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Cruise Ships to Start Docking in Brooklyn

By RICHARD PYLE, Associated Press Writer

Fri Apr 14, 2:04 PM ET



NEW YORK - For nearly a century, great ocean liners ended their trans-Atlantic crossings with a grand finale — a nautical promenade past the Statue of Liberty and skyscrapers of Manhattan.

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That will change beginning Saturday, when the world's biggest passenger ship edges into a remote Brooklyn pier once known for coffee, corruption and crime.

What happens when the nearly 2,200 passengers step off the 1,132-foot Queen Mary 2 will also be different. Instead of being in midtown Manhattan, where hotels are a quick cab ride away, they will be in Red Hook, facing a convoluted trip through the traffic-clogged streets of Brooklyn.

The arrival of the Queen Mary 2, on the first of 11 scheduled visits to New York this year, marks the formal opening of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Other visiting cruise ships over the next few months will include the Queen Elizabeth 2.

The terminal came into being after several cruise lines transferred from the outmoded cruise terminal on the Hudson River on Manhattan's Upper West Side to Bayonne, N.J. That was a blow to the city's $600 million cruise business.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's answer was a $150 million plan to upgrade the West Side terminal and open a new one on Brooklyn's vacant Pier 12, where coffee-importing ships once tied up.

In 2004, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines signed agreements guaranteeing at least 13 million visitors and $200 million in port charges to the city through 2017. But only Cunard and Princess, both owned by Carnival, plan to make Red Hook their New York home port.

Brooklyn officials expect the facility to produce about 300 jobs — though nearly all of them part-time — and inject new vitality into Red Hook, a long-neglected slice of Brooklyn where the docks were plagued by the kind of corruption depicted in the Oscar-winning 1954 film "On the Waterfront."

While developers have recently discovered Red Hook, it remains a neighborhood with few amenities for tourists, a picturesque melange of brick streets, 19th-century warehouses, flower pots on stoops and attack-trained Dobermans and a Rottweiler named "Pretty Boy" snarling behind chain-link fences.

Even Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn borough president, conceded passengers will not spend much time or money in Red Hook as long as it remains only a place for arrivals and departures.

"My real objective, I want Brooklyn to be a port of call," Markowitz said. "Ships leaving Canada on their way to Florida, I want them to stop in Brooklyn. That's the real honey. Right now we've got the milk, but I want the honey."

The steel-shed terminal has been gussied up, with paint, landscaping and a Dodger-blue "Welcome to Brooklyn" logo. Dredging, dock improvements and other upgrades requested by Cunard for its flagship, the QM2, nearly doubled the original $30 million cost.

Red Hook residents have mixed views about cruise ships docking at their front door.

"It's going to be good," said transit worker Richard Meyer, 52, a Red Hook native. "When I retire I can just wheel my luggage down to the dock and go for a cruise."

Others complain that the terminal is not creating jobs for Red Hook itself. "Everybody over there seems to be from somewhere else," said Jean Francois, a laid-off truck driver who lives nearby.

Residents of adjacent neighborhoods, meanwhile, fear a flood of trucks, cars, taxis and buses as a small army of drivers, cleaners and provisioners swarms over each arriving ship as passengers disembark and new ones come aboard.

"It'll be a traffic nightmare — everything from heavy trucks to gypsy cabs," predicted Vincent Favorito, a lawyer in nearby Carroll Gardens, who sits on a local waterfront economic development committee. "I haven't seen anything resembling a plan to move people on and off the ships and get to the tunnel to Manhattan."

Markowitz shrugged off such concerns, saying ships arriving on weekends during the April-October cruise season should have minimal effect.
 

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^^ You don't like to read long articles, do you? The answer to your question is right in the 6th and 7th paragraphs.

johnt_gr said:
The terminal came into being after several cruise lines transferred from the outmoded cruise terminal on the Hudson River on Manhattan's Upper West Side to Bayonne, N.J. That was a blow to the city's $600 million cruise business.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's answer was a $150 million plan to upgrade the West Side terminal and open a new one on Brooklyn's vacant Pier 12, where coffee-importing ships once tied up..
 

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I read the article. That's why I had a question. Is the West Side Terminal the one around 42nd Street, or are there other facilities along the Hudson riverfront?
 

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hkskyline said:
I read the article. That's why I had a question. Is the West Side Terminal the one around 42nd Street, or are there other facilities along the Hudson riverfront?
There are only three piers on the West Side from 47th to 53rd St. that are used by cruise ships. They are undergoing improvements and so some ships like the QM2 are going to Brooklyn instead.
 

