Hey, remember all that talk about weddings and other glitzy parties at the cruise ship terminal in Red Hook? Well, they’ll be strictly BYOB — bring your own burners!
Hopes of turning Red Hook’s gleaming Brooklyn Cruise Terminal into a splashy waterfront party venue were dashed last week when a group of professional gala-makers toured the $56-million facility with the city’s Economic Development Corporation and learned that the high-security terminal lacks key catering-hall amenities — namely a useable sink and views of the harbor that is just a few tantalizing feet beyond the windowless walls.
“I guess they expect us to bring our own Bunsen burners and use water from the little girls’ room sink to cook and clean,” said one event planner who participated in the June 22 tour — a step in a city bidding process that seeks an “event manager” to host, market and supervise events at the terminal on the 280-odd days a year when ships are not berthed there.
The Brooklyn-based gala planner said she was surprised that events would be restricted to areas of the secure terminal that lack windows, forfeiting the “waterfront views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline” advertised in the request for proposals.
“People were scratching their heads” she said, adding that she is reconsidering investing in the terminal, which was recently named the nation’s best new port by Porthole Cruise Magazine.
The EDC has said that the city-subsidized Red Hook Terminal would bring new business to the area and be available to rent when the ships weren’t in.
And it will be. The terminal will be open for non-profit events 10 days a year with a flat fee of $7,500 for a weekday event and $11,000 on weekends or holidays — a payment that will cover maintenance costs, according to the city’s request for proposals.
But the director of one local non-profit, PortSide New York, said the high rental rates effectively nullified the EDC promise.
“The prices are not feasible for a community-based group,” said PortSide director Carolina Salguero, who hopes to dock a maritime museum on an adjacent city-owned Red Hook pier.
EDC spokeswoman Janel Patterson said that the tour was just the first step in the process of finding the right party planner and tailoring the terminal to meet the needs of such events.
“The purpose of the [request for proposals] is for the event-management community to tell us how the property can be successfully used as an event space,” she said.