring. "That clearly was a mistake," Long told the Voice, adding that Gargano's hiring sent "the wrong message."

    But Catucci said that Frank Gargano insisted that the stevedoring company needed his services more than ever. The nephew called him several times a day, ostensibly updating him about events within the Port Authority. "He seemed to know what was going on there, knew what was going to be brought up at board meetings," said Catucci. "He would say, 'You stay away from Charlie. Let me handle everything.' Over and over, he'd tell me, 'Don't worry about it, it's being worked on.' "

    Sal Catucci, however, started to believe he was being had. Despite Charles Gargano's friendly words to them, Catucci and the other businessmen from Red Hook saw no apparent effort on the ambassador's part to change the agency's position on ending the marine container terminal in Red Hook, or, for that matter, helping to launch a new port in Sunset Park. In fact, the word that got back to them from inside the giant agency was that when the subject came up internally of what to do about Red Hook, the elder Gargano was their biggest opponent.

    Nor, Catucci maintained, was Frank Gargano much help as a lawyer. He failed to show up at one court hearing, Catucci said, and had also failed to submit court filings required for another minor legal chore the nephew had agreed to handle.

    For a while, Catucci said he simply put off Frank Gargano's demands for a higher retainer. Then, in late 2003, he informed him that he would be dropping the $8,500 a month altogether early in 2004. The younger Gargano was irate, Catucci said. He left a 7:30 a.m. message with Catucci's office. "I don't know how my uncle is going to take this," he said in the message.

    As it happened, Frank Gargano wouldn't have had much time for lobbying over the next year anyway. A few months after he was dropped by American Stevedoring, he declared his candidacy for a seat on Suffolk County's legislature, the body that decides most local spending. A win in that race would be a stepping-stone to higher office. He was considered a sure thing since he brought a well-known last name to the race, and Republicans had held the seat he sought—representing Deer Park, Melville, and Dix Hills—for more than 25 years. He also had four separate ballot lines to run on: GOP, Conservative, Independence, even the Working Families Party.

    And he also had the support of many of his uncle's friends and business associates who donated generously to his campaign. Port Authority commissioner Bruce Blakeman gave $750 for the race. Michael Koffler, the successful private schools entrepreneur whose MetSchools received a $500,000 grant from the Empire State Development Corporation, gave $1,000. Pataki transit chief and real estate baron Peter Kalikow also gave $1,000. Steve Witkoff, whose properties include the landmarked Woolworth building, and who has also received aid from ESDC, kicked in $500. Steven Ross, CEO of Related Development, which won ESDC's backing to build the new $800 million Moynihan rail station, gave $500 as well.

    Even a wealthy chiropractor who is a regular dining companion of the ambassador chipped in. Dr. Joseph Mirto, who helped persuade the Pataki administration to mandate insurance coverage for chiropractic services, gave $1,250 for the campaign.

    But in the midst of the race, Newsday reported that Frank Gargano had received 18 months of free rent at his Melville office, courtesy of a local chamber of commerce—which was funded by grants from his uncle's agency (the misspending has since become the subject of a scorching audit by the state comptroller's office that demanded the agency repay more than $100,000 to the state). The candidate got more bad ink when he mailed out a pre-election flyer claiming several endorsements, including those of the Suffolk County district attorney and the head of the county's ethics commission, both of whom angrily denied making any such endorsements. On election day, Frank Gargano was defeated by his Democratic opponent by more than 10 percentage points.

    The loss of the Republican seat helped put the Suffolk legislature in Democratic control for the first time in 30 years. "It was incredible," said a Suffolk political leader. "He should have won without a problem. And he lost to a guy with zero name recognition."

    None of these events were things that Frank Gargano was anxious to discuss. He ducked a month's worth of detailed phone messages at his Melville office saying, through an assistant, that he was traveling. He finally picked up the phone in late January. "Can you tell me what this is all about?" he asked. So informed, he insisted he had nothing to say—about the fallout from his ill-fated electoral campaign or about his work on behalf of American Stevedoring.

    "They were recommended to me; I did legal work for them. That is the end of the story," he said before hanging up the phone.

