Tribeca marina has trouble floating at C.B. 1

By Albert Amateau

The Hudson River Park Trust is floating the idea of building a marina between Pier 25 and Stuyvesant High School on the Tribeca waterfront.

Connie Fishman, vice president of the Trust, gave skeptical members of the Community Board 1 waterfront committee a rough outline of the proposed haven for between 200 and 250 boats at the Oct. 27 committee meeting.

“I don’t know where this is going from here, or if it goes no place,” Fishman told the committee, “But you have to start someplace.”

How far the idea goes, Fishman said, “depends on the reaction of the community and regulatory agencies.” The waterfront committee reception on Monday was cool.

The marina, which would require a state Department of Environmental Conservation review and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approval, is proposed for the stretch of Hudson waterfront that was dredged to accommodate the barges that removed World Trade Center debris after Sept.11, 2001.

The Trust originally applied to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for $70 million for the Downtown segment of the five-mile-long Hudson River Park, and has added about $16 million ($14 million in construction costs and an estimated $2 million in planning costs) to that request for the marina.

Fishman said the Trust gave the L.M.D.C. a tour of the proposed site early in October as part of the pitch for funds for the project. While the marina is expected to produce revenue for the park, there has been no study yet about its economic feasibility, Fishman acknowledged.

The marina would require a wave-attenuation structure between the end of Pier 25 and the bulkhead of Battery Park City at Stuyvesant High School. Wave attenuators are not as fixed as breakwaters and for the most part would not rest on the riverbed. They would be needed to protect docked boats from wakes created by ferry and other river traffic. Fishman, however, said the details of the marina, with its wave attenuator, would come later.

Fishman told waterfront committee members that the original park plan for a town dock at Pier 25 would either be eliminated or incorporated into the marina whose entrance would be on Pier 25. Plans for a public mooring field south of Pier 25 would also be incorporated in the marina.

The Hudson River Park Trust Advisory Council was scheduled to hear an outline of the plan on Tues. Oct. 28.

Julie Nadel, a member of the Hudson River Trust board of directors, said after the meeting that she knew no more about the plan than anyone else. “It looks like the Trust is trying to get as much L.M.D.C. money as possible and then decide what to do with it,” Nadel said.

The prospect of a marina, which would include motor and sail boats, fills tenants of Independence Plaza North with dread, Diane Lapson, an I.P.N. resident and Community Board 1 member, said in a telephone interview.

“We hear everything on the waterfront and sounds off the river get amplified in our courtyard,” Lapson said. Residents of the 1,340-unit complex located between West and Greenwich Sts. between Duane St. and Pier 25, were subjected to the seven-day 24-hour noise assault during the nine months when World Trade Center debris was being loaded onto barges, Lapson recalled.

“And before that, when Amazon, the club on Pier 25 was operating, the music was very loud even after we asked them to tone it down,” Lapson said. “Even now when they play movies on Fridays and have dances on Saturday, we hear everything. We’re not looking forward to motor noise from the marina,” she added.

Cathy Drew, director of the River Project, a not-for-profit marine life education and research program on Pier 26, was anxious about commercial uses increasing in the park. “The Trust hasn’t been able to find money for the park, so they must be desperate to find commercial uses for the waterfront. The only reason they want this is because they think it‘ll be lucrative,” Drew said in an interview prior to the Oct. 27 meeting.

One board member, Ro Sheffe, said prior to the meeting that he would suspend judgment. “The idea of a marina has been drifting around for a while,” he said. “Marinas can be a tremendous drawback or a tremendous asset to a community. The answer is in the details.”