Restore Dyckman Marina

Boo! La Marina is Still Haunting Inwood

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“Parks is continuing conversations with the appropriate regulatory agencies regarding changes to La Marina’s operations. As a result, valet parking has been suspended until further notice (our July 20, 2018 letter to La Marina provides formal notice directing them to stop valet parking). Parks will continue to communicate significant operational changes in La Marina’s operations with the community board.

– David Cerron, Assistant Commissioner for Concessions and Internal Audit, August 2018

After the monumental multi-agency raid on La Marina in July, one might be forgiven for thinking all has returned to normal and Dyckman Marina had been restored to its rightful uses.  One would be mistaken.
For while SLA disciplinary hearings are still pending, a dozen concerts were quietly relocated, and the valet parking was temporarily removed, problems were still occurring on the site.  Besides longstanding irritants like patrons’ smoking, or improperly using the docks for jet-skis, major moves were underway in August, September and October to restore the money-making concert function.
Without any approvals from any city agency (as would be required by law), the concession erected a new greenhouse structure over the north patio.  This allowed the hosting of large concerts, thereby circumventing the post-raid ban from Parks on outdoor concerts on the “beach”.
These were initially held on Friday nights, and became increasingly large over time, spreading to not only the greenhouse, but the restaurant building and a new stage on the south patio.
The climax was an enormous concert on October 10, which La Marina itself promoted, for Vicente Garcia.  The NYPD shut down the site midway through the concert for overcrowding, not surprising given that the combined legal capacity of the restaurant and patios is less than 600.
oct10 concert.jpg

When questioned how concerts could have returned to a site where concerts are strictly prohibited, a Parks Department spokesperson deflected that:

The musical performance about which you wrote about took place in the lounge area of La Marina, and not on the beach.
Um, “musical performances” are contractually prohibited anywhere on the site.  And when you build an outdoor stage just for the concert, kind of stretches the whole “not on the beach” ban.  I mean, what exactly do you call this?  By the way, did La Marina pay a percentage of the ticket sales to Parks, as required by their contract?
While Parks was mismanaging the reappearance of concerts, they were also letting slide the ban on valet parking, which remember, has never been legal anywhere at or near the site.   Sometime in September, Valet Parking reappeared.  A Parks spokesman stated in response to a query that:

Parks has informed us that they have approved 8 parking spots for La Marina (directly along the fence line in the turnaround, we have an aerial photo). Valet parking in these spots is NOT permitted. Parks has authorized La Marina to offer valet parking, on a trial basis, that is detailed below:

Valet attendant will stand in front of La Marina. Patrons will pull up and give the keys to valetValet will take the cars to a parking garage. No valet parked cars in the street.
First of all, Parks has no right to grant the authority for a valet parking stand on a public street.  It’s flat-out illegal unless DOT approves, which they did not.  And guess what was directly observed during events in October, in addition to the use of a garage down the block?
These events in October were not open to the public, either, but rather were “private events”.  Only thing is, La Marina cannot close this public parkland site to the public without first getting approval from Parks and posting a notice in advance.  From their License Agreement:
sec 10-25 not close to public
The “public hours of use”, per section 10.2 of the agreement, run from May 1 to October 31.  It is therefore a violation to be closing the site to the public without notice, nevermind parking cars all over waterfront that is supposed to be accessible to the community.
Parks could not properly administer the concession before the big July raid forced their hand.  They are already slipping back into mismanaging it mere months later.  What will 2019 bring?
Restore Dyckman Marina. PERMANENTLY.

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