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Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Brooklyn’s Red Hook waterfront has historically been used as a gateway for cargo. In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki announced the signing of a long-term lease agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, allowing the City to develop a modern cruise terminal at Piers 11 and 12, replacing a maritime port facility that City officials argued as underutilized.

Furthermore, City officials and the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) were unwilling to sign an extension of the lease for the current Red Hook Container Port operator, American Stevedoring Inc (ASI). This was because the City wanted to re-evaluate piers 7-11 to allow possible mixed-uses. Consequentially, in 2005 the German cargo line Hamburg Sud was unwilling to sign an agreement with the Red Hook Container Port. The agreement estimated that 400 jobs would be created and would also bring $1.6 billion in trade in New York. Public officials were frustrated by the loss of potential economic activity. Additionally, Councilman David Yassky criticized Mayor Bloomberg – holding that refusing to extent a lease agreement with ASI would unfairly compromise the area’s historical commitment to the cargo shipping industry. Other residents in the area supported the Mayor’s plan because they opposed the noisome effects of the industry. Other officials supported a compromise that would keep cargo shipping, jobs, and allow the cruise line terminals.

Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines signed agreements with the City to dock at Pier 12 through 2017. With those agreements came a guaranteed 13 million visitors and $200 million in port charges throughout the span of their stay. In 2007, the Mayor, the EDC, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) wanted to expand this commitment to the cruise line industry by rezoning and creating a mixed-use terminal across piers 7-11. They claimed that the expanded cruise terminal would make Red Hook and the South Brooklyn Waterfront a greater attraction to tourists and new business developments, producing 200 new jobs and an estimated $900 million in economic activity every year. To implement the plan, however, the City was required to close the Red Hook container port, evict its operator, and relocate the port to Sunset Park to make room for the cruise ship terminal.

Opposition from New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-District 3) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY 8), led PANYNJ to renew a 10-year lease with ASI, thereby ending the City’s plan for developing the mixed-use across piers 7-11.

Last Updated: January 25, 2010