Friday, July 1, 2011

Who Says Cruise Ships are Bringing No Economic Benefit To Red Hook?

There was a New York Times article (here), published this week, covering the "Philly-Pinoy", a restaurant that opened on Pioneer Street over a year ago that is prospering by serving Filipino delicacies to home-sick cruise ship workers (many who are Filipino), who spend 10 months of the year on the ships, away from home, and craving some authentic home-style food.

It was an interesting enough story that not only educated the reader about the various exotic dishes that are part of Filipino cuisine, but also opened a small window into the lives of some of these ship workers who spend most of their year on the ships, only getting a couple of hours "off ship" on the days when the ships are in port, working hard and sending their hard earned money back to families - spouses, children, etc. - in their home countries, often not seeing them for a year at a time.

The story also noted that, despite this particular restaurant's success due to the patronage of the cruise ships workers, Red Hook was not getting much resultant economic benefit from the visiting cruise ships that have been calling this neighborhood home since 2006.

The NY Times article states -

"Last year, some 120,000 passengers passed through the terminal, spending roughly $30 million on souvenirs, meals and hotels in New York, according to city officials.

But only a small fraction of that money was spent in Red Hook. Most tourists spend their time, and money, in Manhattan or in Brooklyn’s more upscale areas."

Well, that's not much of a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention here in Red Hook, and studies in other cities seem to question the "economic benefit" that cruise ships bring, particularly to the neighborhoods in which they berth.

Take a look at this article from the "Vancouver Sun" regarding the costs v.s benefits of visiting cruise ships in Victoria, Canada -

"Environmental, social costs of cruise ship industry outweigh benefits, study for port neighbours says"

Here are some excerpts -

Annual economic benefits from the cruise industry reach $24 million at most, while costs are at least $28 million and could go up $33 million, the study says.

For the most part, economic benefits go to the business community and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, while costs are born by residents and government.

Benefits stem from money spent by passengers, crew and cruise lines in Greater Victoria. They include everything from souvenir shopping, tours and attractions to wastewater collection and ship repair by local companies.

Costs include human health impacts from ship emissions, as well as traffic noise, wear on road infrastructure, public subsidies, marine effluents and lower property values.

“We have been far too long gulled by assertions of numbers that simply do not add up. Benefits are often grossly overstated and [there is] seldom any consideration of the costs"

Recently, with the long awaited deal being done to bring "shore power" to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (a deal that will ultimately allow the ships to turn off their idling extra-dirty diesel burning engines, plug in to the city's power grid, and remove dangerous carcinogenic and asthma inducing substances from our neighborhood's air) there has been a little more coverage of the "costs" of cruise ship pollution. (In the last 5 years The New York Times has not done a single story on the broader issue of port pollution - from idling container ships, trucks and port equipment - its impact and cost to New York residents).

In testimony to the Pubic Service Commission, the Port Authority's Chris Ward stated that plugging-in cruise ships to shore power at the Brooklyn terminal will save Brooklyn residents an estimated $9 Million in monetized health costs - yearly.

That's some serious cost we're currently carrying - in asthma, heart disease, cancer, premature mortality and more. The EPA states that these costs are being carried disproportionately by our most vulnerable - our children, the elderly, people with lung disease, those who exercise outside, and low-income and minority communities located near ports

Then there are the other costs too, such as those created by the use of the traffic cops who are stationed around the neighborhood to direct traffic, the congestion, the wear and tear on the roads, etc. We're all paying for these through our taxes - while Carnival, which operates the cruise ships, is currently paying 1.1% in taxes (story here).

So let's get real about the cruise ships' economic benefit to Red Hook - directly. There are some who are benefiting, for sure, like the "Philly-Pinoy", the "Ling Gee" Chinese Restaurant on Van Brunt (I wrote about that in October 2009, here), "99c Dreams" on Lorraine Street, and I have heard that a few of the officers from the cruise ships drop into the various restaurants and cafes on Van Brunt Street.

But, let's be honest, we've yet to see much benefit from these sea-going behemoth's presence on our waterfront.

Even the terminal itself, surrounded by an asphalt, barren wasteland of a parking lot, gives very little back to the community that gave up meaningful waterfront access and the prospect of more "people friendly" uses for the building of the $56 Million terminal that was supposed to bring greater economic benefit of the city.

The NYCEDC who brought the cruise terminal to our neighborhood (and, more recently, the tourist helicopters) has yet to make good on "improvements" to the terminal site - through better access or community uses - nor has it been pushing forward on the promised new uses around the terminal, such as the creation of a permanent home for PortSide New York at the unique and historic Atlantic Basin, nor the promised creation of water-borne transportation (hello East River Ferry!), nor even the Governors Island Ferry that was a part of the deal "sweetener" when the EDC (controversially) gave Pier 11 to Phoenix Beverages (aka Long Feng Trucking), even though they already had a deal for Pier 7, defying the will of the community, our 197a Plan and Community Board 6 recommendations. Frustrating Side Note: The Pier 11 shed is currently used by Phoenix for recycling and garbage.

The point is, there is supposed to be "balance" when it comes to planning for our waterfront. When economic development is cited as the reason for the introduction or expansion of activities on our waterfront, these uses should not come at the expense of our residents - particularly the health of our most vulnerable, as has been the case with the cruise ships.

On a lighter note - it seems like one of Red Hook's newest establishments, "Paris Burlesque", is hoping to benefit from a little patronage from the visiting cruise ship workers once it opens later this month. You see, as I was wandering down to have a look at the ship idling at the end of my family's residential street this morning, I spotted a car pull up to a few men - workers from the ship, I'm pretty sure - who were exiting the Cruise Terminal pedestrian gate at the bottom of Pioneer Street.

Out of the car jumped three ladies, dressed in black, night-club attire (not risque, just a little dressy for the - as the NY Times called it - "scruffy" setting), with flyers, etc. in hand, who eagerly passed out brochures (pic below) to the men who were making their way up Pioneer Street - perhaps to Philly-Pinoy. Just as quickly, the women hopped back into the car and sped off - maybe hoping to intercept more prospective patrons up the street (I guess they were in a rush because 2 hours off the ship offers a pretty short opportunity for getting this information to these workers).

So, good for you "Philly-Pinoy", "Ling Gee", "99c Dreams", "Paris Burlesque", and the other businesses that are benefiting from the patronage of workers from the visiting cruise ships. It's nice that a few of our local businesses are seeing an opportunity here and are taking advantage of it.

