City eyes uses near Red Hook terminal

The city is planning to enliven the area adjacent to Red Hook’s cruise terminal, an area critics charge has yet to live up to the promise city officials once touted, this paper has learned.

As this paper went to press, the city’s Economic Development Corporation was planning to meet with local stakeholders at an invite-only affair at the terminal, located on Pier 12.

“We want to hear ideas of how the space can best be used on non cruise days to serve the community and local businesses and draw visitors to the area,” said Janel Patterson, spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the quasi-public agency heading up the new initiative.

The Jan. 20 meeting hosted by the agency at the cruise terminal will help inform the agency’s next steps toward programming the space — the parking lot along Imlay Street — and taking whatever “public actions” are necessary to move forward.

John McGettrick, co-chair of the Red Hook Civic Association, said he was holding a simple wish for this latest EDC scheme: “I am hopeful our interaction is more productive than it’s been in the past.” McGettrick and others have long advocated for more community access to the waterfront, with a greater mix of uses.

At one time, the city pushed a plan that heralded a new dawn for the area, with a array of shops and even hotels, but the grand plan was scrapped in favor of a vision that put an emphasis on a working waterfront.

For now, McGettrick said, the area near the terminal is “an underutilized space that offers little to the community.”

Borough President Marty Markowitz said the area offers “endless” possibilities. “Everything from flea markets and conventions to children’s and neighborhood events and even ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ as well as aggressive outreach to other cruise lines,” said his spokesperson Mark Zustovich.“I think it’s fair to say that our office feels it’s a great location that can be used for additional purposes,” he added.