New Cunard Brooklyn Terminal


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James Doyle

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I've heard plans of this for quite a while now, but today I received the Cunard newsletter and discovered that QM2 will now be docking there instead of the West Side docks of Manhattan. This bothers me for two reasons. I would often look forward to going into the city and walking past the docks just to get a look at the huge liner, and being an amateur photographer, took advantage of getting some great shots of the ship. However, what bothers me on a greater scale is, there is no more London to New York, but rather London to Brooklyn? It just doesn't work for me. Also, no longer will passengers be able to sail past the magnificent skyline of New York City, but rather just head straight out to sea. It's just disappointing to me. What are your opinions?

On another note, does anyone know if QM2 is doing as financially well as Cunard hoped thus far?
 

Jim Kalafus

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>What are your opinions?

Well- I found it funny that the new transatlantic brochure is littered with NYC images, including at least one shot of the ship against a background of the financial district, and has a lot of schlocky copy about NYC.....it would be a bit more honest to show photos of Red Hook, but of course, if you've seen Red Hook you understand why they didn't.

The idea is a pretty stupid one. Port Liberty, or Liberte if you will, in Bayonne, was originally scoffed at, but its proximity to Newark Airport and PATH trains "made it work" after the initial resistance wore off. Red Hook is remarkably inconvenient- although in the 1920s/40s its isolation made it favorite spot to dump the bodies of 'hit victims'- and unlike Bayonne one can't even rationalise "well it's not glamorous but it isn't all that out of the way."

It seems like a "cut off your nose to spite your face" act on Cunard's part.
 

James Doyle

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I actually sailed out of Bayonne on a Royal Caribbean cruise this summer to Bermuda and it is NOT a picturesque location, very industrial, I felt like I should be boarding at a delivery dock next to an oil tanker.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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quote:

What are your opinions?

I received the newsletter in my inbox and the transatlantic season brochure in the mail today as well. It's absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary what Cunard has planned. My question is why couldn't they upgrade the terminal that is currently being used, instead of going to Brooklyn? When I sailed into New York on the QE2 for the first time and later on QM2, I enjoyed seeing the skyline very much.

The first time around, I was able to take some photos of the QE2 as she was leaving port. Two years later I was there again and I took some of the QE2 as she was arriving. Later on, I got some terrific ones of both QE2 and QM2 side by side. It doesn't go over well with me and I'm disappointed with Cunard's decision as well.

Cunard states that it "will streamline the embarkation and disembarkation process." Time will tell as to how all the passengers feel about this move.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>My question is why couldn't they upgrade the terminal that is currently being used, instead of going to Brooklyn?

Standoff. Carnival/Cunard/Princess don't own the terminal and therefore even if they wanted to sink money into it they couldn't. And if Port Authority tax money was invested in upgrading the existing piers for the benefit of the six or so ships which still use New York, rather than on improving a more, shall we say, immediate and visible part of the infrastructure, it would not sit well.

>"will streamline the embarkation and disembarkation process.

Until you try to find a cab.

>Time will tell as to how all the passengers feel about this move.

Bremen and Europa docked in Brooklyn early on in their careers. Would be interesting to see how well it was received by superliner passengers of that era. Since no other giant liners docked there before B. and E. and none have since, until now, one suspects that the maxim 'if it was a good idea someone would have done it already' holds true.

BTW- did you notice that they are using the Lusitania on the cover of their brochure? An odd choice.....
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi Jim,

quote:

Standoff. Carnival/Cunard/Princess don't own the terminal and therefore even if they wanted to sink money into it they couldn't. And if Port Authority tax money was invested in upgrading the existing piers for the benefit of the six or so ships which still use New York, rather than on improving a more, shall we say, immediate and visible part of the infrastructure, it would not sit well.

Hmmm...that's interesting. What's the reason that it wouldn't be welcomed? Economical issues?

quote:

Until you try to find a cab.

Yep. That's where it will be very difficult and extremely frustrating, to say the least.

I don't have the Lusitania on my copy. The cover on mine shows a couple on deck standing by the rail admiring the Statue of Liberty. But I do agree, that is a strange choice.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Hmmm...that's interesting. What's the reason that it wouldn't be welcomed? Economical issues?

Well, when the "super piers" were finally built in the 1970s they were widely regarded as a boondoggle because, at the time, most of the liners were being withdrawn from service or transferred away from NYC. They opened just as the last non-QE2 tranat liner , Leonardo DaVinci, was being phased out. During the economically nightmarish mid to late 1970s the expenditure of millions of dollars to build a pier complex for the benefit of the one major liner plus two or three smaller cruise ships that still used the port (and only in summer)was lambasted as yet another example of squandered funds. One only had to look at the contrast between the collapsing elevated West Side Highway outside the pier, and the "shiny" new, entirely empty, pier complex to understand why people were disgusted.

