Brooklyn’s $1.1 Million Dock Wastes Away In Sheepshead Bay

Birds gather on the Eco Dock in Sheepshead Bay. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)
Birds gather on the Eco Dock in Sheepshead Bay. (Photo: Alex Ellefson / Sheepshead Bites)

You may have noticed a new dock appeared in Sheepshead Bay this year. Lashed to the railings along Emmons Avenue, the floating metal and concrete pier hosts no boats — though it has become a favorite leisure spot for some of the water fowl.

The humble floating structure is a failed $1.1 million project to build the city’s first “Eco Dock” to provide educational and recreational activities at the 69th Street Pier in Bay Ridge, the New York Times reports. When the pier opened in 2013, officials boasted it could withstand even a Sandy-sized storm surge, while having a minimal impact on the environment.

Yet the new dock barely lasted one season before the gangway snapped off and was never repaired. And when the steel pilings supporting the structure collapsed this winter, the dock was towed to the calmer waters of Sheepshead Bay, according to the Times.

When officials celebrated the opening of the Eco Dock — officially called the American Veterans Memorial Pier — City Councilman Vincent Gentile, who provided $800,000 for the project, said it would provide “years of public programming, from educational and recreational activities to small-business boosting tourism cruises,” according to a Parks Department press release.

The rest of the funding came from the offices of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. For the one season it opened, the dock was a hit. It hosted historic ships and kayak lessons for school groups, the Times reports.

“The real shame of the situation is how loved and used the dock was for the time it was up,” Roland Lewis, the president and chief executive of the Waterfront Alliance, told the Times.

The Waterfront Alliance, which partnered with the Parks Department to provide programming at the pier, blames shoddy construction by nautical engineering firm Ocean and Coastal Consultants for structure’s swift demise, the Times reports. They noted similar piers in New York Harbor — including one operated by the New York Fire Department in Staten Island — are holding up just fine.

A Parks Department spokesperson told the Times in a statement the agency has no timeline for repairing the dock, and is currently waiting for design proposals before moving forward.

In the meantime, the dock is collecting bird droppings in Sheepshead Bay, and serving as an expensive perch for the neighborhood’s feathered residents.


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