    There were hard times as well for Frank Gargano's friend, Rafael Flores, one of the "two clowns"—as Catucci had dubbed them—who accompanied the nephew on his first visit to the Red Hook piers. He was arrested in November 2004, and later pled guilty to a felony for having helped run a ring of schemers who sold confiden tial medical records from a Nassau County hospital to lawyers. Flores couldn't be reached, but his pal, Robert Cornicelli, said, in a brief phone conversation, that he'd gone along with Gargano at Flores's request. "I was interested in that entire area," said Cornicelli. "I knew Bloomberg at the time wanted to turn the area into condos."

    In late 2006, during the waning days of Pataki's administration, Charles Gargano received a new six-year reappointment as a Port Authority commissioner, a move that keeps him at the center of the agency's decision-making, even in a Spitzer administration. But after questions were relayed to him through Port Authority officials, Gargano refused to discuss his dealings with Catucci.

    Spokesmen at the Port Authority said they were unaware that the nephew of the agency's vice chairman had represented clients seeking help there, but noted that there were no set rules against it. Still, with two new governors in New York and New Jersey—both of whom have pledged ethics reforms—the agency is anxious to shed its image as a place where anything goes when it comes to influence-peddling. In response to the Voice's questions, the agency issued a statement from spokesman Steve Sigmund:

    "The Port Authority demands the highest ethical standards, and we expect that anyone who represents the agency disclose any potential conflict of interest. We will continue to strengthen our policies going forward, including tightening disclosure requirements for commissioners and employees alike."

    And although the agency hasn't officially altered its position on the future of the Red Hook container port, it has pointedly left the door open for further discussion.

    "What's important to us is economic viability and growth of the waterfront," said spokesman Sigmund. "We are taking a close look at the issue before the lease runs out."

  10. #85
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Disgusting ^^^

    Both Garganos should be fully investigated -- along with their whole band of "clowns".

    Calling Andrew Cuomo ...

  11. #86
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    BIG PLANS FOR RED HOOK WATERFRONT
    By PATRICK GALLAHUE
    NY Post
    February 15, 2007 -- City officials have inked a pact that could dramatically cut back dock workers and cargo facilities on the Brooklyn waterfront in favor of beer gardens and possibly apartments.
    It will transfer control of Red Hook's cargo port to the city, which plans a dramatic redesign intended to draw "hundreds of millions" of dollars in public and private investment, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said yesterday.
    The site, currently controlled by the Port Authority, is used as a cargo port by American Stevedoring and a cruise-ship terminal.
    Displaced cargo operations will be relocated to Sunset Park or Staten Island, Doctoroff said.
    A defender of the beleaguered port, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, said the plan would cost the city millions in revenue and "tens of thousands" of jobs.

  12. #87
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default Ask and ye shall receive

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post

    Both Garganos should be fully investigated -- along with their whole band of "clowns".
    Official audit of ESDC possible


    Charles Gargano

    Real Deal
    By Jen Benepe
    February 19, 11:40 am

    In what may be the precursor to a criminal investigation, the state comptroller is expected to begin an official audit this week over allegations that the Empire State Development Corporation, under the leadership of Charles Gargano, inappropriately directed state funds.

    Reports of the possible official audit come on the heels of a story in the Village Voice last week that linked the previous ESDC chief with providing funds that were used to pay for the rent of a space his nephew, Frank Gargano, used for 18 months as his headquarters while running his unsuccessful bid for a seat on Suffolk County's legislature. The space in question belonged to the Suffolk County Chamber of Commerce. Although it was known that the comptroller was conducting an audit over the allegations, The Real Deal has learned the comptroller is likely to provide an "issue"--the term for when an audit becomes official--this week.

    Dan Weiller, a spokesperson for New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, confirmed that the office has been "working on an audit of the Economic State Development Corporation relating to member item payments to the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce."

    DiNapoli's office identified the audit as anything from "doing field work to providing an issue." But Weiller would not identify the stage of the audit.

    According to separate sources who spoke off the record, however, and who were familiar with the investigation, the comptroller's office was "very close" to initiating an official audit as early as tomorrow. This would follow a standard question-and-answer period in which the comptroller had given the parties involved--the Suffolk County Chamber of Commerce and the ESDC--a chance to provide documentation that supports their own accounting.

    If the official audit finds that any ESDC monies were improperly used, and if it is determined by the state attorney general's office that the acts were illegal, the matter "would be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies," said Wieller.

    Calls to the state attorney general's office were not returned by press time.