But, wouldn't it be good to see a little more benefit to the neighborhood, our businesses and residents - and a lot less costs?

Left to Right (if you look closely - click on image to enlarge): Statue of Liberty, Caribbean Princess at BCT, Atlantic Basin "Blue Space", Container Terminal cranes with NY skyline, Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, Brooklyn Bridge, Bulkhead - Future Home of PortSide New York, Pier 11 Shed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Everybody's* Red Hook Sidewalk Sale - Sunday July 19th, 11am - 4pm

RHED (Red Hook Economic Development), the organization that works with local storekeepers, businesses and residents, that has, among other things, brought Van Brunt Street new and additional trash cans, tree plantings (lots of them! - soon with additional Red Hook designed and manufactured tree guards), created events calendars (look out for the 2011 Summer Calendar), organized neighborhood clean ups (Clean Me 1 and 2), and brought last years' successful "Buy / Sell" neighborhood wide sidewalk sale, is doing it again.

Anyone can get involved - here's the info from RHED

As RHED says, this is everybody's* sidewalk sale - *by and for businesses, families, nonprofits, and neighbors. So if you're in the neighborhood on Sunday, get involved.

If your visiting Red Hook on Sunday - perhaps planning on going to "Showboat Shazzam" at the Waterfront Museum barge - come along and see what's on sale. Yes, the barge is back in Red Hook this Sunday and next (two shows, 1pm and 4pm), back at its permanent home pier on Conover Street, right next to the Fairway overflow parking lot, after relocating to the Riverdale Festival in the Bronx this last weekend.

Note: Between July 14th and July 26th the barge will temporarily relocate to Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park, at the bottom of Atlantic Avenue, and "Showboat Shazzam" will take place on the barge at that location on July 24th.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why We Love Red Hook - Upcoming Events

In this blog, I have focused a lot on the challenges that Red Hook has faced in the past, and is continuing to face - from cruise ship and container ship pollution, poor planning - both with development and transportation - continuing and increasing congestion and pollution from trucks, and, the most recent affront to our neighborhood's quality of life (sadly, courtesy of the New York City Economic Development Corporation ... again!), tourist helicopter noise. There will be more on all of these subjects in subsequent posts - oh, you bet there will! - but I also wanted to remind myself, and anyone reading this blog, why this place - Red Hook - is so worth fighting for.

In this post I'd like to just touch on a few unique Red Hook institutions that enrich our community and give a lot of joy to our residents and many who come to our waterfront neighborhood to enjoy themselves. They have programs throughout the summer that I'm sure will draw many patrons - both from Red Hook and the city beyond.

- 2011 Shows: June 5th, 19th, 26th and July 24th.

The first time I came to Red Hook, over a decade ago, before moving here (which my family and I did shortly afterwards), I came to take my family to see "CIRCUSundays", the amazing mini-Circus that David Sharps has been hosting on the Lehigh Valley No. 79, a historic barge that he literally dragged out of the mud years before and lovingly restored and reincarnated as the "Waterfront Museum".

That wonderful program continues this year in its 15th season under its recently updated name, "Showboat Shazzam", and, in that tradition, the shows (two daily - 1pm and 4pm) will be held on the barge on three Sundays in June (5th, 19th, 26th) in Red Hook at the Waterfront Museum's permanent home pier on Conover Street (right next to the Fairway overflow parking lot). Additionally, in an effort to expose this wonderful experience to even more New Yorkers, between July 14th and July 26th the barge will temporarily relocate to Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park, at the bottom of Atlantic Avenue, and "Showboat Shazzam" will take place on the barge at that location on July 24th.

Please check out the "Showboat Shazzam" schedule and buy tickets here.

The barge will also be visiting other city neighborhoods throughout the summer including Riverdale and Hudson River Park. Check the Waterfront Museum site for details.

This unique Red Hook experience is not to be missed - for young and old alike!

- Summer and Fall Series - First Event, Sat June 25th - "SOLAR FEST 2011"

The Urban Divers and their Director, Ludger Balan, have created a mobile museum they call the "Enviromedia Mobile". Essentially this is a huge trailer - a mobile museum on wheels - that is parked at the Erie Basin Waterfront Park (part of the IKEA site) and from there they bring a series of exciting children and families programs.

You may have caught Ludger's educational events - sometimes about falconry, the ecology of our estuaries - including New York Harbor - and other environmental issues. The Urban Divers' mission is to provide "quality and innovative public engagement programs in Environmental Literacy and Maritime Cultural Enrichment". Ludger and his organization are passionate advocates for these causes, and the Summer and Fall events at the Enviromedia Museum will expand on these themes and - most excitingly - incorporate music in events including the "Solar Fest 2011" (Saturday, June 25th), a "Pirate Festival" (Saturday, July 30th), and "Sunset Concert and Movies" (Saturday August 20th) and as well as tours of the museum, "Truck Farm" and much, much more.

From the Urban Divers' blog (here), the events will include -

Environmental Education, Conservation Support, Community Stewardship, Youth Development , Cultural Enrichment & Maritime

Here is a flier with all the upcoming events (click to enlarge). You can get there via the IKEA Water Taxi. Check out some of the great things coming to our waterfront!


Carolina Salguero's excellent organization, PortSide New York, has been creating programs on the Red Hook waterfront for many years. Activities mostly center on PortSide's ship, the Mary A. Whalen, a re-purposed oil tanker, on which PortSide has held a wide variety of events - from "Tanker Opera", to the "Roots and Ruckus" festival (in collaboration with the Jalopy Theatre), tours, waterfront education, community outreach and other cultural activities. PortSide also hosted the excellent "Dutch Flat Bottomed Boats" event at the Atlantic Basin, and co-ordinated events over the last year or so that brought tall ships such as the "Gazella", "Clipper City", and historic tug "Pegasus", that drew hundreds to Red Hook's waterfront and gave us all a first hand glimpse of the wonderful waterfront that is mostly inaccessible to our residents.

PortSide's future permanent home in the Atlantic Basin, the unique and historic harbor nestled between Red Hook's residential blocks and the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, their creation of a "cultural center" and headquarters in a part of the adjacent Pier 11 shed (the major part is used by Phoenix Beverages for garbage and recycling), and use of 600 feet of water frontage is going to give them an opportunity to hold more of these events and share the waterfront with more of our neighborhood's and city's residents.

