City plan to move party boats to Mill Basin stalls

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The city has backed off its earlier vow to move three Sheepshead Bay party boats to Mill Basin in early May, with no sign of the booze-cruisers yet and no word on when they might arrive.

One civic honcho said no news is good news about the boats coming to the waterside neighborhood.

“They could be delayed forever and it would be okay with me,” said Community Board 18 chairman and Mill Island Civic Association president Sol Needle.

The city had originally said the controversial party boats would be heading to waters off Flatbush Avenue by May 1. However, the Parks Department told this paper on May 31 that there were delays in relocating the boats, and that the timeline is still being worked on.

The three boats are still operating from the pier at Emmons Avenue, though they continue to be prohibited from going out late at night, according to a Parks Department spokeswoman.

Needle accused the city of keeping local community groups in the dark about something that will profoundly affect residents’ quality of life.

“The city never contacted the affected civic association about the delay,” said Needle.

CB 18’s district manager said the community board has also heard nothing from the city about any change in the relocation timeline.

“We haven’t heard one word from any of them,” said Dottie Turano.

But the longer the boats stay away, the better, according to Needle.

“We’re a residential community, not a maritime community,” he said.

The city announced the controversial boats would leave Sheepshead Bay back in April, saying three would go to Mill Basin in May and three to Brooklyn Army Terminal in September. Sheepshead Bay residents have long accused the boats of bringing quality-of-life problems to the neighborhood. But some boat captains have accused residents of racism towards their largely Caribbean-American clients.

Almost immediately after the announcement, residents and pols in Mill Basin came out against putting the boats there, and threatened legal action.

The Parks Department did not respond to a request for information on what is causing the delay in moving the boats.

Mill Basin community leaders are nervously awaiting any official news about the boats’ future relocation, but Turano said she’s not surprised the city is running into problems with the move.

“They’re out of their minds,” said Turano. “There’s really no place to put them here.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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