    If an official audit does come about this week, DiNapoli could be offering an olive branch to Gov. Spitzer, who publicly opposed the state assembly's appointment of DiNapoli as state comptroller. Spitzer replaced Gargano as ESDC chairman with Patrick Foye. It is believed the governor could be frustrated with Gargano's new term as vice chairman of the powerful Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which was hastily extended by George Pataki in December before the former governor left office. Gargano now officially serves as vice chairman of the agency until 2012.

    The Port Authority not only controls most of the bridges, tunnels and roads that crisscross the tri-state region, but also major portions of the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

    Spitzer's office would not comment for this story.

    Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal.

  13. #88
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    Red Hook Waterfront Plan Said To Scale Back

    BY ELIOT BROWN - Special to the Sun
    May 14, 2007
    URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/54424

    The city is backing away from plans to expand the new cruise ship terminal in Red Hook any time soon, a signal, critics say, that amounts to a dramatic scaling back of the Bloomberg administration's bold plans for that slice of the Brooklyn waterfront.

    The expansion of the cruise ship terminal, which would welcome additional tourist-filled vessels to New York City, was an integral part of the city's plan to refashion the waterfront area into a $300 million-plus job-producing complex of maritime-related uses, restaurants, a hotel, and hundreds of nearby apartments.

    Red Hook, a formerly industry-heavy swath of western Brooklyn that lacks strong public transit, has been the site of a number of high-profile new development projects in the past two years, including the completion of a Fairway supermarket and the construction of an enormous Ikea furniture store.

    The residential component of the city's plan for the waterfront was dropped late last year, and without enough growth in the cruise industry to justify expansion, city officials told The New York Sun that the addition of a new cruise dock is not likely in the near future, though it remains a long-term goal.

    The administration also seems to be taking a softer stance about its intention to close the existing container port on the Red Hook waterfront, operated by American Stevedoring, sources said. While the city has wanted to bring a beer and beverage distributor to a space within the container port's footprint, officials acknowledged last week they were considering moving the distributor, Phoenix Beverages, to another location temporarily, and did not rule out the option of leaving the container port in place, at least in the short term.

    An executive vice president at the city's Economic Development Corporation who was long in charge of the waterfront project, Kate Ascher, left her post in recent weeks.

    The city denies that there have been any dramatic changes to the plan, and contends the long-term vision for the Red Hook waterfront, known as Piers 7–12, is the same. The city does not consider the container port to be an efficient use of jobs, a spokesman for the Economic Development Corporation, Andrew Brent, said, and the existing cruise terminal at Pier 12 is slated to receive about 50 ships a year.

    In testimony before the City Council in December, Ms. Ascher cited a strong immediate demand for cruise ships, an apparent attempt to leverage action on the plan.

    "We have cruise ships that are ready to come to Pier 10 to create more jobs than are there now. I'm talking about getting rid of the container activity that is there now," she said, according to a transcript. "All I'm saying about timing is, the time to do that is now and we are investing funds in doing it."

    The city's plan for the piers, which the president of the Economic Development Corporation, Robert Lieber, called a "top priority" during a council hearing last week, is part of the administration's larger efforts to open up area waterfronts to the public, as the city creates a network of new esplanades, water taxis, and developments along the water's edge.

    However, the proposal for Piers 7–12 has received criticism from elected officials, most notably City Council Member David Yassky of Brooklyn and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who claim it would be premature to close down the container port before establishing a new one in Brooklyn. They say job growth from the cruise industry has not been as robust as expected.

    "Certainly the reality has not turned out to match the initial claims," Mr. Yassky said. City officials said late last week that they intend to create 700 new jobs on the piers in the next five years. About 500 of those would come from Phoenix Beverages, which is already located in the city, but the administration worries it will relocate outside the area if not offered a spot on the piers.

    The job numbers are a reduction from earlier estimates. In 2004, Ms. Ascher said at a council hearing that she expected more than 600 new jobs on the Brooklyn waterfront by 2005. The city now says the cruise terminal employs about 250, only about 15 of whom are full-time.

    Mr. Yassky said he was encouraged by the city's consideration of placing Phoenix Beverages on Pier 11, as did Mr. Nadler.

    A spokesman for the American Stevedoring, Evan Thies, said in a statement the container port is an "important piece of the regional economy."

    The city intends to start the public review process in the late summer or fall. The plan would require approval from the council and the Planning Commission.

    © 2007 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.