Here's what PortSide says -

Our plans for Atlantic Basin include direct service to the working waterfront; visiting vessels (from tugs to tall ships); more H2O arts, cultural tourism products and harbor advocacy; youth programs, a marine career center; and a maritime interpretive center—programs for diverse economic groups and individuals.

In 2011, PortSide plans for this space, and our vision in general, were affirmed in New York City’s new comprehensive waterfront plan, Vision 2020.

I don't have any specifics on PortSide's planned activities over the Summer, but check their web site, here, for information and below is a snippet from their most recent email news letter (subscribe via Constant Contact here).

In case you missed our BIG NEWS from May, the Mary A. Whalen was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. This is very exciting because eligibility increases funding opportunities and visibility for the ship, for PortSide and for Red Hook

porthole in Captain's cabin headThis summer PortSide can employ five youth from Brooklyn public housing to complete the restoration of the Captain's cabin through NYC's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Below, see how to help us offer this program or go straight to the fundraiser page here. To learn more about the restoration work click here.

PortSide/Jalopy "Roots and Ruckus" event on the Mary A. Whalen at the Atlantic Basin


The Kentler International Drawing Space, has been open in Red Hook since 1990. It's director, Florence Neal, has created a focus for artists in Red Hook, as well as reaching out to the community through educational events and programs such as K.I.D.S. Art Education.

From the Kentler site -

The gallery sponsors monthly and bi-monthly exhibitions featuring solo, group shows and installations by some of New York's most exciting emerging and under-recognized artists. Shows drawn from the international community have given traveling artists an opportunity to visit America and bring their work to a New York audience. The gallery is open to the public Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 - 5pm.

Kentler is holding a K.I.D.S. event on Saturday, June 4th, at Valentino Pier as part of the "Red Hook Fest" waterfront arts festival. This festival is presented by "Dance Theatre Etcetera", another excellent Red Hook organization.

This from their email -

K.I.D.S. Art Education



FREE Saturday Art Workshops for Families

at Valentino Pier

as part of

Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival

aturday, June 4

1:15 - 2:45pm

Drop-ins are welcome.

Kentler International Drawing Space and K.I.D.S. Art Education invite children and their adults to discover new ways of drawing through the art of knot making (sailor knots! Boat mooring knots! Silly invent-your-own knots!). Teaching artist MEGHAN KEANE invites participants to join her in making a giant growing 3D drawing out of knots and other ways of connecting recycled materials together! Materials will include cut plastic bags and other linear delights.

Designed for ages 4 & up
with their care givers
(no drop offs)

For more information about K.I.D.S. Art Education:

K.I.D.S. Art Ed blog


353 Van Brunt Street /(Red Hook) Brooklyn, NY 11231/ 718.875.2098 /

There are many other organizations and institutions I could mention - many other reasons to love Red Hook - from the excellent and unique stores, businesses, bars and venues (hello Sunny's!), restaurants, Latin American food vendors, Valentino Pier (minus helicopters), Coffee Park (even without our much-missed gardener, John), incredible neighbors, sense of community and so much more, but I actually have a whole other life outside of blogging ... you know, being a dad, husband, playing and teaching music, and all of that. So, that will have to do for now (my son needs to be fed!). I hope this short list gives you some reason to feel good about living in, or even visiting Red Hook.

As we battle the things that attack our quality of life in Red Hook and beyond, it's good to know that these wonderful experiences are right here - in our neighborhood - on our waterfront and within our community.

So get out there .... and enjoy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

STOP THE CHOP : Rally to End Tourist Helicopter Noise in Brooklyn - Sunday, 1pm. Pier 6

(Image from Word On Columbia Street blog)

I tweeted about this event earlier (follow me on Twitter here). Sometimes I don't get a chance to write posts on this blog on issues relating to the neighborhood in a timely manner, but if it's a matter of importance, I will at least try to tweet. See the sidebar of this blog for my Twitter feed.

Check my previous post and this comprehensive story (here) from the South Brooklyn Post for more details regarding the helicopter issue.

The Word On Columbia Street blog has the details of the rally - here they are.

Join State Senator Squadron, Congressman Nadler, Congresswoman Velazquez, State Senator Montgomery, Assemblywoman Millman, Councilmember Levin and Councilmember Lander

at a

Rally to End Tourist Helicopter Noise in Brooklyn

Sunday, May 15 - 1:00PM

Pier 6 Brooklyn Bridge Park

(at the end of Atlantic Avenue)

Join your neighbors, community leaders and local elected officials to rally to end all tourist helicopter flights from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. Brooklynites from DUMBO to Red Hook have put up with this nuisance for too long!

Rain or Shine!

Questions? - please contact

Senator Squadron's Office

718-875-1517 or

Follow the issue further at "Redhook Noisecopters" Facebook page - here


Monday, May 9, 2011

More Work To Be Done - Container Ships, Helicopters and Diesel Generators

The excellent news of last month, concerning the deal to bring shore power to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, has made many in our community, including me, feel like we've actually gotten something done here in Red Hook. This success could also make many of us feel like we can 'take a breather' from the work of trying to address challenges in our neighborhood - and to our residents - from pollution and other threats to our quality of life.

However, there is still more work to be done.

Concerning the shore power deal, obviously this is a great result, and the fact that this 5 year deal will allow the plan at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to move forward is a good thing. Especially while the process to bring about a long term solution - i.e. the case requesting the creation of a permanent "shore power tariff" - is still weaving its circuitous and protracted way through the Public Service Commission and elsewhere - perhaps to be nudged along by the NYC Council Resolution (that still hasn't had a hearing) at the City's Committee on Waterfronts.

But, as I've said all along, and as I was quoted (below) in the article (here) from the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's newsletter, WaterWire, this Brooklyn shore power plan should just be a "first step".

"The use of shore power in Brooklyn should set the example for the rest of our city's ports where similar 'green' practices could and should be implemented, with resultant health benefits for all New Yorkers."

"So, bravo Brooklyn, and let's keep pushing towards a healthier, cleaner and greener future - for our ports, for our city, and for all of our residents."

So while we're all feeling good about the Cruise Terminal plan, unfortunately, in the foreseeable future, ships will still be idling their extra-dirty diesel engines at the end of our residential streets.

I'm referring to container ships, such as the ones that visit the Brooklyn Container Terminal. As the Caribbean Princess pulled out of its berth yesterday (having spent Mothers Day idling at the end of my family's street) I thought - Wow, if all goes to plan, this time next year the Princess and the Queen Mary 2 will have kicked their smoking and idling habits.


