Restore Dyckman Marina

Is History Repeating Itself?

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 “We are very cognizant .. with the last concessionaire there were some problems with amplified music and disturbances of the neighbors…. To go back, we are very conscious of the fact that no one creates a disturbance.”

Parks Dept. Director of Concessions Charles Kloth, testimony to the Franchise and Concession Review Committee 9/8/2008 .

 

The prior Dyckman Marina concession was closed in 2006 after a massive drug bust by the NYPD and multiple late-night disturbances.  At the time, the New York Times article on the shuttered marina included such passages as:

Tubby Hook Cafe, 2003

The Tubby Hook Cafe in 2003 (CRDM)

The marina was a mainstay of the neighborhood, and Mr. O’Rourke was known for staging salsa and merengue concerts. Those gatherings sent sounds echoing off the Palisades across the water and bred a satellite party scene along Dyckman Street, where young men would park tricked-out cars vibrating with bass. The noise provoked constant complaints from neighbors, occasionally leading the police to restrict car access to the end of the street.

and

The Parks Department said that it planned to solicit proposals for a new concession at the site, and that it would ensure an end to the late-night parties.

From the same article, an opinion on future use that turned out to be representative of many in the neighborhood:

A deeply tanned angler who would give his name only as Rafi, one of many who fish for perch and eels near the marina, watched Mr. Stone forage on Tuesday amid the splintered debris. “Before, this was only rocks and stuff,” he said. “To me, it should be a city marina, and a little park for the kids to play. If they make a restaurant, make a nice place where you can come, relax, see the river and not have to pay a couple of hundred bucks.”

And so, after conducting an RFP process for a restaurant and marina, Parks officials gave testimony in 2008 to the effect of:

“We are very cognizant .. with the last concessionaire there were some problems with  amplified music and disturbances of the neighbors…. To go back, we are very conscious of the fact that no one creates a disturbance.”

And yet today the concession is known far and wide for scenes like this:

At the year-old restaurant in Fort Washington Park, at the end of Dyckman Street in Upper Manhattan, two D.J.’s, working opposite ends of the property, cranked up the volume. Patrons ordered bottles of liquor, starting at $130 for rum and rising to $12,000 for a methuselah of Champagne, equal to five bottles, to secure a table on the terrace.

and

Late night concert, 2013

Late night concert, 2013 (DJBoris)

On Saturday, however, the two D.J.s, one supplemented by two live drummers, played until 1 a.m., the music emanating from a series of high-powered speakers on elevated poles. Neighborhood residents said it was a common practice.   Even some New Jersey residents have complained in online forums that they are bothered by the noise. And while La Marina is separated from nearby apartment buildings by the Henry Hudson Parkway, as well as train tracks and parkland, some Inwood residents say they cannot escape the thump-thump of the bass.

Meanwhile the traffic congestion has caused police to close all surrounding streets during weekends for three summers in a row in an attempt to restrict car access and keep traffic moving.  According to one 2012 report:

Despite the restaurant’s effort to alleviate traffic pressure with its valet parking system and a deal with private parking lot for overflow, traffic is snarling along Dyckman all the way to the edge of the exit ramp for the Henry Hudson Parkway on weekends.  At least eight traffic police have been assigned to the area Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, according to the NYPD.  

Did history just repeat itself?  The only way to avoid the problems of the past is to restore the concession to the uses that were intended in the approved documents — a restaurant and marina.

 

NYPD at the Concession, July 13, 2014 (Instagram)

NYPD at the Concession following a shooting, July 13, 2014 (Instagram)

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