Pier 15 has always been eyed as a prime destination for visitors at the South Street Seaport, but Superstorm Sandy put a hold on visitors' plans.
The pier, which is part of the East River Esplanade, finally opened for business Tuesday and community leaders said it's going to boost the neighborhood's recovery.
The city leased the pier to Hornblower Cruises in early 2012, and the company remained committed to its vision even after the neighborhood was flooded during the Oct. 2012 storm, according to Catherine McVay-Hughes, the chair of Manhattan Community Board 1, which oversees the area.
"It's important that the East River Esplanade and Pier 15 are properly maintained," she said during the opening ceremonies.
In addition to the daily cruises, the pier also is home to a double-decked platform where visitors can gaze at the East River and the historic docked ships, a restaurant and a bar.
The city's tourism wing, NYC & Company, also set up a visitor center at the pier.
Hornblower, which will create 100 new jobs in the area, also will partner with the New York Harbor School, the city's maritime public school, and will offer courses on boating safety and pier maintenance.
Construction on the $30 million project was completed in 2011, and some restaurants were open before the Oct. 29, 2012, superstorm hit. However, the 7-foot-high floodwaters seriously damaged the infrastructure, according to McVay-Hughes.
Several shops and restaurants, including the Seaport Museum, are still closed and under repair.
The city and the cruise line worked extra hard to bring it back, and the community board chair said yesterday's opening marked an important turning point in the seaport's ongoing rebound.