However, I woke this morning to see the belching smokestacks of the ship, Grande Marocco (a "roll on roll off" container ship docked at the Brooklyn Container Terminal which has an unimpressive "E" efficiency rating on - here). There it was, idling, carcinogenic and asthma inducing smoke belching out of its funnels - constantly - as was going to be the case for its entire stay in our neighborhood (TUESDAY UPDATE: The Grande Marocco is in its second day of constantly idling on our waterfront - 24 hours and counting!). The sad fact is, these ships burn the same dirty diesel (bunker fuel) that the cruise ships do while they're idling in port, and there should be a plan to make sure that their emissions aren't harming our residents unnecessarily either.

As I've previously said, this is the unfortunate reality for ALL ships visiting the ports of New York and New Jersey. They're all idling. They're all burning extra-dirty diesel and blowing harmful substances into our air, (equivalent to the emissions of 7.8 Million cars, according to the Environmental Defense Fund), and whether it's Brooklyn, Staten Island or Manhattan in NYC, or Elizabeth, Newark or Bayonne in New Jersey, we all share the same air. Actually, the fouled air from the New Jersey ports (the largest in our region) generally blows towards New York City - especially Brooklyn and Staten Island - due to prevailing winds. So shouldn't there be a comprehensive plan to get shore power and similar emissions eliminating and life saving practices established throughout our area's ports, with all types of ships - cruise and container?

This has been the case in California and elsewhere on the West Coast, where shore power has been used for many years at multiple ports, with all types of ships. In communities such as Long Beach and Los Angeles, where the two largest ports in the country abut dense residential populations, the strategy implemented over the last decade has been to make their ports as clean as possible. Not just the through the use of cleaner diesel, but by the widespread use of shore power - allowing the ships to "cold iron" - i.e. turn off their engines, thereby eliminating, not just reducing, the harmful substances that compromise the health of the ports' neighbors and nearby residents. In LA there has also been a successful and comprehensive "clean truck program" (something that is sorely needed here in New York, though a similar but less robust plan, yet to be instigated, is being championed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler and the Coalition for Healthy Ports). In these ways, the burden of the operation of that city's ports is being taken off their residents - especially the many who are already vulnerable.

This should also be the case in ports of New York and New Jersey, the third largest in the country.

The great thing about using shore power, is that it not only eliminates the harmful substances that I have written about extensively in this blog - SOx, NOx and Particulates - substances that are (as noted by the EPA and others) carcinogens, asthma inducing, contribute to heart and lung disease and to premature mortality - even premature birth and low birth weight outcomes. But the use of shore power also significantly reduces CO2 and other greenhouse gases and lessens our reliance on oil - yes, that "foreign oil" we're all trying to wean ourselves off. Actually, the ships will be buying their electricity from us - from domestic sources - from our City's utilities - rather than giving their money to oil companies. These are all good things, right? Can anyone say, "Win, Win, Win"?

It's true, there are regulations coming in the next number of years that will compel all ocean going ships to use cleaner fuel while in North American waters, including in our harbors and ports, and that will bring great improvements to our nation's air quality and health benefits to many Americans. But, where there is port activity that abuts dense residential populations - as is the case in Red Hook and many of our city's and region's (aka NJ) ports - surely the use of the most clean practice should be the goal. Why should we settle for the reduction of the pollution and the resultant environmental and health burden on our residents, when its elimination is possible - as is the case when ships use shore power while in port? There's no good reason why we should. Not when there are so many benefits, and especially when we're talking about real people - often the most vulnerable - with real lives whose health is, and will continue to be, compromised by the continuation and acceptance of the status quo.

So, we need to work toward this goal - the goal of creating the cleanest port operations possible in our residential neighborhoods. We need to make our representatives aware of our concerns about the matter of the container ships, too (as well as the other cruise ships in Manhattan and New Jersey). And, the press needs to play its part in getting the information out to the wider public and to expose the facts.

On the latter point - about the press - I'm not holding my breath. The most disappointing thing about the fight for the cruise ship shore power plan was that the press coverage that was needed to push the issue forward and to help get the information out was so lame - absent for a great part. When the facts were coming out, through statements made by such "fringe elements" as the EPA and the Port Authority themselves, the press never quoted them nor helped get the information out - information that would have informed the public and precipitated the serious attention and response that was required. There was nothing on the subject from the New York Times or even the Brooklyn newspapers for over a year. In fact, a journalist from the Brooklyn Paper told me that a story was written on the shore power plan and the health burden that was being carried by our residents as a result of the ship pollution - including statements from the Port Authority about the shore power plan potentially saving Brooklyn residents $9 Million per year in health costs - but, apparently, the Brooklyn Papers' editor decided not to publish the story. I sent the editor,"Gersh", a couple of emails about that. His response was that he couldn't comment on the decision not to publish it - he referred me to a PR company. I guess he had another "my bike was stolen" story to fit in.

Considering this history of the press' dereliction of duty, it seems like we can't count on them to do the job. So it's up to us. OK?

Which brings me back to my broader point.

It's also up to us to make sure that we, the residents of Red Hook, etc., don't continue to have stuff shoved into our neighborhood that wouldn't be accepted anywhere else. Development or activities that are meant to bring broader economic benefit should not happen at the expense of our quality of life, result in added pollution, serious congestion or anything else.

So - Helicopters!

What's the story? It seems like there are rules in place that are meant to limit their flying - one after another after another - over our neighborhood. But it seems as though the helicopter operators aren't exactly obeying those rules. Apparently, it's our old friends at the NYCEDC who have created this mess by redirecting helicopters over Red Hook, rather than over the West Side or Brooklyn Heights. It's the EDC that is now dealing with this mess. The EDC is the agency that brought to our neighborhood: the cruise terminal, without shore power, aesthetic considerations or public access; Phoenix Beverages - without pollution mitigation to address the expanded operations of the container port and snapping up the prime location of Pier 11 ... for garbage and recycling; the agency that wants to create a tug boat parking lot in the Atlantic Basin, without requiring the use of cleaner fuel or other pollution mitigating practices.

On a positive note, the EDC Maritime Department did negotiate the deal to make the shore power plan happen.

There is a Facebook group called Redhook Noisecopters (here) that has been addressing this helicopter menace.

