The battle for the region's waterfront continued on Sunday in Red Hook when dock workers expressed their dissatisfaction with New York City's plan to remove the container port from Brooklyn and replace it with luxury condos. Local waterfront workers from American Stevedoring claim that jobs are being lost in the region due to the pressures of residential development, leaving the majority of them without a source of income. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) seems to indicate that the jobs will be retained, however EDC President was recently quoted as saying that the Cocoa employees were "the lowest-rung workers" on the docks. As long as development pressures continue and the values of waterfront real estate rise there will be a conflict with dock related economic activities writes Newsday in the following article. JB
March 6, 2006
Burly Teamsters and Longshoremen joined politicians at City Hall Sunday to demand Mayor Bloomberg keep Brooklyn's last working waterfront open for business.
Shouting "Cocoa beans, not condos," dozens of workers who unload and warehouse raw cocoa at American Stevedoring International in Red Hook blasted the Bloomberg administration for pushing the container port out of business.
The news conference and rally at City Hall is the latest chapter in the "cocoa crisis," which pits the port operator against powerful interests inside and outside the mayor's office.
Andrew Alper, president of the Economic Development Corp., the city agency that runs the terminal, was a main target of their wrath. In January, he said he is willing to allow the cocoa business to leave New York, and called the employees "the lowest-rung workers."
American Stevedoring said it employees 623 people to unload cocoa, lumber and other commodities.But next year, the company's lease expires and the city will block its renewal. The space will be used for more cruise ships and a park. Luxury condominiums are planned nearby.
Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn) said the Economic Development Corp. should lose its contract to administer waterfront operations because it is not fulfilling it mission to retain and expand such business.
NYC's Economic Development Corporation