Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rally For Shore Power - Monday, Jan 3rd, Noon. Cnr. Pioneer and Van Brunt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Photo, above, by Joshua Kristal, from South Brooklyn Post article - here.

There has been much frustration in the community about the inability of the City of New York, the state's Public Service Commission, New York Power Authority and other 'powers that be' to finalize the much anticipated deal to bring "shore power" the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, thereby allowing the visiting cruise ships to stop idling their extra-dirty diesel engines while in port, and consequently eliminating the harmful yet avoidable pollutants from our neighborhood's air and residents' lungs.

This frustration has finally forced our representatives to start asking questions about why this deal - years in the making, with all parties in agreement about its benefits - is so hard to close, and why this proposal, which has been referred to as "low hanging fruit" and a "no-brainer" by advocates in the community, government, industry and environmental groups, is all taking so long.

Two of our local representatives, Council-member Brad Lander and State Senator Daniel Squadron have been outspoken on this subject, and in an attempt to push this process forward have organized a rally and press conference to raise awareness of this issue .... and maybe even generate some much needed press coverage of this issue (hello, Brooklyn Papers?).

Gas masks will be issued at the event - this Monday, Jan. 3rd, Noon, at the corner of Pioneer and Van Brunt Streets.

See the flier/ press release from CM Lander, below (click to enlarge).

If we can get this shore power deal done, the Port Authority has stated in testimony to the Public Service Commission that the estimated savings in "monetized health costs" to Brooklyn residents will be $9 Million, per year. My post with links to this statement, here.

That means that currently the cruise ships are costing Brooklyn residents, especially our most vulnerable, $9 Million in health costs, per year - that's in cancer, asthma, heart and lung disease, and more.

In reality, this plan should be the first, small step in taking these harmful ship-created emissions, including greenhouse gasses, out of our entire city's air. Shore power and the idle-free practice of "cold ironing" should be being pursued throughout the Ports of New York and New Jersey with all types of ships - cruise, container, etc., (as has been implemented over the last 10 years in L.A. and Long Beach and other West Coast ports), with resultant health benefits to all of our residents, but especially to vulnerable port-side communities.

Please attend this rally to show that you want to see this deal closed and this important first step taken.

Click above to enlarge.

The Queen Mary 2 will be in port, so don't forget to get your gas masks!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh, and another thing .... Greenhouse Gases and Black Carbon (UPDATED: w/ Link to NY Times Article)

Observed black carbon - from NASA

This blog has mainly concentrated on the substances in the smoke-stack emissions from ships that are harmful to the public health, directly. These emissions, which include Sulfur Oxides, Nitrogen Oxides and Particulate Matter, are created by the burning of extra-dirty diesel (called bunker fuel) and they have been designated by the EPA as likely carcinogens, harmful to children, the elderly, people with lung disease and the most vulnerable in our communities - particularly low-income and minority communities near ports.

These health effects are of great concern to those of us who have become aware of their impact, and the growing acknowledgment of their impacts have been an compelling reason to establish "clean port" practices in cities around the world, where ships currently idle while in port, emitting these dangerous emissions for the duration of their stay. This has been the driving reason for the yet to be realized initiative to establish "shore power" at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, for example, where the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey states that the "plugging in" of the cruise ships that visit that terminal, which all currently idle while in port, would save the residents of Brooklyn an estimated $9 Million in annual monetized health costs (you know ... cancer, asthma, heart disease, premature mortality, etc.).

There is, however, another good reason to pursue cleaner shipping and "clean port" practices in our ports, and throughout the world.

The ships' contribution to climate change.

It is estimated that by 2050, if unabated, ships will contribute 18% of all man-made CO2. The Friends of the Earth also states that NOx emissions that ships produce could have an equally significant effect on climate change as the CO2.

Another little-known contributor to climate change in which shipping emissions play a large role, is the matter of "black carbon", more commonly known as soot. In 2007, in a petition to the EPA regarding the effects of shipping emissions on climate change (see it here), the organization Earthjustice, supported by Friends of the Earth and others, make the argument that "black carbon" has the potential to be the second greatest contributor to climate change, second only to CO2.

This is because "black carbon" particles are both suspended in the air, as well as falling on ice and snow. In both cases, because of its non-reflective qualities, the particles conduct heat and therefore contribute to warming, as well as, in the case of snow and ice, contributing to melting. It's also thought that with melting Arctic ice and shipping lanes becoming open in those previously unnavigable waterways, the ships will deliver the "black carbon" more directly to the ice and snow, thereby accelerating the damage.

Given these reasons, momentum has been building, world-wide, to acknowledge the contribution of shipping emissions to green house gasses and to assess and address their contribution to climate change.

With that in mind, organizations around the world have been trying to draw attention to the impact of shipping on climate change, as well as trying to share information about ways to mitigate the impact of these emissions.

In that spirit, Sir Richard Branson and partners in the shipping and energy industry have launched a site called "Shipping Efficiency" in an effort to "increase information flows around international shipping's energy efficiency and ultimately help reduce the environmental impacts of the world's shipping fleet."

The site goes on to state -

" enables anyone with access to the internet to tell an efficient, low-emission ship from an less efficient one, for the first time. Using a simple search function, users can pull up an A to G rating for around 60,000 existing ships, including the majority of the world's container ships, tankers, bulk carriers, cargo ships, cruise ships and ferries."

This means that, for instance, if I'm interested in the Grande Nigeria that is berthed at the Red Hook Container Terminal for a couple of days (idling continuously, I might add), I can go to the Shipping Efficiency web site and look up the "rating" of that ship.

As it turns out, that ship gets a "D".

I can also see the other information about that ship's engine size, fuel efficiency, etc., and if I had the skill (which I don't), I could analyze that information and work out how much fuel that ship consumes and how much pollution it creates - not only at sea, but while it's idling at the bottom of our neighborhood's residential streets.

Now, the information on this site is intended to be a tool to allow choice of shipping and to increase the overall efficiency of the world's shipping fleet. But its existence provides acknowledgment of, and insight into, the real impact that shipping has on the health of the planet, as well as the health of it's inhabitants - particularly the residents of port communities.

The point is that there are many ways that shipping can be cleaned up - both at sea and in port. Lower Sulfur fuels can be part of the equation, as their use can help drastically reduce the creation of some of these harmful emissions - including "black carbon" that not only contributes to climate change, but also is a dangerous contributor to cancers and lung disease, including asthma. There are technologies and practices out there that can be used to reduce these emissions and their impacts.

The goal should obviously be to take measures to reduce all of these impacts - on both health and climate. In the case of the ships visiting New York and New Jersey, there are efforts being made to reduce the impact that the ships emissions are having on health. There is program that is supposed to encourage the use of low-Sulfur fuels in the City's waters, as well as a much bigger long-term plan to reduce the sulfur in the fuel of all ships using the continental waters of the U.S. and Canada through an ECA (Emissions Control Area). There are plans to reduce the speed of ships and to encourage "slow steaming" in open waters. These plans are worthy, and, if implemented well, will significantly reduce harmful emissions from ships in our city's air, with flow-on health improvements to our residents.

However, in the short term - and, more importantly in the long term - don't we want to reduce all of these emissions as much as possible?

By plugging a cruise ship into "shore power", by practicing "cold ironing", (even taking into account the effect of the extra power produced by power stations, which is zero if you use hydro-electric generation as is a large proportion of NYPA provided power), you not only virtually eliminate the emissions that are harmful to human health that have been so much a focus of this blog - SOx, NOx and PM - but you also reduce the emission of Greenhouse gasses much more than any use of alternate fuel or low-sulfur diesel would.

Look at that site, Shipping Efficiency. Take a look at how much diesel these ships burn - even when they're in port. When they're idling in port it's equivalent to tens of thousands of cars, or thousands of trucks - idling right on the edge of our residential neighborhoods.

Do we want to burn more of that carbon-based fuel than is necessary? Do we want to import more petroleum products from overseas? Do we want to keep relying on fossil fuels or move to a cleaner energy economy?

So, when it comes to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, or the Brooklyn Container Terminal, or any of the ports of New York and New Jersey, it's time to get a move on in implementing these clean port and shipping practices - especially "cold ironing" - because it's not only about ridding the air and our kids' lungs of these dangerous emissions, it's about ridding the air of the Greenhouse gasses and "black carbon" that threaten our planet's climate.

UPDATE: Dec. 6th. Coincidentally, yesterday, the New York Times did a story on shipping emissions titled, Shipping Faces Calls to Lower Its Carbon Footprint, By JAMES KANTER. The first line of the story reads,

"In an era when industries are competing to shrink their carbon footprints, shipping has charted a slower course."

Please read on .....


Thursday, November 18, 2010

"South Brooklyn Post" Sheds Further Light on the Fight To Plug Idling Ships into Shore Power at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

Today I was thankful to read the 'front page' story in the new on-line newspaper, the "South Brooklyn Post", on the battle in Red Hook, Brooklyn to get the visiting cruise ships to plug into "shore power", thereby turning off their idling, extra-dirty diesel burning engines in a practice called "cold ironing", at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

The story, "State Stalls on Brooklyn Air Pollution" by Lisa M. Collins (click here), was the first I've seen in the press on the subject in over a year.

Anyone who has been following this blog has read about the attempt to raise awareness of the facts of ship pollution and its remedies since learning about the issue in 2005, when the City's Economic Development Corporation was planning and building the cruise terminal at the end of my family's residential street. I attempted to do this first by writing letters to the City of New York, the mayor and other politicians, bringing it up at community meetings, then by starting this blog in early 2009 in an effort to push the issue further into the spotlight.

Over the last couple of years, there has been some decent progress in establishing this practice at the Red Hook terminal, with the Port Authority, EDC and cruise ship operators, Carnival, all offering commitments - financially and otherwise - to get it done. (my post here) But, as Ms. Collins notes in the article,

"the city and the New York State Power Authority are battling over the cost to subsidize Carnival Cruise ships for making the switch from idling with bunker fuel to plugging in and paying for electrical power.

Until the rates and who will pay them are determined, the project to build the electrical plug-in station is stalled."

Ms. Collins goes on to state that,

"The issue is a political hot potato—nobody wants to talk on the record about the rate dispute."

The reporting continues, referring to Michael Saltzman, spokesman for the New York Power Authority, who was unwilling to comment on the rate dispute other than saying,

“We do not have an agreement with the city,”

Also quoted is Craig Hammerman, District Manager of Community Board 6, who affirms,

“The funding is set aside, the only thing holding everything back is for the Power Authority to establish a rate. We would have expected that they would realize how important this is to the community.

“The stars are lined up to help solve this problem. We just have to get to the Power Authority to move this thing forward”

And that's where the press should be playing more of a role.

The last part of the article mentions this blog and its attempts to raise awareness of the ship smokestack pollution issue. This being a problem not only for the Brooklyn-based cruise ships, but with all types of ocean-going ships, every one which currently idles while visiting the ports of New York and New Jersey - whether container, cruise, etc. - producing total smokestack pollution that is equivalent to that created by 7.8 Million cars.

However, as far as getting this first step done in eliminating these dangerous yet avoidable emissions from our air - i.e. the establishing of "shore power / cold ironing" at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal - that cause could have used a lot more help in the way of coverage by the press - local or otherwise.

When the case to set a new shore power rate at the Public Services Commission (PSC) was stalled in early 2009 - yes it's been going that long - there was a little press coverage of the story in the Brooklyn Paper (here), and in a story and a blog post at the NY Times (here and here). But since then, there has been almost nothing - no significant attempt in the press to raise the awareness of the issue itself nor of the important facts that were coming to light in the PSC case, no pressure put on the entities that were dragging their heels, and, as a result, no help in moving this process forward.

When the EPA, in testimony given to the PSC at that early 2009 hearing in support of the establishment of this power rate, made such statements as this, regarding the unmitigated ship smokestack pollution -

"Such air emissions are harmful to the pubic generally, and especially to our children, the elderly, people with lung disease, those who exercise outside, and low-income and minority communities located near ports." (and the other statements permanently listed on the side-bar of this blog)

... where was the coverage in the press?

When our local politicians, such as Joan Millman and Brad Lander made similar statements later, noting that these avoidable pollutants ...

"damage lung tissue, increase respiratory illness, suppress immune systems, aggravate breathing problems and asthma" and additionally that they "contribute to premature death for people with respiratory and cardiac disease"

... where was the story in the New York Times?

When the Port Authority, in testimony to the PSC in January this year, included this statement from their Executive Director, Chris Ward (full statement here) -

"we estimate that the annual health benefits emissions reductions arising from a switch from on board generation to shore power at the BCT (Brooklyn Cruise Terminal), adjusted for Kings County, approaches $9 Million"

..... in other words, that currently the annual monetized health cost of the cruise ships visiting Brooklyn to our community is estimated to be $9 million - that's roughly $150,000 per ship visit ....

.... where was the coverage in the Brooklyn Paper?

Couldn't coverage of these facts in the press have leveraged a more urgent response from the PSC, or pressured the New York Power Authority to set a rate that could work for everyone - including the residents that are still breathing in these harmful emissions?

On this last matter, regarding this staggering $9 Million figure cited by the Port Authority, after reading that testimony I did try to spread the word to local papers and in my blog (my post here) but was ultimately disappointed by the absence of coverage. I spoke to a reporter at the Brooklyn Paper who told me that he'd write an article about the subject, including these facts, but none materialized.

I happened to bump into that reporter recently, and he told me that he had written the story, but it hadn't been published.

I decided to write an email to Gersh Kuntzman, the editor of the Brooklyn Paper, to ask why this had happened, especially since he had recently interviewed a newly elected Representative and quizzed him about his lack of environmental advocacy, asking him whether lack of regulation could lead to a situation as seen in "other countries", where "kids are dying of pollution". His response to my question about the reason for not publishing the story about the $9 Million in annual "monetized health costs" to Brooklyn residents from the cruise ship pollution was not particularly reassuring.

He advised me to contact some guy at a PR firm ... not really sure why. Then he concluded with this statement -

"He handles all outside questions about our coverage. I am not authorized, unfortunately, to discuss such matters."

Oh well.

At least we have the "South Brooklyn Post".

Maybe their excellent story will help to shine a light on this agonizingly protracted process, the compelling arguments that are being made about the benefits of establishing shore power, and finally push the entities involved toward a resolution.

Then, finally, we'll have taken the first small step in ridding our city's air of these harmful, yet avoidable emissions.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Activity at the Atlantic Basin - Visit the Expedition Vessel "Wanderbird" - 4pm and 7pm Saturday, Nov. 20th - FREE!

This Saturday, November 20th, in an event staged by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, there will be the opportunity to visit the expedition ship "Wanderbird" while also vicariously experiencing the Arctic seafaring adventures of the hosts, Captains Rick and Karen, who will be sharing their tales through Q and A, photos and music.

The "Wanderbird" will be moored in the Atlantic Basin /Pier 11 at the bottom of Pioneer Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn - the stunning and historic location where PortSide New York held its successful series of events over the Summer (and its future permanent home). On Saturday there will be two opportunities to board the visiting vessel - one at 4pm and later at 7pm. The EDC has passed on the information that at 4PM there will be a show for the "younger set" that will be held inside the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Then, everyone can visit the boat.

And this good new from the EDC -

"All free including refreshments!"

So hope to see you there for this free, family friendly event. It's another opportunity to experience the waterfront that is literally at our doorstep. Another chance to see and imagine what more is possible on our waterfront. And, as an added bonus, it may be an opportunity to experience the Cruise Ship Terminal, that has been, up to now, mostly only accessible to cruisers .... (and 4,500 conference-attending rabbis).

Click on map for details (location is Red placemark)

View Atlantic Basin Event in a larger map

Thursday, November 11, 2010

DEADLINE: 5pm, Friday November 12th. Last Chance for Public Input on NYC's Vision 2020 - Comprehensive Waterfront Plan - Comment On-Line

5pm tomorrow, Friday November 12th, is the deadline for the public comment period of the New York City Vision 2020, Comprehensive Waterfront Plan. Comment on-line HERE.

After public workshops in all the boroughs and other city-wide meetings including those regarding the future planning for waterborne transportation in the city, something the Department of Planning is calling the "Blue Network", the public input period is drawing to a close.

Comments can be made on-line HERE till the deadline, 5pm, Friday, November 11.

The draft recommendations have been out since early October (my post HERE), so have a look at them if you haven't already, have a think about what you might want included in plans for our waterfront. More transportation? Better waterfront access? More connection to the upland residential and commercial communities? Creation of a connection to Governors Island? Better and more equitable use of publicly owned property - e.g. Cruise Terminal site, Atlantic Basin? More programs like the successful ones PortSide New York mounted over the summer? Cleaner and greener port practices like "cold ironing"?

Below is a summary of the draft recommendations for our stretch of the waterfront - click HERE to see a more comprehensive Google doc version (Red Hook is in the section on Reach 14 South).

Make sure you voice your opinion - this plan is set to shape the use of our waterfront for decades to come.

PortSide / Jalopy event on the Mary Whalen, Atlantic Basin, Summer 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

While Brooklyn and NY Wait, other Ports in the U.S. and Around The World "Plug In" Idling Ships, Ridding the Air of Harmful Emissions

Picture from Triple Pundit

Did you hear that there's a plan to begin to remove from the air in our city carcinogenic diesel smokestack emissions produced by ships - both container and cruise - that are currently idling while visiting our ports? Did you hear that the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook is going to take the first step of this plan, with the visiting cruise ships "plugging in" to the City's power grid while in port, thus allowing them to, in a practice called "cold ironing", turn off their idling diesel engines - engines that produce the equivalent emissions of 12,000 cars per day / per ship visit? Did you hear that the Port Authority has committed, financially and otherwise, to building the "shore power" infrastructure required to make this practice possible and has received an EPA Diesel Reduction grant to assist? Did you hear that Chris Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority, said that plugging the ships in would save the residents of Brooklyn an estimated $9 Million per year in "monetized health costs" - you know, in cancer, premature death, asthma, heart disease, etc? Did you hear that the cruise ship operators, Carnival, have committed to retrofitting their ships to accept "shore power"?

Did you also hear that the power supplier - Con Edison or the NY Power Authority (which one of these entities supplies power to the Port Authority is still unclear to me) - doesn't want to supply a power rate that would make this practice viable, and that the Public Service Commission, which can set rates from utilities, after undergoing a baffling and ponderous process, hasn't yet made a ruling that would require this rate to be established?

But, don't worry, did you hear that the NYC Economic Development Corporation, which brought the $56 million cruise terminal (and the unmitigated pollution from the ships) to the Brooklyn waterfront in 2006, has offered to subsidize the power rate so that the cruise ships can "plug in", without economic disincentive?

Well, if your answer is yes to all of these questions, you've been paying close attention (perhaps to this blog). Most of this is pretty old news, actually, though I'll forgive you if you've missed anything. There's been little written about it in local press - in Brooklyn or in the city's major newspapers - which, I think, is part of the reason this is all taking so long.

From January 2009 the Port Authority and NYCEDC has committed to the implementation of "cold ironing" at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. Along the way there have been various "hoops" through which to jump, but it seemed that everyone (who was required) was 'on board' with these plans. Politicians from Brad Lander, Joan Millman and others have presented testimony at Public Service Commission hearings endorsing and encouraging this plan. Chris Ward at the Port Authority, as I mentioned, produced those startling figures stating the importance of this plan in cleaning the air and reducing the health burden on our residents in testimony to the Public Service Commission. The EPA also produced statements outlining the importance of this plan - these statements are permanently listed on the right hand side-bar of this blog.

But still - the ships are idling - Brooklyn is waiting.

Still waiting ... despite the known facts about the harmful effects of these dangerous, but avoidable emissions. Despite the reality that establishing shore power at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal would only be the first step towards instigating city-wide "cold ironing" throughout the Ports of New York and New Jersey, taking the equivalent of 7.8 million cars off the streets - to truly make NYC - Idle Free.

But while Brooklyn and the rest of New York City dawdle, others are moving ahead.

San Francisco has recently opened a "cold ironing" berth for visiting Carnival cruise ships (see? Carnival want to do the right thing - it's good publicity). San Fran's port has the added advantage of having its power supplied by Hydro-Electric power, making it zero emissions. (Note: the linked story states that this is the 4th cold ironing port in the world. That's not actually true. It's the 4th Carnival Cruise cold ironing port in the world.)

Tacoma, WA, has recently established a cold ironing berth for container ships (story here). This will take 1.9 million tons of asthma causing diesel particulates out of the air, as well as reducing Sulfur by 90%. In the Ports of Long Beach and L.A., where cold ironing has been practiced for a number of years, the "plugging in" of a large container ship is estimated to take the equivalent of 30,000 cars off the road.

Shore power is also being used in other parts of the country and world - like Juneau, Alaska (the US's first cold ironing port), Seattle, San Diego, Vancouver, ports in Sweden, Belgium, Finland, and Germany and others. (see here).

California has been on the vanguard when it comes to the broad implementation of these measures in the U.S., as you can see by the number of Californian ports on that list. The defeat in the last election of Proposition 23, the Big-Oil backed attempt to undo the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in that state (see my post), is a win for all those hoping to clean the air in California and the rest of the country. It was thought that the adoption of Prop. 23 would have had flow-on effects to things such as the implementation of cold ironing in California and around the country, so its defeat was good news for all clean port advocates.

With such barriers out of the way (fingers crossed and Republican controlled House willing), and more and more awareness of the benefits of such practices, I'm sure there's going to be more action on the cold ironing front in the U.S., with proposals in busy cruise locations such as Florida already underway.

There's also been international action on the reduction of port emissions (Carbon Positive story here), with a group of European ports offering "discounted fees to vessels that outperform a new environmental ship index (ESI) measuring SOx and NOx emissions performance, and quality of CO2 reporting."

From the story -

"Under the voluntary World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI), the Dutch ports of Amsterdam, Moerdijk, Dordrecht and Rotterdam will apply a new Environmental Ship Index (ESI) to arriving vessels from January 1 next year. Antwerp, Hamburg and Bremen are expected to participate soon after. The WPCI involves 55 ports of the International Association of Ports and Harbours which are looking at reducing their greenhouse gas emissions."

Again, this will be an incentive to instigate clean port practices, including cold ironing, all over Europe.

So if the rest of the country and the rest of the world are moving ahead on all of these measures, what's up in New York? Isn't that what we're all about? If they can do it there, why can't we do it here? .... it's up to you, (boom) New (boom) York, (boom) Neeeewww Yo .... OK, I'll stop.

But seriously, this is taking too long.

At the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (and remember, this is only the cruise ships in Brooklyn - not including container and other ships), each year we wait is an extra 100 tons of carcinogenic SOx in the air. Each year is an extra 100 tons of smog causing NOx. Each year is an extra 6 tons of asthma causing particulates - spewing out over a neighborhood that already has 40% childhood asthma rates. Each cruise ship visit is costing Brooklyn residents, by the Port Authority's estimate, $150,000 in "monetized health costs".

And I haven't even talked about greenhouse gases.

Why are we waiting?

I dunno. You'll have to ask them.

Pic from PortSide - Mary Whalen in the Atlantic Basin, Queen Mary 2 behind - idling.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Hope and Anchor Hosting Halloween Fundraiser for "Falconworks"

Our friendly neighborhood diner, the Hope & Anchor, is throwing a Halloween costume Party to benefit Red Hook based Falconworks. "Falconworks Artists Group" is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is, in their own words, "to empower communities and individuals through the arts. Falconworks is everyday people making theater about the issues, big or small, that affect our families, friends and neighbors."

This event is a night-time, adult, Halloween night party, (but they'll allow kids till 9pm) so get all of your Trick or Treating done and get along afterwards. This will also work for those who are coming along to the "Red Hook Howler" neighborhood block party (bouncy castle, music - including AudraRox @ 1pm - pumpkin carving, food and drinks from local vendors), on Van Dyke Street, between Van Brunt and Conover Streets, between noon and 7pm.

So, the details -

when: Sunday, October 31. 8pm until...
where: Hope & Anchor
(347 Van Brunt Street)
what: Halloween Costume party; music all night, juke box karaoke, best costume prizes, raffle prizes

how much: $20 (going directly to Falconworks)

Happy Halloween!!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Red Hook's Archaic Zoning Regulations Kill Plans for CIty's First Zero Emissions Building

Photo from Redhook Green website

The sad news came this week that "Redhook Green", Jay Amato's proposed live/work building project in Red Hook - the first "zero emissions building" to have been constructed in New York City - has been 'killed' by a ruling in the Department of Buildings.

Jay writes on his blog post, titled "Buyer Beware" (here), that when he was looking at plots of land on which to put his building he was having a hard time finding an appropriate block - one that was zoned either R - residential, or MX - mixed use, that was on a corner which would be most appropriate for a solar powered building. He did, however, find a perfectly located block with an M-manufacturing zoning.

Jay writes,

"I was advised that given my particular use, I could make an “M” zoned plot work. What that means is that given the majority of my structure was to be dedicated to commercial use, the living quarters would be an ‘accessory’ to the true function of the building. Therefore we would request the building department grant us permission to live in what would is called a “caretakers apartment”, which would be incidental to it’s primary use. Jim Garrison ( Jay's architect) assured me on the advice of a former NYC Building Commissioner and “a careful and correct reading of the zoning law”, that this was very common and would “sail through the building department” without incidence."

Well, unfortunately it seems that wasn't to be. After proceeding appropriately and "dotting his I's and crossing his T's" this is how things turned out for Redhook Green. Jay writes,

"That brings us to where I am today (basically screwed)! After a telephone hearing last week, the all knowing, politically charged and narrowly minded men and women of the NYC building department capriciously determined “that the proposed living or sleeping accommodations for caretakers in this case is not incidental to the principal use”. To quote James P. Colgate; Assistant Commissioner of Technical Affairs and Code Development “ The request to have a living or sleeping accommodation for caretakers as per ZR 12-10 as an accessory use to this new office building is DENIED.”

Just to give you an idea of how inappropriate partial residential use would have been on this site, let me show you a screen shot of the Google maps Street view of the location -

That's the lot on the left - NEXT TO THE TWO HOUSES!

... and Jay's structure would have had a street front and whole first floor that looked more industrial than residential - take a look at more of his renderings (here).

This is a problem not only for Jay Amato and Redhook Green, but for Red Hook as a whole. How can this archaic zoning and the Dept. of Building's strict adherence to it serve our community's need for more housing and residential regeneration. Our own 197a Plan has laid out the need for supporting residential uses in Red Hook, as have Community Board 6 recommendations - such as the ones that were laid out when the plans for Pier 7-12 were being discussed. Despite the fact that these recommendations have been often ignored by City planners, the NYC Economic Development Corporation and others (as was the case with the uses of Piers 7-12), it's not an excuse for these anti-residential attitudes to continue.

The recently released draft recommendations for the City's "Vision 2020 - NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan" (my post here) - omit any significant mention of the potential for the regeneration of residential use in the City's waterfront neighborhoods. The Wall Street Journal has an article titled "A Sea Change in Waterfront Plans", in which the writer, Eliot Brown, states, in regard to the City's draft recommendations,

"there is a notable omission: new housing and commercial redevelopment. While it was a top goal of prior strategy documents, it's barely mentioned in the new strategy. The emphasis instead lands on areas such as expanding the maritime industry, ferry service and public access."

Maybe the Dept of Planning didn't see residential planning as being 'within their scope' this time, and I get that the city doesn't want a rerun of the high rise development on the Williamsburg waterfront taking place in Red Hook, or Sunset Park, for instance - the residents of those neighborhoods hardly want that either - but I hope the Department of Planning isn't relegating our mixed use waterfront neighborhoods, like Red Hook, to a more industrial and more polluted future, with disregard for the quality of life and health of our residents.

Isn't it all about balance? Residential use. Industrial use. Commercial use. Upland connections. Waterfront access. Public transportation. All working together to everyone's benefit.

That's why this decision seems so wrong-headed. Red Hook has a history of these battles, where reasonable residential development is thwarted by pro-industrial advocates who - falsely, in my opinion - complain that residential uses can't co-exist with industrial uses (despite the evidence to the contrary in my old home town of Sydney and elsewhere in the world). This was seen in the fight for the rezoning of the 160 Imlay Street building, where the battle was so drawn out that, despite the ultimate court ruling allowing for at least partial residential use of that magnificent building, it has been left empty, shrouded in black netting and generating no activity, no economic prosperity for the neighborhood and it's small businesses, nor revenues for the City. It's a waste and an awful shame.

I remember another example of wrong-headed zoning decisions when, in 2006, the Community Board voted against recommending a variance for 146 Conover Street, a vacant lot which was zoned, like Jay Amato's block, M-Manufacturing. The owners had wanted to build a residential building on the site, but because of the CB6's denial of the zoning variance, they couldn't.

Here is the lot in question -

... right in-between the TWO HOUSES. How inappropriate!

So, Jay, you're not alone in being on the wrong side of one of these wrong-headed decisions.

Unfortunately, these decisions don't bode well for the regeneration of Red Hook's residential population and innovative solutions such as Redhook Green's. Without residential regeneration how can Red Hook's burgeoning small businesses hope for more activity, how can our residents hope for better transportation or services, or a greater say in what goes on in and around our neighborhood - more advocacy for cleaner air and better quality of life? If Jay Amato can't get this one done, what is the hope for anything else?

Redhook Green has laid out their possible options going forward (from Jay's post)-

  1. Build a green office building - It’s too small and off the beaten path to make a sound business case for such a structure in the next few years.
  2. Apply for a zoning variance - 60 to 100K in professional services expenses, one year and no guaranty that it will be successful.
  3. Walk
None of these seem particularly appealing. Any thoughts, ideas, recommendations, contacts or kind words of encouragement would be appreciated. I will think about this a bit and keep you posted on my progress.

Contact details HERE

If Mr. Amato can't find a way to get around this decision, it will be a great loss, not only to him, but to Red Hook, Brooklyn, the City as a whole, and the advocates of healthy cities around the world - ones in which, in Jay's words, we can all "live and work responsibly".


Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Vision 2020, NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan" Draft Recommendations - Have Your Say - Attend the Final Public Meeting or Comment On-line


Following a series of public workshops, the NYC Department of Planning has released a number of draft recommendations for its "Vision 2020 - NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan" - a plan that hopes to shape the use of our city's waterfront for the next decade and beyond.

You can go to their web site (here) and download the various recommendations in full (PDF) or in sections, each pertaining to the individual 5 boroughs. The section relating to Brooklyn, specifically, and our neighborhood is also available (here), as a Google doc. The recommendations for "Reach 14 South", the section of waterfront that includes Red Hook, Cobble Hill, the Gowanus Canal area and Sunset Park can be found starting on page 5 of the Brooklyn section. You can also find, (here), an additional section, containing broader "Programmatic Recommendations", that outlines the "recommendations for citywide policy and programmatic changes".

These are "draft" recommendations, so the Department of Planning is still looking for public input. If you would like to have your say, you can still do so on line - HERE - till 5 p.m., November 12th. Additionally, you can attend the final public meeting that is being held on Tuesday, October 12th. The details of the meeting from the Dept. of Planning are here, but please find below the main details from their web site -

The Department will be holding a public meeting on October 12th. At this meeting the Department of City Planning will give a presentation, which will be followed by an opportunity for public comment. Many thanks to all those who have participated so far, and we hope you will continue to be a part of the process!

Public Meeting on Draft Recommendations
Tuesday, October 12th, 6 p.m.
Rosenthal Pavilion, NYU Kimmel Center for University Life
60 Washington Square South, 10th Floor, New York, NY
(corner of La Guardia and West 4th)

A,B,C,D,E,F,V at West 4th St.
R,W at 8th St-NYU
6 at Astor Pl.

As the Dept. of Planning is stating, "participation is a critical component of the Vision 2020 process", so make sure you make your ideas known.

What do you think of these draft recommendations for Red Hook and surrounds? (click to enlarge) -

There's some good stuff here, but is there something else you think should be addressed? For instance, I don't see anything specific about increased access to waterborne public transportation here - ferries, water taxi. etc - at the Atlantic Basin or elsewhere. There is nothing that acknowledges Red Hook's connection to Governor's Island via its close proximity to it, or anything that works towards strengthening that connection via transportation or other means, something that would benefit our residents and small businesses. It would be a shame if Governors Island - with its new parks and other development - essentially turned its back on Red Hook, its closest neighbor.

Something that is included in these recommendations - something that wasn't included in the initial goals set by the Dept. of Planning for "Vision 2020" - is the "support for green port initiatives, including cold-ironing" at Piers 7-12, which would include the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. When the initial Vision 2020 Plan was announced, there was actually no mention of the impacts of port pollution on the residents of our city. I made note of this point in my post (here), written after attending the Brooklyn Workshop in May this year. I wrote -

"In all of the points listed in the various handouts, including the “Preliminary List of Goals and Issues” distributed at the workshop – a list that contained 7 goals, and 27 specific issues under the headings: Natural Waterfront; Working Waterfront; Public Waterfront, Mixed Use, Residential and Commercial Waterfront; and Blue Network (which includes transportation and freight movement, alternative energy, etc) - not once was mentioned the idea that the activities of the ports are actually polluting, and that the Vision 2020 Plan should acknowledge that fact and seek out a strategy to mitigate this pollution and its detrimental health effects."

It's good to see that these issues are now being taken somewhat seriously by the Dept. of Planning and not only in Brooklyn. As part of the broader section I mentioned before, (here), titled "Programmatic Recommendations" that outlines the "recommendations for citywide policy and programmatic changes", there is a 'goal' titled, "Support Economic Activity on the Working Waterfront". Under this goal is a section encouraging the use of "green technology and practices to make waterfront industrial areas and ports throughout the city more environmentally sensitive and to reduce negative impacts on neighboring residential areas". Outlined are a number of potentially port 'greening' initiatives, including encouraging the use of shore-based power and cold ironing. If this is a city-wide recommendation, then this is a thankful acknowledgment of the impact of port pollution on the residents of our city and the urgent need to mitigate it - especially when the Environmental Defense Fund estimates that pollution created by ships visiting the Ports of New York and New Jersey is equivalent to the pollution produced by 7.8 million new cars, and when the Port Authority itself acknowledges that the monetized health cost of the pollution from cruise ships visiting Red Hook, Brooklyn (alone - not including the container ships) is estimated to be $9 million a year.

Hopefully these recommendations will spur serious and urgent action on these issues - something that has been lacking so far, even with the "lowest hanging fruit" - the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal - where, despite serious commitments both financially and otherwise from the cruise operators, the Port Authority and others, the promise to initiate cold-ironing at that terminal has languished in some sort of limbo, lost in a void between the impenetrable deliberations of the Public Service Commission and a mindset at Con-Edison that refuses to provide an electricity power rate to make this practice economically viable - thereby saving lives, and taking carcinogenic gasses and asthma causing particulates out of the air and the lungs of our children in the process.

So, while you wait (don't hold your breath!) for the cold-ironing situation at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to be sorted out - something that Rich Kassel from the National Resources Defense Council described as being a "no brainer" at the New York City Council's Committee on Waterfronts' "Oversight - Clearing the Air: Greening New York City's Working Waterfront" hearing in June - have a look over these other draft recommendations.

Have a think about what you might want included in plans for our waterfront. More transportation? Better waterfront access? More connection to the upland residential and commercial communities? Creation of a connection to Governors Island? Better and more equitable use of publicly owned property - e.g. Cruise Terminal site, Atlantic Basin? More programs like the successful ones PortSide New York mounted over the summer?

Let your thoughts be known - at the meeting, details HERE, on Tuesday October 12th - or on-line HERE before 5pm November 12th.

(Photo: The Atlantic Basin and tall ship, Clipper City - an event made possible by PortSide New York)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Red Hook's Sidewalk Sale Returns + more stuff to buy/sell at the PS15 School Yard Flea Market

This SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, Red Hook neighbors are turning out for a COMMUNITY DAY of Van Brunt Sidewalk Sales / PS 15 Flea Market & Community Activities.

Community Activities at PS 15's school yard (Van Brunt between Sullivan and Wolcott)

Local organizations will provide the following activities:

11:00am - DRAWING TOGETHER: Families and people of all ages can participate in a community drawing project guided by Kentler's K.I.D.S. Art Education teaching artist, Meghan Keane.

12:00pm - Come learn from the Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy: A Center for Environmental Education, Community Stewardship, Culture and Maritime

1-2pm - Creative Movement Sample Classes. Children ages 3-12 can leap, gallop, spin and laugh together in 10-minute sample creative movement classes offered throughout the hour by Shannon Hummel, Artistic Director of Red Hook's own Cora School for Dance.

2pm+ - Get to know Falconworks Artists Group and Dance Theatre Etcetera


Are there vending fees?
There is NO FEE to sell goods either along local sidewalks or in the PS 15 school yard - RHED has just received funding to cover the school yard permit cost!
So, no fees!

Can I set up along Van Brunt? You can set up in front of your own residence or business. If you don't own or rent property, get permission from those who do before staking out a place.

Can I set up in the PS 15 school yard? Everyone is welcome. You'll be joined by various neighbors and community groups, including Falconworks - who will have a mega sale/fundraiser (with a wild variety of goods donated by supporters); several families with children attending the school (sounds like a good place for buying/selling kid's things); AND fun activities provided by several of RH's stellar organizations.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

California's Proposition 23 May Undercut Clean Port Initiatives - NATION-WIDE

For those of us who are advocating for cleaner and greener ports - including the reduction or elimination of cancer causing and otherwise harmful sulfur, nitrogen and particulate emissions from ship and truck smokestack pollution and the reduction of the negative health impacts that the activities of ports have on the residents of port cities and, most acutely, on the residential neighborhoods that the ports abut - the recent news that there is a possibility for the successful adoption of an Oil Industry bankrolled initiative on the ballot in California this November - Proposition 23 - is a worrying development.

Proposition 23 (given the rather Orwellian title, "California Jobs Initiative") is an attempt to roll back California's Clean Air Law - AB32. "Prop 23" is sponsored by Valery Energy and Tesaro, two Texas based Oil refining companies, as well as by David and Charles Koch (pronounced "Coke"), the billionaire brother owners of the oil giant Koch Industries, who have also financed the dissemination of climate change misinformation, fought legislation to address climate change or reduce pollution, and successfully lobbied the EPA to refrain from naming formaldehyde, a chemical produced by Koch Industries, as being a "known carcinogen" - which it is. The Koch brothers have also been involved, though keeping a low profile, in other political activities including their support of the "Tea Party" and establishing "grass roots" organizations such as "Americans for Prosperity", a group that opposed health care reform. Their many activities were detailed by Greenpeace earlier this year in a report titled, "Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine.", and more recently in Jane Mayer's revelatory article in the New Yorker, "Covert Operations: The Billionaire Brothers who are Waging War against Obama".

There are many troubling things about Prop 23, and not only that it aims to wind back greenhouse gas regulation enacted in AB-32 - a law that, as the LA Times reports," is designed to cut the state's emission of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the end of this decade" with a significant chunk of these reductions coming through "regulations aimed at fostering alternative fuels and generating electricity from solar, wind and other alternative energy sources."

If the attack on greenhouse gas reduction/clean energy legislation wasn't troubling enough, the worry is that the adoption of Prop 23 will have flow-on effects to other anti-pollution measures that are in place in California. One of these may be the many clean port initiatives that have been implemented in California over the last number of years, including the initiatives to connect cruise and container ships to "shore power" while they are in port, allowing them to turn off their extra-dirty diesel burning engines (a practice called "cold ironing") instead of "idling" in port - as ships do in Red Hook, Brooklyn and throughout the Ports of New York and New Jersey, for example.

The news from Long Beach, California, via this article from Kristopher Hanson in the Press-Telegram, is this -

Policy experts believe Proposition 23, which seeks to suspend AB 32, California's landmark greenhouse gases law, could have significant impacts on recent measures passed to curb port emissions.

Among them are rules approved or pending by the California Air Resources Board to slash emissions from ships, trucks and trains - pollution generators blamed for thousands of cancer and heart disease cases annually in communities surrounding San Pedro Bay.

For example, the Air Resources Board in late 2007 adopted a plan requiring that ships turn off their auxiliary engines, use exhaust filters or plug into electrical outlets while visiting ports.

That measure could be suspended under Prop 23.

The article continues -

As for the health impacts of AB 32's suspension, a nonpartisan report estimates Prop 23 would probably lead to increased hospitalizations and public health costs.

The study was issued by the California Legislative Analyst's Office.

"Suspending some (CARB) measures could halt air quality improvements that would have public health benefits, such as reduced respiratory illnesses," the report notes. "These public health benefits translate into economic benefits, such as increased worker productivity and reduced government and business costs for health care."

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are considered the largest fixed source of emissions in the state, with freight ships alone spewing more than 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide - a greenhouse gas - into local skies in 2008, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Port pollution is also a prime reason why children in communities around the ports suffer from the highest asthma rates in California.

As for potentially life-threatening illness, the ports are again a top contributor.

Numerous epidemiological studies show about 1,200 out of every million people locally develop cancer from air toxins during their lifetime.

However, the federal government lists the "acceptable" cancer rate from air pollution as no higher than 10 in a million.

Another article in the Press-Telegram, by Art Marroquin, conveyed the information that an updated "Clean Air Action Plan" for the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles was "expected to reduce the risk of cancer from port-related diesel emissions by 85 percent over the next decade".

If the previous reporting is right, these potential savings in human life and health costs will also be under threat if Prop 23 is adopted.

This is truly troubling, and if the proponents of the status quo, polluters and protectors of 'oil profits at the expense of human health' that support Prop 23 are successful, it doesn't bode well for the expansion of such pollution mitigating and life saving measures in other port cities outside of California, including ours.

For example, the "Clean Truck Program" that has been started in California was challenged in court recently, but the supporters of the program won (article here) and that program will continue - for now. There's also a similar program being proposed for the Ports of New York and New Jersey, initiated by Rep. Jerry Nadler, with the legislation being written to hopefully avoid such litigation. This was a matter that was extensively discussed in the New York City Council's Committee on Waterfronts' hearing convened in June titled, "Oversight - Clearing the Air: Greening New York City's Working Waterfront". My post here. (A full transcript of the hearing can be found at the NYC Council site, here).

So we have to make sure that Proposition 23 doesn't succeed - doesn't get in the way of these green port initiatives - and make sure that the people who are funding it and the politicians who support it, like California's Assemblyman Dan Logue (story here) and others, know that we know what they're up to.

If Prop 23 is defeated and California can succeed in reducing greenhouse emissions, while also reducing harmful emissions such as the type created by the activities of ports - including sulfur, nitrogen oxides and particulates from dirty diesel burning ships, trucks and trains - then we can all hope for such much needed improvements in our port cities and look forward to the accompanying health benefits to our port-side residents.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

10 Days Left of "PortSide New York" Activities @ the Atlantic Basin on the Red Hook Waterfront.

Smitty, Tall Ships, Pirate Burlesque, Knots, Roots and Ruckus, Talks and Tanker Time ... all at the historic Atlantic Basin on the Red Hook Waterfront in Brooklyn ... and if you'd like more of it, come along and, while you're at it, let the NYC Dept. of Planning know that you'd like more of this on our waterfront. Please read on ....

PortSide New York has been bringing some fantastic programs to the Atlantic Basin over the last six weeks. Since the beginning of July they've brought tall ship sails, ferry tours of the harbor, educational tours on the historic tug "Cornell", youth programs, tours of their flagship vessel, the Mary Whalen, "City of Water Day" celebrations, music, food, the Urban Divers EnviroMedia Mobile, movies, talks, story telling, Brooklyn Greenway walks, and more.

PortSide has only 10 days left until their temporary permit at this location expires, and the way to ensure that PortSide snags a permanent home at the historic Atlantic Basin at the foot of Pioneer Street (as has been assured by the New York City Economic Development Corporation), allowing us all to benefit from the waterfront access that our neighborhood and its residents so crave, is to make sure that this last week or so of activities is as successful as the previous month's activities have been.

This information is from PortSide's Carolina Salguero -

You have less than 2 weeks to make it to PortSide programs in Atlantic Basin. We leave on 8/24.

Please come. The sea breezes are cool; so are the programs.

You will be supporting locals who are performing in many of these last programs.

And... a big turnout will help get you future programs on Pier 11.

We are in lease negotiations, and the Powers That Be need to see that the community wants access to this waterfront, that you want H2O Arts, TankerTime, visiting tall ship, and a permanent PortSide here.

Please see our summary of activities below, please come, and please forward this email.

Full info at


Fri 8/13 - 8:30pm Pioneer St resident Smitty plays wicked steel guitar w/drums + keyboard... on the whining side of Mississippi delta blues.. traces of bluegrass, country, Tejano and Hawaiian... truly hot and really cool. Just $10. cash bar with beer and wine. Buy tickets here or at the door.

Sun 8/15 - 11am local resident Seth Goodwin with captivating show n tell about knots, rope and the history of their uses. FREE reserve here

Sun 8/15 - 5-9pm TankerTime - make the ship deck your own. Bring dinner, drinks, the kids, your dog and enjoy sunset. FREE

Tue 8/17 - 8:30- 8:45pm Pratt Inst Chief Engineer Conrad Milster on the romance, commerce and technology of steamships of the Hudson, a slide show & talk. FREE, reserve here

Wed 8/18 8:30pm - Jalopy Theatre brings their weekly Roots & Ruckus show to the deck of the Mary Whalen with Two Man Gentlemen Band AND Stephanie Nilles and Dayna Kurtz and Feral Foster. $10 includes great music, ziit, lasagna, salads. Cash bar with beer and wine. Buy tickets here or at the door

Thurs 8/19 - Mon 8/23
We make history by hosting the tall ship Gazela, the oldest wooden square-rigger in the USA still sailing, which has tried to come to NYC for years. Daytime tours at the dock: Thurs, Fri, Sun, Mon (no Sat) $5 donation requested. In the evening, 2 shows of pirate cabaret burlesque aboard (t'aint just about sailing pirates, the pirates of Wall Street make the story line) on the deck of the Gazela with soaring masts overhead. $25 for 8 or 10pm show. Tickets here.

You can make history and be named the sponsor of the Gazela visit by bidding on the eBay auction to be named the sponsor. See No corporate sponsors have been found for Gazela's visit, so please help PortSide cover the costs of rental generator and dock fees for the Gazela by bidding now!

Sat 8/22 11am Walking tour, Norwegian American history of Red Hook. FREE reserve here

Event info and fotos at

And, below, there's some more info from the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance about the visit of the "Gazela", the on-line auction PortSide is holding for sponsors, and the activities that this event will bring to Red Hook - including tours and "pirate burlesqe".

..... and while you're at it, if you want more of this sort of stuff on Brooklyn's Red Hook waterfront, make sure you submit your comments regarding what you would like to see on our waterfront to the NYC Dept. of Planning's "Vision 2020 : NYC Comprehensive Waterfront Plan" web site. The comment period is almost over, closing on August 15th, so make sure your voice is heard in this process that hopes to shape the use of our waterfront for decades to come.

Online comment form can be found HERE.

This from the MWA -

Philadelphia's flagship offers education by day, pirate cabaret by night
GazelaFor the first time in a decade Philadelphia's flagship, the barkentine Gazela, will be visiting New York City.

Presented by PortSide New York at Pier 11 in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, from August 19 through 23, Gazela is the oldest, wooden squarerigger in the USA still sailing. She was built in Portugal in 1883 as a fishing vessel.

During the day, Gazela offers ship tours. Visitors will learn about the vessel's history fishing for cod in the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. Evenings will bring pirate burlesque aboard the barkentine.

Why has it been so long since the white sails of the Gazela have been seen in New York Harbor? In part, the answer lies in lack of docking infrastructure. Eric Lorgus, president of the Gazela, said, "Tall ships have found it increasingly hard to visit this place. and I've been trying to crack NYC for years. We really appreciate the efforts PortSide has made on our behalf."

To cover the costs of the ship's visit, PortSide New York has taken the unusual step of instituting an online auction for sponsors. Click here for the auction.

"PortSide was founded to bring the BlueSpace, or the water part of the waterfront, to life in New York City," said Carolina Salguero, director of PortSide NewYork. "We are excited that the Gazela is coming, because tall ships are education and inspiration afloat. We hope her visit opens the door to more visits by more boats-of all types -- at this pier and other piers. We are encouraged by recent government initiatives focusing on the water itself and grateful that the EDC [New York City Economic Development Corp] has made Pier 11 available to us for Gazela's visit."

See you there!