Here's their advice -

Please call Patricia Ornst, director of Aviation at the EDC. This is the person responsible for re routing Tourist helicopters over Red Hook Brooklyn 212-312-4226 or you can
email her at

They advise residents to direct complaints to 311 and to our representatives as well.

Red Hook's City Rep. is Councilmember Sarah Gonzalez. Her details are here.
Brad Lander represents the Columbia Waterfront District. His details are here.

Another thing - the Christie's Auction House diesel generator.

The local blog, Fifty Car Pileup, has noted in a post (here) that Christie's, the art auction house that stores its wares in the converted warehouse on Imlay Street, is illegally running a diesel generator, constantly, outside of their premises. First, it's ironic that Christie's, who have to carefully maintain the climate and air quality inside their art storage facility, don't seem to give a hoot about the deterioration of air quality that their generator is creating outside. Second, Christie's are new to the neighborhood - do they have to be such inconsiderate neighbors? Third, why do they need to use such a generator - why can't they get their power from the grid?

Brownstoner has taken up this story and will hopefully deliver this story to a wider audience - and get some action to address this matter. Fifty Car Pile Up also has some video footage of the generator, some facts about its fuel consumption (It is stated that the generator uses "39.3 gallons of diesel fuel an if 40 semi trucks were constantly idling on our block"), and there are some further statements about the harmful effects of diesel emissions - ones of which readers of this blog should be well aware.

Fifty Car Pileup asks -

Why is Christie's choosing to endanger the health of folks in Red Hook instead of purchasing power from the grid?

Sign our online petition
Tweet about @ChristiesInc irresponsible generator
Email Christie's PR department

- Fifty Car Pileup has an update today, here - with a response from Christies stating they intend to use the generator only for "four or five months". That's 24/7 ..... constantly idling ... wow!

Fifty Car pileup rightly states,

"I'm baffled why they chose to begin storing art at this facility when it lacked sufficient electrical power from Con Ed. Before this facility came into use last year, Christie's was utilizing other locations for art storage. The fact is, Christie's choice to use a generator to warehouse art in Red Hook is detrimental to the health of our community."

Lastly, I believe that The Word On Columbia Street blog is closing shop. I'll be sad to see it and its publishers go. This blog has been covering the Columbia Waterfront and Red Hook for years and has not only operated as a publication supporting community events and local enterprises, it has played an important and invaluable role in raising awareness of many community issues - especially ones relating to pollution and quality of life, including the Cruise Ship shore power plan, the container ship issue, Phoenix's trucks, the uses of the Atlantic Basin, the ASI salt pile, the BQE trench, the Brooklyn Greenway and more - so I must commend them on their excellent and important efforts.

I wish Chris and his family all the best in their travels and adventures - it's been great knowing you and much success in whatever you do. Hope to see you back here in the not too distant future.

For the rest of us .... there's more work to be done.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Deal For Shore Power at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal ..... is DONE!

The great news came today, via a press release from Mayor Bloomberg (here), and articles in the New York Times and South Brooklyn Post, that a deal that will allow cruise ships visiting the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook to plug in to shore power is done.

The deal between the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the New York Power Authority creates a rate of supply for the electricity that the ships will use for their on-board power while in port, instead of idling their extra-dirty diesel engines, as they currently do. This electricity rate will be set for 5 years, and, presumably, by that time, the slow moving Public Service Commission will have created a permanent power rate for the ships and this pollution mitigating practice can continue.

The deal for the rate of electricity supply was the missing piece in the multi-part plan to make the use of shore power in Brooklyn a reality. The Port Authority, aided by an EPA Diesel Emission Reduction grant, had committed funds for the building of the appropriate infrastructure, the cruise operators, Carnival, had committed to retrofitting their ships to accept shore power, and basically everyone else was "on board". The sticking point was the rate of electricity supply to the ships, and a case in the Public Service Commission requesting the creation of a permanent "shore power tariff" had been stuck in some sort of limbo for over two years. So, even though the PSC case is still not resolved, this 5 year deal allows for the shore power plan to finally ... and thankfully ... move forward.

The announcement today was the result of the work of many, including the previously mentioned NYCEDC, the Port Authority, Carnival, the EPA, the NY Power Authority, the Mayor and City of New York and many of our representatives in government.

But it should be remembered that it was the community that forced this issue into the public realm and onto the politicians' agenda. It was our residents who pushed for this improvement to their quality of life. We were acting in response to our concern about the negative affects of these dangerous yet avoidable substances, contained in the smokestack emissions of the ships, on the health of our residents, our neighbors - particularly to our most vulnerable - children, the elderly, minorities and low-income populations, people with lung disease and asthma.

There was a lot of good will shown in today's announcement, and a lot of people were speaking and writing passionately about the benefits this plan will bring to our neighborhood and beyond, and much congratulation was given to these different agencies for the the great work they have done in making this happen.

But 6 years ago, when the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal opened, I'm sorry to say, there was not a single mention or word of acknowledgement from anyone - politicians, government agencies, Borough Presidents, anyone - about the negative health effects that the newly visiting ships would be bringing to our portside neighborhoods. There was not a single line in the New York Times nor the Brooklyn Papers about the dangers of port pollution - from ships or other sources. Nothing about the tons of SOx, NOx and Particulate Matter that would soon be spewing into our neighborhoods' air and into our residents' lungs. When I wrote my first letter to the Mayor in 2005, asking whether the ships that would soon be calling my young family's neighborhood home would be "cold ironing" - i.e. using shore power instead of idling their dirty diesel engines, as I had read was being done in many ports on the West Coast and elsewhere in the world - the response from the City was, "No" - this pollution mitigating and life saving technology was not being considered for Red Hook.

After a number years of just talking about "cold ironing", talking to my neighbors, writing emails to friends and politicians, going to Community Board and other meetings and talking about this stuff, etc. there was still little discussion about cleaning up the pollution from the ships - at least from anyone who had any power to do something about it. Finally, in 2009, after the expansion of the operations of the Container Terminal and after the concern in our neighborhood about port related pollution was starting to register, the Port Authority came to our neighborhood and said they were committing to establishing shore power infrastructure at the Cruise Terminal. It was good news - but the representative from the Port Authority told me he had only recently, "in the last year or so", heard about "cold ironing". Really? The Port Authority had heard about "shore power" 4 years after I had first read about it, 9 years after the first US cruise ship cold ironing port in Juneau, Alaska, and decades after the Navy had been using the practice? That was worrying.

