Despite pleas from anglers, residents of North Shore, New York’s main strip of waterfront property remain closed

STATEN ISLAND, NY – A portion of a St. George’s Pier that offers stunning views of New York Harbor as well as prime real estate for anglers remains closed despite millions in investment, and l responsible municipal agency lacks answers.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) did not respond to several questions about Pier 1’s closure, but spokeswoman Regina Graham said the first 300 feet of the 845-foot-long public space remain. open as it has been since NYCEDC’s announcement. renovations over five years ago.

Graham said the rest of the pier is closed for safety while NYCEDC continues to work on repairs. Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks (D-North Shore) said she was working with the agency to expedite the process.

“NYCEDC has notified us of partial closures due to substructure issues. We are working with them to find a solution to this problem, she said. “My main priority is to ensure that the necessary repairs are carried out to ensure the safety of all residents, which would then allow this waterfront space to be enjoyed safely for all.”

Part of Pier 1 in St. George is blocked on Monday, July 11, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Paul Liotta)

These structural issues date back to at least 2017 when Hanks’ predecessor, former councilwoman Debi Rose, took to Facebook in July of that year to announce the pier was closing because she was unsure. .

Five years ago, a NYCEDC spokesperson under former mayor Bill de Blasio told former news outlet dnainfo that an inspection had discovered the problem and the city was working on a fix.

This never materialized and, as Rose noted in her post five years ago, some of the most important areas of the pier remain closed to the general public.

“It’s a shared disappointment for the fishing community and anyone who enjoys the view and the breezes along the pier,” she said at the time.

Eric Garvin, a lawyer and recreational fisherman, said on the other side of the 10-foot chain-link fence erected by the NYCEDC was a fish-cleaning table and other angling equipment similar to that available at Ocean Breeze Fishing Pier.

Pier 1 St. George Monday, July 11, 2022

A full trash can is seen on Pier 1 on Monday, July 11, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Paul Liotta)

He noted that while the fence keeps most people out, some still access the closed part of the pier, pointing out that the bins on the other side of the fence are still overflowing. A July 11 Advance/ visit to the site revealed the same conditions.

“It’s interesting to see what the city has in mind in terms of development,” said Garvin, a resident of the North Shore. “What are we doing with our resources and what are we doing for this part of Staten Island?

Despite its dilapidated condition, the pier, at least its publicly accessible portion, and the nearby National Lighthouse Museum remain two of the few bright spots on a long-neglected stretch of Staten Island’s waterfront.

Old piers adjacent to Pier 1 can be seen collapsing or collapsing into the sea below, and further towards Stapleton is the site of the former Cromwell Center which closed for good in 2010 after suffering a major collapse before being completely demolished in 2013.

Towards the end of his tenure, Rose secured funding for a new recreation center on the North Shore to be built in the parking lot of Lyons Pool with an estimated completion date of 2025.

The problems with Pier 1 go back more than a decade. The NYCEDC took over ownership of the city’s Department of Transportation in the early 2000s, and in 2003 Advance/ reported that the renovated pier had reopened at a cost of nearly $2.5 million.

A technical survey showed that its pilings had been undermined by wood-eating sea worms and were dangerous, according to reports at the time.

Then, in 2010, Advance/ reported that some fishing facilities at the pier had fallen into disrepair. At the time, Hanks, then executive director of the Downtown Staten Island Council, brought the issue to the attention of NYCEDC, which eventually resolved the issue.

That year, Hanks and the Council held a Summerfest event which, according to the councilwoman, drew more than 2,500 visitors at the time to watch a seasonal series of films, jazz concerts and children’s shows. .

National Lighthouse Museum Monday, July 11, 2022

The National Lighthouse Museum is on view Monday, July 11, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Paul Liotta)

This was all happening as locals continued to push for the opening of the National Lighthouse Museum – which was first elected to Staten Island in 1998, according to the museum’s website.

The museum finally opened in 2015, but not without its challenges along the way.

They included a failed effort to bring the American flagship Nantucket to permanent mooring alongside Pier 1 as a permanent exhibit for the museum and the theft – or unceremonious storage – of three 250-pound brass bells which were attached to decorative buoys along the jetty.

In 2016, NYCEDC announced that the pier would be added to DockNYC, the private company contracted by the city to manage and market docking sites across the city for a variety of uses.

DockNYC launched a series of boat tours in May in partnership with the National Lighthouse Museum that offer guided tours and dinner cruises aboard a yacht called the Majestic Princess. The program will conclude with a “Haunted Halloween East River Dinner Cruise” on October 28.

National Lighthouse Museum executive director Linda Dianto said the full repair of the pier would allow it to be opened to its full potential.

“Due to the partial closure of this important Pier 1, tourists are unable to enjoy panoramic views of the city, major harbor lighthouses, Verrazzano Bridge, Governor’s Island and of course our neighboring borough, Brooklyn, just across the water,” she said. said in an email.

In addition to the challenges of the closed pier, the museum sits next to a cluster of dilapidated buildings that once housed the Staten Island Lighthouse Depot and in the shadow of the stalled Lighthouse Point project – a luxury apartment building $250 million to equip with retail, office space and a Westin hotel.

Garvin, the lawyer and recreational fisherman, just wants to know what the city plans to do to realize the area’s potential, and if NYCEDC will ever reopen the pier for full public access.

“If you are private and have a yacht, you can do business with EDC on this pier all day. If you are a walking person and you want to walk or go fishing or just sight seeing like in a park, you are prevented,” he said. “The city should not create such situations.

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