UPDATE (4:45 PM) – The Mayor’s press office has confirmed that three party boats will move to Mill Basin the last weekend in May, meaning Memorial Day Weekend, though “the final details surrounding the new docking locations are still being worked out.”
And the impact on the surrounding area? “We do not believe an environmental impact study is required,” said the Mayor’s press office.
MILL BASIN – After a frenzy of activity in response to the surprise announcement from the Mayor’s Office that the infamous “party boats” of Sheepshead Bay would be moving to the residential enclave of Mill Basin, things have calmed down a bit.
Though residents protested at the proposed location on Sunday, April 30, with speeches from elected officials, the real meeting came, after a number of delays, late last week.
Councilmember Alan Maisel (D-46), along with members of the community board and representatives from Mayor de Blasio’s office, sat down to talk over their concerns on Friday, May 4.
“We met and made our case,” Councilmember Maisel said today, from his legislative office in Manhattan. “Now, we’re waiting for them to hear our pleas.”
The councilmember is concerned, first and foremost, about the proximity to residents in Mill Basin. The narrow channel would put the loud party boats practically in the backyards of his constituents, seriously impacting their quality of life.
But there are logistical hurdles to consider as well, like parking or pedestrian access to the quay. Mayor’s office representatives suggested a shuttle-bus for partygoers as a possible solution to traffic snarls, but didn’t provide details about where the buses would run to or from, or where passengers would park their cars.
“This was not a well thought out plan,” said Maisel. One of the frustrating aspects of the whole situation was the lack of warning or due-process, he said.
“The de Blasio administration says ‘transparency, transparency, transparency,'” said Maisel, “But transparency wasn’t part of it at all.”
An important takeaway from the meeting was a revised timeline for the arrival of the boats. Although Councilmember Chaim Deutsch was eager to make a late-April announcement that the party boats would be leaving his constituents in Sheepshead Bay, it looks like the deadline he gave of May 1 wasn’t entirely accurate.
In last week’s meeting, Mayor’s Office representatives said that the boats would be moved in late May or early June, Maisel said.
This theoretically gives the Mayor’s office enough time to make the necessary upgrades to the Flatbush Avenue pier or to work out any of the myriad unanswered questions about the change, but it also gives the community time to fight.
So far, a petition in opposition to the party boats’ arrival in Mill Basin has about 250 of the 1000 signatures that residents are looking for.
Councilmember Maisel also said he and local elected officials are planning to file a lawsuit in opposition to the boats’ arrival.
“They’re not giving us any answers,” he said. “It’s insane, the whole thing.”