Ask Godzilla: Why the Delay in Restoring Greenpoint’s Ferry Service?

Godzilla met with me at the India Street dock in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Godzilla met with me at the India Street pier in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Godzilla, renowned expert on public transit, disasters, big cities, marine life, romance, and other topics, took a few minutes to answer my questions about today’s press release by Councilmember Steve Levin and State Senator Daniel Squadron about the ongoing closure of the East River Ferry pier in Greenpoint, Brooklyn:

Q: Godzilla, we talked last April about the East River Ferry pier in Greenpoint being out of service. You were right there at the public hearing in Greenpoint where the official from the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) said it would “definitely” be up and running again before the scheduled closure of the G train beginning on July 26, but now  we’re two weeks away from the train service shutdown in Greenpoint, and the ferry dock is still down. What gives?

A: True Boots, you know this kind of stuff makes my blood boil. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t mind walking straight through a large body of water to get to trample a few skyscrapers, but you also know I’m trying to do a better job with managing my anger and being more constructive with my energy these days. I have to breathe fire in private just to keep a handle on how angry I feel about what looks like a not-so-complicated job that just isn’t getting done. Kudos to City Councilmember Steve Levin and State Senator Daniel Squadron for today’s press release for calling out the EDC and RedSky Capital (the owner of the pier) for not only failing to get the job done, but also failing to even say when it will be back in use. Greenpoint is two weeks away from losing our only subway service for a month while it undergoes repairs–but no one can even explain to us why the ferry has to be down, too.

Well-maintained signage explaining the pier closure.

Well-maintained signage explaining the pier closure.

Q: Is the pier that badly damaged? What do you know about this?

A: Like I said before, some people blamed me when the metal gangway between the pier and the floating dock caved in and the floating part came unmoored last February–haters will always hate. But I gotta tell you, it happened during one of those snowstorms happening during that crazy winter we had, and I was just trying to get warm. I’m a reptile, and I’m the last guy to go out during a snowstorm just to break my neighborhood ferry pier. But, that said, I get that things break–I’ve broken enough things to know that repairs take time and money, and processes can be complicated. You’ve gotta be kidding me, though, about how long it’s taking them to “repair” this pier. I’m out here all the time–I live just three blocks away–and I have yet to see anyone working on anything on the pier. The public still manages to get in, and you see people out there all the time, fishing, taking romantic sunset walks, playing with their kids, whatever. Nothing’s wrong with the pier itself. It’s just the floating dock that came unmoored and had to be removed. You can’t tell me that’s what’s taking so long. Float a new one in and hook it up to the pier already. Is it really that complicated?

Q: Wait, the pier is open to the public?

A: Well, kind of. There’s all kinds of fencing and barricades, but it seems the public has just gotten in there despite it all. I don’t think anyone from EDC or RedSky or anywhere else actually pays any attention to the pier, to tell the truth. They probably don’t even know, they’re so busy “repairing” it.

Q: So why do you think this is taking so long? Has there just not been enough interest in this?

A: A lot of Greenpointers are just as irritated as I am. The smart folks over at Greenpointers.com wrote an enlightening blog post on how RedSky delayed for about eight weeks on agreeing to hire two cranes that were needed to a) do the work needed for the investigation of what happened last February and b) to do the work needed to make the repairs determined in the investigation. Profits aren’t always aligned so well with public service, safety, and quality of life–but you’d think there would be something in RedSky’s contract with EDC’s East River Ferry service that stipulates doing whatever’s reasonably needed to ensure that the pier remains in safe working order, with any repairs completed in a timely manner. And if that isn’t in there–then somebody over at EDC needs to do some smarter contract writing in the future when it’s up for renewal. But. Last anyone knew, RedSky finally agreed to hire on the cranes needed to get the job done. So no one’s been able to find any reason why the delay continues–and why we see exactly zero cranes out there at the pier doing any investigation or any work whatsoever.

Q: What do you think the solution is? I mean, how long can the pier continue to be out of operation?

A: I appreciate what Sen. Squadron and Councilmember Levin did to at least get shuttle bus service between India Street and the North Williamsburg ferry pier, and I also like that they’ve kept talking about this. But in the end, I’m not sure they’re the ones with the answers. I also should note that I’ve never even seen one of the shuttle buses–I just walk to and from North Williamsburg when I want to use the ferry–and I’ve slimmed down a little on my scaly figure as a result. But not everybody has the time and energy for that. Plus it just continues to be infuriating that this pier continues to be inoperable and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.

Q: You didn’t answer my question. What should we do?

A: Here’s what I think. Since raising any concerns to our public officials is just singing to the choir–or, in my case, just breathing fire at a marshmallow roast–I think everyone should give a call to both RedSky and EDC and tell them we’d like our ferry service back. Plus spread the word to your friends and neighbors to do the same. Here’s some contact information:

RedSky Capital – 718-366-1800 – Owner of the India Street Pier

NYC EDC – (212) 619-5000 – Operator of the East River Ferry

Q: I’m down with that. It’s too easy to make a quick phone call both places. So what else are you up to these days, Godzilla? Any romantic sunset walks along the India Street Pier for you?

A: Nope. There just isn’t a lady who gets me, you know?

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