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New Brooklyn Terminal Shows It's Fit for Queen
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
16 April 2006
The New York Times

The county of kings received a new queen yesterday.

During the early morning hours, the Queen Mary 2, the largest passenger liner ever built, nosed through the Verrazano Narrows and docked at the new Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, shrouded in mist so thick that it obscured Governors Island nearby.

It was the final stop on a 38-day cruise that the ship began in Los Angeles in March, snaking down to South America and around Cape Horn before cruising back north with about 2,600 passengers who the city hopes will be the first of about 200,000 arrivals and departures at the new terminal over the next year.

By 10 a.m., the fog had thinned out, the sun shone brightly, and several dozen politicians, community leaders and cruise line executives stood in the harbor breeze to congratulate one another on the terminal's official opening.

"I hate to rush this press conference, actually, but I heard the shuffleboard tournament starts at 11, and Marty thinks that he can take me," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, referring to the Brooklyn borough president, Marty Markowitz. "Dream on, Markowitz."

Heralding the terminal, he said, "The people of New York conceived the idea, secured the funding, kicked off construction and today we celebrate its grand opening."

Weighing more than 150,000 tons, the Queen Mary 2 is essentially an enormous floating luxury hotel, with plush carpeting, formal dining and five duplex apartments among its 1,300 passenger rooms. It is 23 stories high and 1,132 feet long, the equivalent of about four football fields, 36 London buses or an extremely long lunch buffet.

The new Brooklyn terminal was built to match, with a cavernous waiting room and check-in area, gangways the size of constructions cranes and acres upon acres of blacktopped parking lot. Much of it was covered yesterday with a fleet of limousines and taxis, ranked with military precision to whisk the ship's passengers away to New York's airports and tourist destinations.

Hundreds of Brooklynites gathered at the edges of the fenced-in port to take in the site of the ship, and a few managed to sneak past the barricade.

"It woke us up this morning, so we figured we needed to come see it," said Nick Elezovic, 35, who was sleeping in Carroll Gardens when the ship blew its horns as it arrived. He brought his friend, Susan Johnson 27, and her parents -- Floridians in town for Easter -- to watch from the dock.

"It's gigantic," he said of the ship.

Yesterday's ceremony was the culmination of a two-year renovation of Pier 12, a formerly dilapidated Red Hook berth not far from docks where longshoreman still unload heavy goods from Brooklyn's last remaining container-ship port.

Under an agreement signed in 2004 with the Carnival and Norwegian Cruise lines, the city spent $52 million building the 182,000-square-foot terminal, constructing new mooring points and deepening the berth. (Mr. Markowitz and the federal government chipped in a few million, too.)

In return, the cruise lines will pay the city at least $200 million in port charges through 2017 and guarantee that at least 13 million passengers will arrive or depart in their ships at the city's terminals during those years.

The Red Hook terminal is now the largest cruise ship facility in New York City, at least until renovations are completed on the Manhattan terminal, at West 46th Street. The Red Hook terminal is the first cruise port in the city that is long enough and deep enough for the extra-large ships -- many of them larger than aircraft carriers -- which account for an ever-growing share of the worldwide cruise business.

According to the city's Economic Development Corporation, the Brooklyn terminal will accommodate 192,000 passengers from 38 ships in its first year of operation, eventually accounting for about one-fifth of the roughly one million passengers who will pass through New York City this year. Within five years, the corporation expects the industry to generate $900 million per year in economic activity, up from $600 million in 2004.

The new terminal also marks another step in the Brooklyn waterfront's slow conversion from heavy industry to a mix of parks, restaurants and condominium buildings.

"What's exciting is that it's the first substantial investment on these piers in 50 years -- and it's only the beginning," said Andrew Brent, a spokesman for the development corporation. Six nearby piers are already scheduled for development as part of the future Brooklyn Bridge Park, which will take up a stretch of land from Atlantic Avenue to just past the Manhattan Bridge.

The city is also trying to take over another nearby portion of the waterfront, one currently occupied by American Stevedoring, a container port operator that has survived -- and even thrived -- as most of its competitors have migrated across the harbor to New Jersey.

"Cruise and containers can happily coexist," said Matt Yates, a spokesman for the company. "The container port is a vibrant and essential component of Brooklyn's varied waterfront. By bringing both aesthetics and billions of dollars in economic activity, it provides Brooklyn with a worthwhile use for her storied piers, and brings much-needed wealth to our local economy."

But yesterday, at least, the Queen Mary 2 brooked no rivals. At about quarter past five, just after a laggard crew member scurried aboard with her bags, the ship sounded three blasts on its horn, and began gliding back to sea, the strains of "New York, New York" wafting across the stern.
 
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