Brooklyn, NY is expected to have a cruise pier for the 2005 season, in an effort to more effectively balance cruise traffic in New York City's Passenger Ship Terminal (NYPST), while at the same time allowing improvements to take place at the NYPST, including the addition of a 50-foot apron to Pier 88 in 2006.

In Brooklyn, the actual pier the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will begin to work on is not known, but it will most likely be Pier 7 or 12, according to Kate Asher, executive vice president of infrastructure at the EDC.

"Currently we are nearing the end of a 'feasibility assessment,'" Asher explained, noting that various tests concerning navigation, traffic and overall cost are being conducted with the port authority and other officials.

"The tests should be complete by the end of April when work will begin," she continued.

The Goal

According to Luis Ajarnil of Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, hired to design the cruise plan for the EDC, the goal within the next 10 years is to take the five old NYPST berths and make them three all with aprons - with one ship in each slip instead of two, and to convert up to three cargo piers in Brooklyn for cruise ships, depending on demand. All berths will be capable of handling post-Panamax ships.

"The demand in Brooklyn will most likely be very good," Ajamil noted, "but you can't see into the future. Right now we are just looking at one Brooklyn pier and revising Pier 88. We are very prepared to meet all capacity needs, as the plan is very flexible."

Why Brooklyn?

With New York expecting 800.000 cruise passengers in 2005, Ajamil said this was something that was bound to happen.

"People were talking about it years ago," he noted, "but it's never been as urgent as it is now."

Ajamil pointed out that other options in New York were considered before selecting Brooklyn, but said many piers have environmental issues, and physically, "they were designed for ships 100 years ago and not for 1,000-foot ships of today.

"Brooklyn just seemed like the best choice," he continued. "The economic impact on the city will be a great one, I'm sure, and there has been nothing but a favorable response in the Brooklyn community."

While the EDC is expected to shell out $23 million for the Brooklyn pier, the EDC's Asher explained that cruise lines will most certainly pay for its use, although she could not specify an amount, only stating that the cost will at first be low.