  14. #89

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    May 27, 2007

    Red Hook

    For a Rusty Industrial Relic, a Bid for Revival

    By JAKE MOONEY

    ON warm summer weekends along the Brooklyn waterfront, at the end of Columbia Street, the baseball and soccer fields of Red Hook Park are lined with Latin American food vendors and families spread out on blankets to watch players in crisp whites and vivid primary colors. But looming behind the fields is a spectral counterpoint to that lively scene: a monolithic, ash-colored grain elevator, 429 feet long with silos nine stories high, that has sat vacant since 1965.

    The grain elevator, which opened in 1922, sits just out of reach behind a fence made of huge concrete blocks, a silent reminder, as were the Todd Shipyards graving dock and the Revere sugar refinery, of Red Hook’s industrial history. But while those other structures are gone — filled in and torn down to make way for development — the owner of the grain elevator says he has a plan to bring this industrial relic back into use.

    John Quadrozzi Jr., president of the Gowanus Industrial Park, a 46-acre property that contains the grain elevator, said last week that his company is seeking government approval for a concrete manufacturing plant that would use the silos for bulk cement storage. The plan, which was reported in The Brooklyn Paper, requires approval from the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. There is no set timetable for the silos to reopen.

    Despite their age, Mr. Quadrozzi said the silos, which could hold 70,000 tons of cement, remain solid.

    “There are some deteriorated parts that are going to be removed, but the structure itself is like a bomb shelter,” he said. He was speaking literally. Because the elevator was built to hold combustible grain, he explained, “it’s actually explosion-proof.”

    Kimberly Chupa, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Conservation, said that the industrial park had sought permits to renovate its piers for the project in October, but that the state had held off its review until certain violations, one involving the property’s fence, were resolved. The two sides reached an agreement on Wednesday, she said, and on Friday the agency resumed its review of the project.

    The grain elevator, which was used for washing, drying, cooling and storing grain before it was loaded onto waiting freight ships, has maintained its mystique. Jake Dobkin, who publishes the local news blog Gothamist and runs a photo blog at Bluejake.com, was part of a group of self-described “urban explorers” who sneaked into the site in January and posted their pictures, which showed rickety metal staircases, intricate graffiti and a sprawling warehouse floor full of old machinery.

    Mr. Dobkin, who grew up in nearby Park Slope, said the site always held an attraction. “When you’re riding the F train from Carroll, you just see it in the distance, this massive building,” he said. “There’s something about the solidity of it.”

    He said the expedition, which involved shinnying along a sea wall over the Gowanus Canal and swinging under a fence, was worth it for the fog-shrouded view of the surrounding neighborhoods.

    “There are very few spots that I would risk getting arrested to photograph,” he said, “but this is one of them.”

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

    Bluejake
    Bluejake

  15. #90

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    Bloomberg’s People Give Red Hook Second Look as Shipping Port

    by Matthew Schuerman Published: July 10, 2007

    The Bloomberg administration, which has long advocated phasing out the container port in Brooklyn to make way for more residential-friendly development, may decide to keep the shipping facility there after all.

    Ironically, the latest reprieve comes not from Governor Spitzer, a Democrat who many port advocates thought would jump to their side, but from the very same people who had been trying to recalibrate the use of the piers for the past four years: the city’s Economic Development Corporation. Or rather, not from the same people, but a new set of executives who recently came into office there.

    In January, Robert Lieber, a former managing director for Lehman Brothers, became president of the E.D.C., filling a spot that Andrew Alper vacated the previous spring. Around the same time, the E.D.C.’s project manager for Red Hook, Kate Ascher, left. Last month, she was replaced by Madelyn Wils, the former president of the Tribeca Film Festival and a community leader from Lower Manhattan.

    “We are looking for a long-term plan for the Brooklyn waterfront and that is something that Bob Lieber has asked us to do,” said Ms. Wils, the new executive vice president for planning and development. “I understand there is a lot of history here and I’m just trying to look at this, along with our whole team, with a fresh set of eyes.”

    But the battle is far from over for American Stevedoring Inc., the shipping operator that revived the container port in the 1990’s and that has more recently staved off condominium conversion through a mixture of savvy public relations, strategic campaign contributions, lawsuits and its record of providing numerous union jobs.

    Ms. Wils said that the agency was considering keeping the container port but inviting bids from other companies as well as from American Stevedoring.

