WARNING: maritime geekiness ahead. No clash of the bike-and-car cultures in this story, nor will this article chronicle the latest battle between halal food carts and their natural direct competitors, sports bars. This post is strictly about the nerdy fun that comes recreational waterfront access, and the coalition of politicians, city employees, and non-profit groups that want to make it happen here.
That’s right, folks, it’s time to talk about 69th Street Eco Dock, slated to be constructed early this fall.
Last Thursday, the Bay Ridge branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was the setting for a community meeting to introduce some details about the Eco Dock project to the pubic, as well as to crowd-source new ideas for future use.
As a Parks Department program, the central mission of the dock is to provide recreational access to the water for residents. As such, the types of uses suggested included human-powered boating (i.e. kayaking) and science/ecology programs.
What would you like to see at the Eco Dock? Tell us in the comments!
The Eco Dock will consist of two sections:
- a concrete dock, 40 feet x 20 feet, approximately 55 feet away from the pier, and with a deck about five feet above the waterline, and
- a 22 foot x 22-foot kayak dock that sits alongside the concrete dock and much closer to the waterline
Both parts of the dock will rise and fall with the tides on three steel piles. It will in fact be constructed at the end of the pier. Renderings released to date have shown the dock along the side of the 69th Street pier, closer to shore, but the positioning at the end will allow side-docking access by slightly larger vessels.
The meeting was attended by representatives from vessels interested in making use of the Eco Dock, such as the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a sailing ship that offers educational sailing trips to school-age children, and the John J. Harvey, a retired FDNY fireboat that provides occasional Hudson River tours.
It is expected that a boating club will be established at the Eco Dock, though it was acknowledged that the maritime conditions at the pier are challenging, and would be a location for experienced boaters rather than beginners. Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance CEO Roland Lewis said it could take 1-3 years to find a responsible organization that would manage human-powered boating at the dock.
The Parks Department will be in charge of overall maintenance and operations, though the Metropolitian Waterfront Alliance will assist in creating the initial operations framework.
Construction is expected to take place in the early fall. A previously published timetable that expected summer construction and a fall ribbon-cutting was characterized as “aggressive” by Parks Department Manager Nate Grove, as the contractor tentatively selected for the work is in the intensive processes of being vetted by fiduciary watchdogs, primarily the city’s Controller’s office.
The total cost to build is expected to be between $750,000 (an estimate provided by Grove) and $820,000 (the number provided by Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s office after the meeting). The project was started with $300,000 in funding secured by Councilmember Gentile. As it became apparent that the Eco Dock would be much more expensive – as Grove pointed out, commuter ferry docks of similar design cost well north of one million dollars – the difference was covered by additional funds secured by Gentile, Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
There are currently no plans for commuter ferry service. The Eco Dock has strictly been a Parks Department project, and the Department of Transportation (the agency that would either operate or outsource ferry service) has not shown any interest, according to Gentile. It was suggested that the dock could handle ferry service, though it was not designed to handle head-in docking thrust.