It still holds true. Compared to the Florida ports, very few ships call in New York, and although the piers are now 30 years old they are still adequate. Were the Port Authority to spend tax dollars building a shiny new pier to complement the shiny new Queen Mary 2, it would be unfavorably viewed on several different levels. Frankly, the withdrawal of RCL and Celebrity to Port Liberte/Liberty, went entirely unnoticed by the man on the street, and the withdrawal of Cunard/Carnival to Red Hook will be just as inconsequential.....the revenue drain to NYC will be minimal for it is not as if, suddenly, the major international and domestic airlines eliminated us, taking with them the bulk of the tourists who come here. If the withdrawal DID matter, you can bet that the various lobbies that support the tourist related businesses would be applying not so subtle pressure to get the new terminal financed- but they aren't.

So, in a way, the whole 'build us a new complex or we leave' threat is really the equivalent of a person using the 'if you invite him you need not invite me' threat against a host only to be told 'too bad- I think that you would have enjoyed the party.'
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Ah okay, I got it now. It makes sense as to why a new terminal wouldn't sit well, but it won't be the same without Cunard docking at the Manhattan piers; at least to us ship enthusiasts.

Thanks for the background information.
 

James Doyle

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>The cover on mine shows a couple on deck standing by the rail admiring the Statue of Liberty.

I find that ironic now, seeing that when QM2 sails out of Brooklyn, no longer will passengers sail by the Statue of Liberty. Sure, they will still be able to see it, but they wont be "face to face" as Cunard once proclaimed.
 

Jason D. Tiller

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Hi James,

quote:

I find that ironic now

So do I. You're right, the passengers will still be able to see it, but they will most surely not have a good view of it as they do now. Another reason why it won't be the same come April; a part of history is being lost.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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Jim, In your above post you wrote that the "superpiers were finally built in the 1970s",Well those piers which are Piers 88,90 and 92 were there well before the 1970s.Pier 88 was built for the French Line's Ship named Normandie in the decade of the 1930s and Piers 90 and 92 were built in the same decade for the Cunard Line and Piers 90 and 92 were where the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth docked at.The Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 had docked at all 3 piers,Piers 88,90 and 92.I know that it is in the early 1970s when the superpiers 88,90 and 92 were not built but they were renovated at that time.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Jerry- that is splitting hairs. I have photos of myself and my father departing on one of the Swedish American Line ships ca 1973-'74 from one of the west side piers- on the site of the current terminal- that had been removed, literally, down to ground level. So, in the sense that the underpinnings of the current terminal structure date back to the 1930s you are correct but by that logic the 1980 office building that fills the east side of Coenties Slip downtown is actually the Dutch Staadt Huys of ca 1690 because they partially share the same foundation. Well, it's not and they are not, either. But in the name of accuracy let me amend the sentence:

>Well, when the "super piers" were finally built in the 1970s they were widely regarded as a boondoggle.....

to the more accurate but cumbersome and not really germain to the point I was making a month ago:

> Well, when the original 1930s terminal structures and pier sheds were removed in stages between ca 1972 and 1975, and a new terminal complex and series of sheds built atop the underpinning of the original piers, they were widely regarded as a boondoggle...
 

Jerry Nuovo

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Jim, I do now believe your case in the above post and I did not mean to split hairs.As to the piers being built or rebuilt in the 1970s and being regarded as a boondoggle,I guess the critics of that project never envisioned a TV series called The Love Boat which premiered on ABC-TV in the late 1970s would have a positive effect on people wanting to take cruises aboard a ship.But I am not to sure if during the time that The Love Boat was on network TV that how many passenger ships were docking at the super piers 88,90 and 92 on the West Side of Manhattan during the years 1977-1986 that The Love Boat was on network TV.All I know that the QE2 and maybe a few other ships docked on the West Side at that time.I guess most of the cruise ships docked in the Port of Miami and on the TV Show The Love Boat the Ship called the Pacific Princess always docked at the Port of Los Angeles.Do you have any information on how many ships docked at the West Side of Manhattan from 1977 to 1986 and am I correct in thinking that from the mid 1990s more passenger ships starting docking at the West Side Piers 88,90 and 92.If you have read my other posts you will remember that I think it is a bad mistake for Cunard to move from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>I guess the critics of that project never envisioned a TV series called The Love Boat....

No, what they envisioned was that in 1975 the city was this // close to being bankrupt; the West Side Highway which passed the piers was closed after a section of it collapsed near Gansevoort Market; a huge number of police officers were laid off; businesses were fleeing the city in droves; the President had told New York to "go to hell," and there were potholes on some of the crosstown streets deep enough to literally swallow your car and tear off the undercarriage should you drive into them. The city was at its lowest ebb, ever, and the critics of the super piers, rightfully, pointed out that a huge sum of Port Authority funds had been invested in a dying industry at a time when it was badly needed elsewhere. In '76, as I recall, the ships that used the piers regularly were Oceanic/Doric/Volendam/Veendam/ Statendam/Leonardo da Vinci and QE2. Their ongoing presence did not justify the diversion of scarce funds away from areas where they were needed more.
 

John Clifford

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This week, Bill Miller, who works out of the South Street Seaport Museum, was interviewed on the Queen Mary 2's daily "Breakfast Show".

According to Bill, the idea for the Red Hook Piers is because there have been problems with passengers getting to and from the Cunard Piers.