It was around this time that I started writing this blog in an effort to share some of the information I was discovering about this issue. It was also an attempt to push the case for shore power at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and elsewhere on our waterfront. But this was just one little blog, and to really get the shore power plan to happen there needed to be political will, and pressure from the major press. There was very little forthcoming. The Brooklyn Papers wrote a piece here and there, the the NY Times did a piece, but the coverage was pretty thin. It was frustrating.

However, there were more and more people and organizations in the community becoming aware of this matter - the Red Hook Civic Association, Red Hook Economic Development, Red Hook Initiative, COWNA (including the indefatigueable Diana Schneider - an early advocate for this cause. Thanks Diana!) , Community Board 6, and more - and they were making their concerns known, and that's when things started to happen. Armed with facts and statements made to the Public Service Commission from the EPA (see the sidebar of this blog) and elsewhere regarding the health impacts these emissions were having - cancer, asthma, heart and lung disease and more - the community started to drag some politicians into fighting this fight on our behalf. The newly elected Councilmember Brad Lander was a standout, taking this issue on as one of his highest priorities. The same was the case for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and soon State Senators Daniel Squadron and Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblywoman Joan Millman as well as Councilmembers Sara Gonzalez and Steven Levin were on board.

Despite further testimony from the Port Authority supporting the creation of a shore power rate, citing $9 million per year in health care savings to Brooklyn residents resulting from a switch to shore power, the case at the PSC was still stuck in the mud, but these representatives started letting them and the City know that that it wasn't good enough.

Despite the real seriousness of "port pollution" issues, and the situation in Red Hook, coverage in the New York media was still non-existent (negligent, in my opinion), with not a single story written in over a year. However, in November, 2010, the newly launched South Brooklyn Post took up the matter and did an excellent story (here) on the stalled plan to bring shore power to Brooklyn and about this blog's coverage of the issue.

Earlier this year, on a cold morning in January, many of these previously mentioned representatives staged a protest rally at the cruise terminal hoping to force the negotiations forward and to get a resolution to the impasse that was stalling this plan. Again, the South Brooklyn Post covered the story, and thankfully - due to the high profile political presence - a lot of other media outlets covered the rally as well (my post here).

It seemed to help.

The City's Committee on Waterfronts scheduled a hearing on shore power, proposing a resolution supporting the creation of a shore power tariff and urging the PSC to create it, urgently. The hearing was postponed (twice) but the message was clear. A long term plan is needed, and this shore power plan needs to go forward - now.

It was clear for a while that the NYCEDC, who had built the terminal, and the NY Power Authority were working towards a deal to make the shore power plan happen - regardless of the outcome or glacial pace of the PSC case. The pressure from the community, the advocacy of the politicians and, finally, the scrutiny of the press was requiring a solution, even if it was short term.

It seems that Mayor Bloomberg, who had so far kept a low profile on this issue, was also keen to get this done.

Then came the news today.

It was a good day. The Mayor, the representatives, agencies and other parties involved should be congratulated on their efforts in getting this done. Everyone should be feeling good about this.

But, something tells me that if we hadn't "kicked up a fuss", none of this would have happened.

Even though it's 6 years, many tons of unnecessary and harmful pollutants and many blog posts late, ..... this is still good ... no ...

... GREAT news.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Tug Boat Parking Lot" at the Atlantic Basin?

Photo: NY Post

Did you hear the news, recently reported in the New York Post (here), that the City was putting out an RFP (Request For Proposal) for an operator to create a "massive parking lot for tugs" inside the Atlantic Basin on Red Hook's waterfront? For those unfamiliar with where and what the Atlantic Basin is, it's the historic "harbor" that lies behind (inland of) the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. This body of water has been designated as the future home for PortSide New York, who's ship, the Mary A. Whalen, will be moored in the basin permanently. PortSide will also occupy part of the Pier 11 shed (currently used by Phoenix Beverages for recycling and garbage), and have the use of 600 feet of Atlantic Basin water frontage. For anyone who attended any of PortSide's excellent programs held last summer, you know what a great addition their permanent presence in the Atlantic basin will be to our neighborhood, and what a great use of this underused "blue space" this promises to be. The Brooklyn Greenway will also run along the basin, connecting more people to this unique yet underused waterfront location, right at the foot of Red Hook's residential streets.

With these proposed future uses in mind, it was of concern to me that the City and the NYCEDC, who play a large hand in the planning of our waterfront, have put out this RFP without acknowledging the fact that bringing tugboats to the Atlantic Basin - up to 15, as the NY Post article states - will also bring more pollution right into the heart of our neighborhood.

My problem with this plan mostly stems from the fact that the City and EDC have had a history of bringing new activities to our waterfront that impact our neighborhood and its residents with harmful pollution, but never seem to seriously concern themselves with meaningfully mitigating the pollution - that is until the residents discover the negative health impacts they are being subjected to and start to voice their concerns. This was certainly the case with the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, where the visiting ships have been continuously idling while in port, spewing their dangerous fumes into our neighborhood's air for the last 6 years, when they could have been plugging in to shore power and eliminating the negative health impacts they have been needlessly imposing on our community, especially our most vulnerable - kids, the elderly, people with lung disease including asthma, minority and low-income communities, etc.

The City's indifference to the negative health impacts that their plans were having on our residents was also apparent when they facilitated the relocation of Phoenix Beverages to our neighborhood where there was some long term plan (taking over 7 years) to reduce the impact of the emissions from the 200 truck trips that Phoenix was bringing to Red Hook, but there was no acknowledgement that this new business would also be bringing more ships, more emissions, more sulfur, particulates, etc., more resultant negative health impacts to our residents, and nothing was being done to address those impacts.

As with the Cruise Terminal, neither the City nor the Port Authority who operate the terminals were required to do an Environmental Impact Study - because of current land use rules, they can basically do what they like.

This is why I have an issue with the tugs. Tugs currently use dirty diesel similar to the stuff that cruise ships and container ships burn. It's high in sulfur and creates particulates and other dangerous substances that are harmful to human health.

Don't just take my word for it.

"Pollution from the diesel-powered tugboats and other port emission sources has caused negative health effects on the surrounding population, including cancer and respiratory illnesses." (article here)

And this from a recent study - (story here)

"Tugs emit nearly a gram of soot per kilogram of fuel burned — twice as much as any other vessel type, the authors found. The high levels point to their low-quality fuel — a thick, black tar left over from crude oil after the gasoline and kerosene have been removed. Engine age and maintenance also play a role.

Tugboats have a disproportionate impact on air quality because they travel within ports, emitting potentially harmful particles near populous urban areas, according to the authors.

“Tugboats are a huge source of black carbon that may be under-reported or not reported at all in emissions inventories compiled by ports,” said Lack."

These are reasons to be concerned about the introduction of these new sources of pollution into the heart of our neighborhood where residents are already bearing the burden of pollution from other sources in the port and elsewhere.

If the City really wants to bring tugs to the Atlantic Basin, why wouldn't they use the opportunity to set an example for "green" practices, by requiring the use of ultra low sulphur fuel by the tugs that would be using this location - a location that is tucked into a dense residential population? Why couldn't the city put out an RFP for a "hybrid tug" operator using the clean green vessels like those that are being put to use in California and elsewhere (story here). Why wouldn't the city use this opportunity to give substance to some of the environmentally friendly rhetoric about "greening the ports" that emanates from the Mayor's office?

It's certainly the case that over the next 5 years or so, tugs and other vessels will have to use cleaner diesel in US coastal waters, including within our ports, due to regulations coming from the IMO (International Maritime Organization). These new rules are being implemented in response to the real negative health effects that ship pollution is having on our population - both on the coast and inland - including cancers, asthma, heart and lung disease, premature mortality and more.

However, when shipping switches to this new, cleaner fuel, it will reduce - not eliminate - these harmful emissions, so in areas where shipping and dense populations operate in close proximity, as in portside communities such as Red Hook, it's important that port and shipping practices are made as clean as possible. That's been the case in California, where the two largest ports in the country - the Ports of LA and Long Beach - abut dense populations, and as a result the operation of those ports involve the cleanest possible practices - cold ironing (the use of shore power), clean electric cranes and port machinery, a robust clean truck program and more. In California, when the agencies and representatives in government, spurred on by activism in the community, started to address the issue of port pollution in the early 2000s, they decided that where dense populations were impacted by the ports' close proximity, the response must be as robust as possible. Nearly a decade later, those ports and their surrounding populations have been reaping the benefits - in their environment and health. These strategies have the added benefit of reducing the ports' (and our country's) reliance on oil and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This should also be the case in Red Hook, not to mention the entire Ports of New York and New Jersey, which are the 3rd largest in the country.

In New York, as on the West Coast, shipping business is growing. Where there is more shipping, there is more pollution, so it's important that our dense portside populations are not impacted unfairly by this pollution and it's important that, going forward, the best possible practices are pursued at the ports in our city, and with the ships that visit them, so as to offset this increased impact.

That's my point about the tug boats presence in the Atlantic Basin. Why should we accept more unmitigated pollution, courtesy of the tugs - especially when we already have unresolved issues with cruise ships, container ships, trucks and more? Why shouldn't we expect that the City and the EDC sort out their previous mess before bringing more problems to resolve? Why should anything that the City brings to our neighborhood add to our residents' pollution burden?

That's just going backwards.

Yes, the Atlantic Basin should be re-activated. Yes, the activities of PortSide New York are a great example of what can be done in this unique "Blue Space". Yes, there is a place for commercial vessels, and tie ups - ferries, charter boats, etc. - and, hey, whatever happened to the plan for the Governors Island Ferry in the Atlantic Basin?

But to create a "massive tugboat parking lot"? To inject more pollution into our neighborhood's air from what is known to be a significant contributor to port pollution - i.e. tugboats - without having a plan to mitigate it? That is unacceptable.

Just as we're getting something done with cruise ship pollution with the seemingly imminent, but long fought plan to get them to "plug in" to shore power, why should our residents be asked to accept the same sort of dangerous unmitigated pollution from a different source?

It just isn't right.

PortSide New York at the Atlantic Basin

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Shore Power Resolution" Hearing Delayed ... Again.

Unfortunately, there was miscommunication about the Committee on Waterfronts' Shore Power Resolution hearing that was was scheduled to have happened this last Tuesday (see my previous post). After the postponement of the hearing last month, I, and others who were invited to testify, were given notice that the hearing had been "tentatively" rescheduled for March 8th. However, it wasn't clear that there would be further confirmation of the hearing (I figured that if we didn't hear otherwise that it was happening, not that it wasn't). So I, and a couple of others, turned up at the hearing to find that a hearing on dredging, not shore power, was taking place. It was a bit of a waste of a day, having missed out on work as a result, but I do understand that some of the responsibility to check the confirmation of the hearing lies with me. However, even the organization that had invited me to testify, the Red Hook Initiative, despite being in communication with those organizing the hearing, weren't aware that the hearing wasn't going to happen. They, too, were left out of the loop on this one.

Slightly annoying.

From speaking to a couple of people involved in this matter, it seems like the reason for this second postponement was due to a yet to be announced agreement that would, in the short term, subsidize the rate of electricity being supplied to the ships, thereby reducing the economic "burden" on the ship operators, Carnival, of plugging in and using electricity, rather than idling their engines and burning extra-dirty diesel (creating carcinogenic and otherwise dangerous emissions) while the ships are in port. This agreement was hinted at by a spokesman of Mayor Bloomberg in this recent South Brooklyn Post article, here, where the representative, Andrew Brent, is quoted as saying that the pending deal "would benefit all of the parties involved, and we're all working to finalize one."

This is obviously good news, and the deal, if secured, should ensure that there is a workable, quickly implementable short term solution to the frustrating stalemate that has been delaying the plan to get the cruise ships to plug in to shore power at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook.

I don't see, however, how the news of this interim deal (even if it's in place for a number of years), takes away the urgency of getting a real, long term solution in place. That's exactly what this "Shore Power Resolution" was hoping to spur.

The resolution was urging the Public Service Commission, which has been dragging its feet on this case for two years, to finally create a "shore power tariff" - a special rate of supply of electricity - that would be supplied by Con Ed and would allow the ships to plug in at the Brooklyn terminal. This would be a permanent tariff, so it could be the piece that puts in place the long term solution that everyone has been waiting for.

This "shore power tariff", if created, could also set the precedent for other uses of shore power and the practice of "cold ironing" (ships turning off their idling engines) throughout the ports of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority has said, in addition to its use at the Brooklyn location, that it would also like to bring "shore power" to the cruise ships visiting the Manhattan Cruise Terminals, and has outlined plans to create a new "cold ironing" berth at the Howland Hook Container Terminal in Staten Island. Presumably, these plans are all contingent on the creation of a "shore power tariff".

