Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Red Hook Graving Dock Update

This Thursday July 27th from 6 to 8 pm, the Save the Graving Dock Committee in Red Hook will host a community meeting about the fight to save the Erie Basin Graving Dock. What’s a graving dock? It’s a very big ship repair facility in which the water is drained out so people can work on the ship. The Erie Basin graving dock was in operation until 2005 until the land was bought by IKEA.

The Brooklyn Eagle reports that IKEA plans to fill in part of the graving dock to construct a parking lot, while preserving the rest as a historical marker. Graving dock advocates, however, point out that the number of such facilities in the New York area is declining rapidly, thus putting the shipping industry at a hardship. For example, the cost to NYC to repair DEP sludge boats that move partially treated wastewater has gone up 25% since the Erie Basin Graving Dock closed.

The discussion will be moderated by Carolina Salguero, PortSide NewYork’s founder and director. PortSide NewYork hopes to convince IKEA to keep the graving dock in operation on site with their new store. They say “we believe we can have a big box store AND keep an essential piece of maritime infrastructure working.”

Also, in a shameless plug, some of you may remember that Brooklyn Ramblings has been working on a photo series in and around the graving dock. Part of the graving dock area was used by trucks to load shipments from the docked boats for the next leg of their journey. Marshland has crept up around the trucks’ concrete blocks, with stands of reeds sprouting between concrete and metal pilings. Sea birds alight on the small marshy pond in the middle of the shipyard. The concrete blocks have become museum walls for some of the best graffiti artists in the city.

Trying to get to PortSide for the meeting? It’s right next to Fairway.
Waterfront Museum Barge
Foot of Conover Street [map] -- it shares an entrance with the new public garden.

No comments: