Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Phoenix Beverages and the NYCEDC are LIARS

The mystery of why Phoenix Beverages (a.k.a. Long Feng Trucking) delivery trucks are roaring through the streets of Red Hook and the Columbia Waterfront, instead of using the internal roadways of the container terminal, as per the many assurances made through Phoenix's owner, Greg Brayman, and the agency who brought the beer distribution company to the Red Hook waterfront, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) under the leadership of Venetia Lannon, has been solved.

"Oh," says Phoenix and the EDC, "you mean those trucks?"

Apparently, when Phoenix and the EDC made their presentations to the different neighborhoods that would be feeling the impact of the additional 200+ truck trips a day, and they assured us that the trucks would use the 'internal' roads as much as possible, they weren't actually referring to the delivery trucks .... no, not those trucks ... the ones and the only ones that they had included photos of in their glossy PowerPoint presentations, all nice and shiny with the added assurance that they would soon be converted from dirty diesel to cleaner CNG (if we just gave them 7 years to do so). The only ones that anyone ever spoke of. No they weren't referring to those trucks - the ones that would be making the additional 200 delivery trips a day, the impact of which we were all so concerned about. They were actually ... silly me ... referring to the container trucks that moved the big shipping containers that were being brought in on the container ships - when they were talking about trucks using the internal roadways as much as possible it was to those trucks that they were actually referring.

We'll you could have fooled me - and apparently they did and everyone else in those meetings.

Because, if there's any truth to this latest Daily News article, the EDC, through spokesman David Lombino (someone I've never seen nor heard of before) is saying

"We're working ... to find a solution for lighter delivery trucks that would avoid more residential blocks,"

The article continues to say that,

"City officials promised before Phoenix moved onto the Red Hook waterfront last year that the company's container trucks would use roads inside the port instead of neighborhood streets. But they said that pledge didn't apply to the smaller delivery trucks now flooding Columbia St."

Well that is an outright lie - and if not, then the EDC and Phoenix were parsing their words at those many, many meetings on a Clintonesque level - somewhat like, "That depends on what the meaning of "is" is" - according to the EDC and Phoenix it depends on what the meaning of "truck" is.

Well, all who attended those meetings - unlike Mr. Lombino, who did not - know what the EDC and Phoenix meant (or perhaps were hoping we thought they meant). All the "truck" conversations centered on the delivery trucks. The ones they had the photos of. The ones that are now rocketing down Columbia Street with their doors open, banging and noisily clattering as they go over bumps, shuttling between Pier 11 at the bottom of Pioneer Street, to Pier 7 at the bottom of Atlantic Avenue. Everyone was concerned that they would have an impact on local traffic, congestion and pollution and that was why we were given assurances - promises, in fact - that they would use internal roads, and exit via either Atlantic Ave or Bowne Street which were both close to BQE exits/entrances.

That's what people said - from the EDC - from their Maritime dept. VPs, Venetia Lannon and Andrew Genn, to Executive Vice President Madelyn Wils and even the President of the EDC, Seth Pinsky. They also talked about "balance" and a "new paradigm" that Phoenix would bring. What bullsh*t artists. Meanwhile our kids are sucking in smoke and carcinogenic pollution, without any mitigation, in a neighborhood that has 40% asthma rates and they are dodging more trucks in an already overly-burdened residential ... yes guys, residential neighborhood. That's some great "new paradigm", Ms. Wils.

Greg Brayman, whose family owns Phoenix Beverages, and his father said the same. The younger Mr. Brayman even said that he would be "more or less living on site" so any negative impacts would be addressed thoroughly because they would be borne by him and his family too. Yeah, right!

There have been so many disingenuous statements about this matter - from the claim from the EDC that they and Phoenix would be happy with Pier 7 (and not 11) if they could get it. To the promises about the cleaner CNG trucks .... if only we can wait 7 years. To the whittled down assurances on public access and open space around the Atlantic Basin, the Governors Island Ferry, water taxi - the false claim that they were adhering to "Community Board guidelines", the whole dodgy deal that went down at the Port Authority General Meeting .... can anybody please explain what that was all about? - was it just money, some swap with ASI for rent at Howland Hook or something? I don't know. Chris Ward, the PA's Executive Officer, said it was "just business", but why were Red Hook screwed so badly? .... and why were Phoenix more or less forced to take both Pier 7 and Pier 11 when clearly Pier 7 was more than enough, being much bigger than Pier 11, and all that their taking of Pier 11 ensured was the tying up of that space and the Atlantic Basin for 20 years, and the reoccupation of most of Pier 11 by ASI/American Stevedoring (it's included in their own site map now) .... despite Chris Ward's assurance to his board that American Stevedoring had nothing to gain from this Phoenix deal? What the hell is going on here?

Unfortunately, it's just another chapter in the long history of the residents of Red Hook, and now the Columbia Street Waterfront, being lied to and then becoming 'collateral damage' in the name of "economic development". When it comes to the likes of the EDC and their plans for our waterfront, all they seem to bring is more trucks, more dirty diesel burning ships, 5-storey salt piles, cement plants, unmitigated carcinogenic pollution, underhanded tactics, disingenuous statements and dodgy deals with zero transparency and no regard for the health of our children ... really, NO F'ING REGARD ..... they don't seem to give a damn about any of the residents, or even the small businesses .... oh, sorry, I forgot ....

..... there is that bus parking lot in the Cruise Ship Terminal they're handing over to the "community" on non-cruise days.

Thanks EDC!!! You're the best.

And Phoenix - or Long Feng Trucking - you're right up there, too.

Ed note: Re: Picture above. As a commenter has noted, this may not be a Phoenix/ Long Feng Beverages truck, but it's a beverage truck on Columbia Street jamming up traffic as the B61 tries to get past. I took the photo last year and I've used it on previous posts about the congestion on Columbia Street - about 3 times. As I have used this photo many times, I thought it to be a fair illustration of what we're dealing with. I had no intention to mislead the readers of this blog, and I hoped regular readers would have seen that it was a reuse of an older photo. I have, however, witnessed first hand, as many have, the chaos that Phoenix's trucks are creating on Columbia Street. The photo at the top of this post is a Phoenix Beverages truck that I snapped last week as it raced in front of me from Bowne Street to Atlantic Ave., via Columbia Street, with its doors wide open, rattling through the streets.


  1. Dear Adam,
    I would do my best to get in touch with the Hon.Jerrold Nadler,he's the one that has been pushing extremely hard for that waterfront area.Maybe he can help or maybe not.

  2. Adam thanks for reporting on this...It's like we're the BP spill site for NYC. We all want our creature comforts, but there must be better balance!

  3. The BP spill site for NYC!? You can really stop being dramatic, it will not help the cause. The area is extremely congested. I have seen many of the trucks taking the BQE instead of all local roads. And the picture of the white truck is not even Phoenix. Let's look at what the agreement with Phoenix really is and hold them to what they are legally bound to, and not stir up crap that will discredit the Phoenix opposition. Help them get the support to drive behind the piers and not on the roads, and get additional funding for CNG, as I am to understand we gave them 7 years. There must be money out there to subsidize that much change. Give them no excuse before we cry foul.

  4. adam,
    thanks for writing this. i too have seen the trucks barrelling down the residential street. please keep us posted on what we residents can do.
    t :)

  5. BP spill site.... wow.

  6. this thing with phoenix is only going to get more and more out of hand because this is what thy do is lie to all of you just to get in. now that they got thair foot in the door you will see what phoenix can do to red hook. NOTHING GOOD.

  7. The reason that Phoenix has pier 11 is to pay lower wages to there employees. That's why there operation has two sites. At pier 7 they have to pay union wages but at pier 11 they pay minimum wage. They are also getting some tax breaks by hiring ex cons and felons.

  8. Sense Phoenix Beverage made the move to Redhook, alot of things have changed. Mainly on how they treat there employees. The trucks are loaded to the max without reguards of the the driver and helpers safty. The warehouse workers are forced to pick a certain amount of cases for loads therefore building large and unsafe pallets. The Company is all about saving money and not the safty of its workers. The company does not respect the senor workers who put in long hard years. The company assigns routes to workers that would take more than eight hours to complete if not they can be terminated. The list goes on.