It’s too bad Borough President Markowitz can’t be on every voyage of the Queen Mary 2.
That’s what cruise ship passengers — who had just disembarked at the city’s ship terminal in Red Hook — were saying the other day.
Despite the fact that the city spent $56-million on the terminal, passengers arrive there with virtually no information about where they are.
Instead, the tourists mill around as they wait for rides to the airport, their Manhattan hotels or their homes upstate or on the (far from Virgin) Island.
“Too bad Marty wasn’t on my cruise,” said Ira Peskill of Westchester. “I didn’t learn about Brooklyn at all. [They told us about] St. Thomas — they have duty-free shopping there.”
Peskill’s wife, Joan, added that she would have been eager to hear about Brooklyn’s charms, if “there was something to learn.”
A few feet away from the enthused couple, standing on a green median on terminal’s expansive tarmac, another would-be tourist said that the lecture would be useful.
“I see Brooklyn in movies,” said Sal Mastroberti. “There is always more to learn,”
But Mastroberti, a retiree, had one word of advice for the Beep: don’t come between cruisers and the heaping smorgasboards of chocolate-dipped fruit, sea-food and delicacies that cruises are known for.
“We go for the food.”
Mastroberti was not bothered by the fact that the city official got to cruise on the QM2 for free even though he had just paid for the same trip.
“He was doing a job I couldn’t do,” he said, adjusting his black undershirt.
Surely, the Borough President would be heartened to learn that so many people could still benefit from his exuberant Brooklyn pitch. After all, there is clearly a need for his mastery.
“They had questions about transportation — about how to get around Brooklyn, and they wanted to know about our hotels,” he told The Brooklyn Paper upon his return from the trip.
“They also wanted to know what I would recommend they do if they only had a few hours to spend in Brooklyn. It made me think we really need to have a tourism brochure especially for that kind of traveler, a list of different itineraries if you only have a half a day to spend here.”
Steve Chambers, manager of the Borough Hall-funded tourism kiosk inside the terminal, agrees.
“People want to know what to do in Brooklyn,” he said, adding that the Beep flashed him a thumbs-up sign as he made his way past the kiosk and back into the homeland.
Chambers said that he enjoyed watching the borough prez play Brooklyn to the crowds — and watch the crowds play to him.
“I heard people call him ‘mayor,’” he said. “I said, ‘You mean the borough president.’”
Like Chambers, Peskill wasn’t particularly bothered by the public official’s free ride either.
“It’s all business,” he said with a shrug.
Then he asked if I had ever heard of Tammany Hall.
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