    “We haven’t made any firm decisions but we are certainly looking at putting out an RFEI for a container port,” Ms. Wils said, referring to a request for expressions of interest. That would mean that other shipping operators could get a shot.

    “We want to see what the market is, to test the waters and see if we can create a market that is looking at delivering goods to the east and north of Red Hook and not necessarily to the west,” Ms. Wils said.

    ONE OF THE INEFFICIENCIES OF the port is that, while Red Hook is the only container port on the east side of New York Harbor, cargo is sometimes sent back over to New Jersey or Staten Island by barge because there are better distribution channels on that side.

    In the past, both the Bloomberg administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the piers, played down the idea that Red Hook would ever amount to anything. The container port there is much smaller than the region’s other ports on Staten Island and in New Jersey, and it lacks any rail connection or much upland storage space, necessitating the use of barges.

    The city, meanwhile, became worried when it began losing cruise ship business to New Jersey, and decided that the deep Red Hook harbor could supplement the terminal on Manhattan’s West Side. In 2003, the E.D.C. and the Port Authority began holding community meetings and hiring consultants, which suggested including as many as 3,600 units of housing on the site, up to three cruise ships berths and other uses.

    But the agencies have met stiff resistance from American Stevedoring Inc., which has been backed by local residents who want to hold onto a vestige of the working waterfront, and from elected leaders, who cite the port as a job generator. The company earlier this year estimated that it unloads about 150,000 containers a year and employs 765 people full-time, counting workers and drivers at the container port, a bulk cargo unloading area and warehouses.

    The E.D.C. said the real employment number was closer to 100 jobs, but the agency’s credibility was severely hampered because a cruise ship terminal, which opened on one of the former cargo piers in Red Hook last year, has produced just eight to 10 permanent full-time jobs, with about another 200 to 225 when a ship comes in.

    City Council Member David Yassky, a longtime supporter of the container port, welcomed the E.D.C.’s new approach but said that ASI should be retained as the operator.

    “I give Bob Lieber and Madelyn Wils a great deal of credit for coming in and seeing this was a policy that was really in need of fixing, and they have made a ton of progress,” he said. “To me, we have a scrappy shipping operation already on the piers, and I think the city should be focused on helping that shipping operation grow. I personally don’t see the need for further delay with an RFEI.”

    ASI has contributed to the political campaigns of Mr. Yassky and other elected officials who support the container port.

    But the council member said that his support was solely predicated on the fact that ASI offered “good-paying jobs for people without advanced degrees.”

    ASI would not comment, but in an interview earlier this year, Matt Yates, its director of commercial operations, told The Observer that the company had lost 52 deals because of uncertainty over the container port’s future. ASI has been operating without a lease since April, when its contract with the Port Authority ran out.

    In February, the Port Authority signed an agreement that would turn over ownership of the piers to the city once the Economic Development Corporation received approval for rezoning the piers. The rezoning, a preliminary version of which became public last fall, would allow other uses, such as a beer garden, a brewery, a beverage shipping operation, a marina and some housing. Within weeks, the E.D.C. backed off of its plan for housing. Now, according to Ms. Wils, the entire rezoning is on hold, as are any plans to turn another pier into a second cruise ship berth.

    “We see no imminent need for another cruise ship terminal,” she said.

    Meanwhile, the city in February received a number of responses to a request for proposals to use an inlet along the waterfront, Pier 11, which is already controlled by the E.D.C. Ms. Wils said those proposals were still under consideration.

    Another parcel used by American Stevedoring, Pier 7, is wrapped up in litigation between the company and the Port Authority, which is forcing two potential tenants that the E.D.C. had wanted to move in there instead, Phoenix Beverages Group and Brooklyn Brewery, to consider other locations.

    The new E.D.C. president, Mr. Lieber, was out of town and unavailable for an interview, but a spokeswoman said in an e-mail, “Our long-range vision continues to focus on striking a balance between job creation, public waterfront access, and preserving Red Hook’s unique maritime character.”

    In the meantime, ASI is apparently safe.

    “We are continuing to work with the EDC for a long-term plan for the piers,” Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority, said. “ASI will continue its operations until the city is ready to put into place any plan that it comes up with.”
    http://www.observer.com/2007/bloombe...-shipping-port

    Copyright © 2007 The New York Observer. All rights reserved.

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