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City’s ship slip is showing; Jobs numbers fall short at cruise ship terminal

The Brooklyn Paper
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The Brooklyn cruise terminal created just 14 full-time jobs in its first year on the Red Hook waterfront — a whopping 356 short of the number of full-time jobs promised by the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

Now, the job shortfall could foil the city’s plan to expand the terminal with a second, $60-million berth.

“I don’t think [the terminal] merits further investment at this time,” said Councilman David Yassky (D–Brooklyn Heights).

When it was hawking the original cruise ship terminal on a leery Red Hook, the EDC said a flow of steady jobs would more than make up for the terminal’s $56-million pricetag and also compensate for the eventual eviction of American Stevedoring, which operates the cargo port where the second terminal would be built.

A new cruise ship pier would be built as part of a larger, $330-million tourist-friendly redevelopment of the Red Hook piers — a transformation that would open up the fenced-off, industrial waterfront with a new home for Williamsburg-based Brooklyn Brewery and maritime-themed shops, city officials say.

But given the low number of jobs created in the first go-around, at least one lawmaker is skeptical.

“The jury is still out,” Yassky said. “I want to see more evidence that the investment that was already made was worth it before we invest more public money and lose the businesses that we have there now.”

Nonetheless, the EDC says it will move forward with its vision. A spokeswoman for the agency said she “expected those [jobs] numbers to grow.”

“We’ve transformed a pier that received just four salt ships per year into a world-class gateway to Brooklyn, bringing new jobs, cruise passengers from around the world and new economic activity,” said the spokeswoman, Janel Patterson.

One week after the ship terminal opened for its second season, some growth is already apparent.

The gleaming, blue and white terminal, which sits at the foot of Pioneer Street, will stay open through the winter this year, increasing the number of ships that use it — and the number of hours its employees will work.

In 2006, 40 ships came in. If winter cruises prove popular, the number could jump.

“Instead of having a guarantee of employment for four months, we are looking at jobs year-round,” said Lou Pernice, vice president of the International Longshoremen’s Association, a dockworkers labor union.

“We know that the number of jobs promised is not there now,” he added. “But we also know that the terminal is growing.”

A year-round terminal is now projected to employ a 279 full- and part-time workers.

The figure includes 81 baggage handlers, 38 security workers and 65 cruise agents who only work when the ships come in.

Jobs shortfall

In its first year on the Red Hook waterfront, the $56-million Brooklyn Cruise Ship Terminal has created 14 new full-time jobs. That’s 356 — three hundred and fifty-six — less than the city promised. Here how the ship terminal compares to other local businesses.

Name of CompanyAge of companyNew full-time jobs
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal114
American Stevedoring Container Port1319
Baked bakery24
Blue Man Group scene shop56
Fairway1260
Good Fork restaurant110
Updated 4:28 pm, July 9, 2018
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