Adding impetus to this matter, there was also the news, this week, that the Ports of New York and New Jersey increased their business by 16% last year. A spokesman for the International Longshoremen's Association in Newark is quoted in this New York Times article, here, as saying, "We're doing super great". In an economy that's still struggling to find its feet, this is good news, but with the booming business, there comes more ship movements, more idling while in port and - unfortunately - more pollution and more people bearing the burden of the resultant negative health impacts - in cancer, asthma, heart disease and more. That's why it's so important that the Port Authority keeps driving towards 'greening' the operations of their ports. The use of "shore power" for ships should be a big part of any plan to do so, and the creation of this "shore power tariff" would surely create the incentive for the building the infrastructure to allow all types of ships to plug in - container, cruise and others - as has been the case on the West Coast and elsewhere.

The short-term solution, referred to by the Mayor's representative, won't do a lot (as far as I can see) to address this "bigger picture" issue - i.e. pushing the Public Service Commission to create a shore power tariff, so that the cruise ships can plug in at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, while also setting a precedent and encouraging the expansion of this life-saving and green-house gas reducing practice throughout the city's ports.

The "Shore Power Resolution" is pushing for this big picture, long term solution. (Read it at the end of this post).

So, I say, let's not delay this hearing any longer.

The Public Service Commission has already shown that it is capable of moving at a glacial pace.

I don't see why the City's Committee on Waterfronts should be mimicking them.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

City "Shore Power Resolution" Hearing - Tuesday, March 8th, 1pm - Open to the Public .... More Shore Power News.

Disney ship leaving Shore Power berth - photo credit: Port of Los Angeles

The City's Committee on Waterfronts has rescheduled its hearing on the proposed "Shore Power Resolution" for this Tuesday, March 8th at 1pm, 250 Broadway, 16th Floor. The hearing is open to the Public.

See one of my previous posts (here) for the details of the resolution which has been proposed by many of our City's representatives (I've copied it in its entirety at the end of the post). Basically, this resolution urges the Public Service Commission (PSC) to set a "shore power tariff" - a rate of electricity supply - that would then be offered by Con Edison to allow cruise ships to plug into "shore power" while in port at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, instead of idling their extra-dirty diesel engines, as they currently do.

The adoption of the recommendations of this resolution would bring great benefits to the neighborhoods surrounding the port - Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and beyond - both in improvements in air quality and in the resultant health benefits. The EPA states that smokestack emissions from ships are particularly harmful to our most vulnerable - children, the elderly, minority communities and people with lung disease - and the Port Authority has made statements in testimony to the PSC that estimates the yearly savings in health costs to Brooklyn residents resulting from the switch to shore power at the Cruise Terminal "approaches $9 Million".


The setting of the shore power tariff seems the be the preferred long term solution to finally getting the cruise ships to plug in at the Brooklyn Terminal. There have been arguments - also made in this blog - that the cruise ship operators are getting off pretty easy in this deal. After all, they're doing very well, paying little tax, and their business is breaking records. Also, in the long term they'll be having to deal with a higher price for cleaner diesel when the Emissions Control Area is implemented around the coasts of the US and Canada.

However, it seems like to get this done, absent some form of legislation that would require the use of shore power (as is the case in some West Coast ports), this special rate of electricity needs to be created to actually get the cruise ships to "plug in".

There is some logic to this path being taken. If a shore power rate is created for Brooklyn, it should set the precedent for the use of this technology anywhere in the Ports of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority has stated that it has plans to create a "cold ironing" berth at the Howland Hook Container Terminal in Staten Island. Surely they'll need a "shore power tariff" in place to make that plan feasible. The EPA stated in testimony to the PSC that "implementation of an appropriate Shore Power Tariff in New York City would provide an impetus for ship owners to invest in ship-side Shore Power equipment and for widespread use of this technology in other ports on the East Coast."

That would be a very good thing.

SHORT TERM SOLUTION - via Mayor Bloomberg?

Hopefully this resolution will get the result it seeks for the long term solution to this problem. However, the PSC moves very slowly, and in the short term, we still need to get the ships to plug in so these dangerous emissions can be taken out of our neighborhoods' air.

On that front, there is this news - under-reported as it is - from the South Brooklyn Post, reporting that Mayor Bloomberg says there is a deal in the works for a short-term solution for the Brooklyn cruise ship pollution problem.

The article, "Bloomberg Writes In", by Lisa M. Collins states -

Andrew Brent, a spokesman for Mayor Mike Bloomberg, contacted South Brooklyn Post to say that a deal is in the works to solve the major air pollution problem on the coast of Red Hook. Brent was responding to a series of articles in South Brooklyn Post revealing the fact that Carnival Cruise Lines, which netted $6 billion in profits over the last three years, is at a stalemate with city and state officials over a $1 to $2 million a year electricity bill that would clean Brooklyn’s air and the air quality over the New York harbor.

“A deal would benefit all of the parties involved, and we’re all working to finalize one,” Brent wrote in an email.

The South Brooklyn Post also reports that Port Authority studies reveal that "ships are the No. 1 cause of air pollution in the New York/New Jersey harbor".


In other shore power news around the world, the publication "BunkerWorld" reports that -

"The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and European Community Ship-owners Association (ECSA) have come out in support of a proposed European tax exemption for shoreside power electricity."

The sister publication, "PortWorld", reports on a OECD study, entitled "Environmental Impacts of International Shipping: The Role of Ports". The PortWorld article states -

"The study also said using shoreside electricity should be made mandatory because "unless ships are obliged to use it, they have few incentives to do so."

The study focuses on the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Vancouver, Rotterdam, and Busan."

Meanwhile, the Port of Los Angeles has upgraded one of its shore power facilities to accommodate three different cruise lines, with the ability to "plug in" two ships at a time. Story here and here.


It's frustrating to see these shore power incentives and initiatives, whether "sticks" or "carrots", being used elsewhere - on the West Coast and around the world - while we on the East Coast, and in Brooklyn in particular, are still waiting.

We've got a lot of catching up to do.

Hopefully, this new City resolution will be the piece that finally gets all involved to the get this shore power deal done so that we can begin - yes, just begin - to take these harmful, yet totally avoidable, pollutants out of our city's air, and our residents' lungs.