The Red Hook piers are supposed to make it quicker for passengers to get to and from LaGuardia and JFK Airports, and a quicker route to Newark, as Red Hook piers are supposed to be close to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, for ease of transport.

Bill said they will probably introduce ferry service for passengers wishing to proceed into Manhattan, once they disembark the ships. My advice would be to make ferry tickets complimentary for the passengers, either coming or going, or tack on a small surcharge for ticket prices on the cost of a voyage, if one wishes to receive these tickets.

The Red Hook Piers lease is through 2018.

When the Queen Mary 2 returns to New York (she left LA this afternoon, for the return portion of "The Path of Magellan"), there will be a Grand Celebration to inaugurate the Queen Mary 2's arrival at The Red Hook Piers; that will be April 5th, per a gentleman from the Brooklyn area Chapter of the Steamship Historical Society.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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Hi John, Actually the QM2 arrives back to New York or really Brooklyn,New York on April 15th.I wonder if this Grand Celebration is open to the public or is it only for the politicians such as the Borough President of Brooklyn,Mayor of the City of New York and the Governor of the State of New York and I guess it does not help me that I am a resident of the State of New Jersey even though I have taken 11 cruises with the Cunard Line,9 aboard the QE2 and 2 aboard the QM2 since September,2000 and of course I am booked go back aboard the QE2 next January and I do plan to do a roundtrip transatlantic crossing aboard the QM2 in the next year of 2007.I am willing to bet the mortgage that none of the above mentioned politicians have even been aboard the QE2 or QM2. I guess this Grand Celebration is just for the politicians and not for the public including the public that have taken cruises and or crossings aboard the Cunard Line Ships QM2 and QE2.
 

Jim Kalafus

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There was a hilarious negative review of the arrival, under the title of 'Unfit For A Queen' in today's NY Post.

A few excerpts from Andrea Peyser's review:

"It seemed fitting that the Queen Mary 2...made its inaugural landing in Red Hook, Brooklyn, on the 94th anniversary of the day the Titanic sank to the bottom of the Atlantic.

"The ship was welcomed to our shores before 5 a.m. not with champagne or fireworks- but with a public display of the white backsides of the drunken revelers outside of the Pioneer Bar, a local hangout...

"...the terminal graces a stretch of land with nothing to offer, There is not a single cafe, shop, deli or subway station within spittoon range.....some well heeled passengers seemed positively appalled....

"Nearbye, people waited like lambs to the slaughter, to board shuttle busses. But they were bound not for the Statue of Liberty or even the graceful Brooklyn Heights Promenade- but for the Fulton Mall in downtown Brooklyn. I try to warn a nice couple that this pedestrian mall is home to the $5 Rolex, incense stick peddlers and a large-lady boutique. It's great for those who dig Spandex, not genuine silk. Not Brooklyn at its finest.....

"As they disembarked, passengers were handed questionaires that asked, discreetly: "within the last few days, have you developed symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting?' Oh brother...

"The tickets of several passengers, bought months earlier, said they were to embark from Manhattan. But when they got to the Manhattan terminal, no Queen. They threatened to sue.....

>I'm disappointed, as the new terminal appears as rather blah, in my opinion...

Well, yes, and unless you are a crime buff -a lot of bodies got dumped in Red Hook back in the gangster era- as Ms. Peyser said, there is virtually nothing of interest to see or do in the vicinity of the terminal. Hopefully, the shuttle bus service was well coordinated, because the new terminal is rather remote, or at least as remote as it is possible to be in NYC.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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I still think that it was a mistake to move the Cunard operations to Brooklyn and while I do look forward to next January for when I will board the QE2 for the New York to San Francisco segment of the 2007 World Cruise,It will be disappointing to be boarding the ship docked in Brooklyn instead of the ship being docked at the West Side of Manhattan.In other news I did get Bill Miller's newsletter e-mailed to me and in his newsletter was news concerning the Panama Canal.Bill wrote "Much needed in these days of mega cruise ships and super containerships,the Panama Canal Authority has approved a 7 year project that will cost $7.5 billion to widen and modernize the canal". I have read in a cruise travel magazine that if new locks are built and that the new locks if they are built will be 1,401 feet long and 215 feet wide.If these new locks are built that means that ships the size of the QM2 will be able to transit the Panama Canal.
 
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sharon rutman

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I read a truly disgusting column by Andrea Peyser of the NY Post (www.nypost.com) entitled Unfit For A Queen (4/16/2006) in which she totally trashed the Queen Mary 2, First Peyser described the new maritime superstar as "that massive snob mover" (you can't make this stuff up!) and made a couple of snide Titanic references for good measure. Declares Peyser "I think a few folks on board might have preferred the excitement of a close encounter with an iceberg." Worse still, Peyser found the antics of a few drunks amusing as they "mooned" the ship as she came into the Brooklyn terminal. Of course, she couldn't resist bashing the passengers as she sneered maliciously: Passengers, schlepping bags that looked more than you earn in a month were loaded into taxis and buses. Some well-heeled passengers seemed positively appalled. She's clearly stuck in a 1912 mentality, convinced there are still steerage passengers in the 21st century, trapped below away from First Class. This whole thing reeks and Peyser is sick, sick, sick!!!
 
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