MILL BASIN – On Sunday, a group of Mill Basin residents met up in the parking lot of Nick’s Lobster House to protest the planned arrival of Sheepshead Bay’s party boats in their neighborhood.
Holding signs with “No Booze Cruise Welcome” and “Not In My Backyard,” the group rallied with State Senator Roxanne Persaud and Assemblymember Jaimes Williams, along with a host of other community and local political leaders.
The news came as a shock to the community last week, when Mayor De Blasio’s office announced the change via email, without consulting any of the residents of the new neighborhood. In a release about the protest, Assemblymember Williams called the decision a “sneak attack,” criticizing the Mayor’s “subterfuge” in foisting three of the seven notorious party boats on the quiet residential community.
“The location was once home to the repair of other large vessels which had to be moved due the residential capacity of the area. It did not work then and it cannot work now,” said Williams. “The fact that this Mayoral administration would allow these infamous booze cruises to be docked in this community without the input or bare notice to the community is shocking to say the least.”
The strip of Flatbush Avenue where the boats are believed to go has no parking, bathrooms or even trash cans—offering no solution to the issues that plagued Sheepshead Bay for years.
Politicians are also quick to mention that no Environmental Impact Study has been commissioned or even discussed.
Local Councilmember Alan Maisel (D-46) was supposed to meet with representatives from the Mayor’s Office about the move on Monday, April 30, but the meeting has been postponed until Wednesday, May 2, he said.
“They haven’t shown up yet,” said Maisel of the party boats, “Nor will they.”
Currently, the location for the boats, along Flatbush Avenue just north of Nick’s Lobster House, has construction chain-link fence and concrete crash barriers between the water and the road. Maisel has concerns about the site’s readiness.
“I don’t know what they’re going to do,” he said. “But they’ve got to do something to be able to dock the boats there and let people on and off safely.”
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to stop them before they do any actual work,” he said.
State Senator Persaud voiced a similar sentiment in her remarks from the rally, stating “These boats will not find a home in our backyards, and to deprive our residents of the ability to be heard is a deprivation of the tenets of our due process.”
Assemblymember Williams was most pointedly critical of the Mayor during the process, promising to fight as well: “Out voices obviously don’t count according to the Mayor’s actions… We will not acquiesce so easily; we will explore any and all remedies that we may have available to preserve these pristine waterways,” she said.
A video clip of State Senator addressing the crowd at the protest can be seen below:
A petition opposing the move of the party boats to Mill Basin started circulating online yesterday and can be found here.