City Will Vacate Boat Marina By November Due to Deterioration; Major Reconstruction Planned

Image via NYC Parks Department.

The city says that the Boat Basin at 79th Street has deteriorated so much that it will have to be vacated by November ahead of a $90 million project to reconstruct the area and allow for more boats to dock there. The wooden dock structure and concrete foundation of the marina showed “excessive deterioration,” the city said in a press release. The number of people docking at the marina had been steadily declining in recent years. It’s not clear how many live there now.

The city will undertake the reconstruction project starting in 2023, with $60.9 million of the funds coming from the mayor’s budget and $28.3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The project was first revealed at a community board meeting covered by West Side Rag in 2019. The area will be dredged to allow for easier navigation in all tidal cycles, and all the wooden structures will be demolished and reconstructed. Some wood will be replaced by steel and concrete support structures, and floating dock pilings and the dock house structure will be elevated to protect against storm surge.

“Parks will assist all permittees in relocating their vessels to area marinas until the project is completed–all current permittees will be given priority to return to the Boat Basin,” the parks department said.

The Boat Basin was constructed in 1937.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 45 comments | permalink
    1. Via Ventana says:

      What about some new uses for pedestrians in the park? And the restaurant?

    2. Diane says:

      What about the space where the restaurant used to be?

    3. UWSsara says:

      We miss the restaurant so much. Such a great place to find some shade, socialize and relax on a hot summer day.

      Given how long it took the Riverside Park South project to get to its 2/3rds completion (years after schedule), I won’t hold my breath that this gem ever returns.

      • Boris says:

        The restaurant location was a good place to hang out but the place itself was a dump. Hope it returns with a major overhaul to the space.

    4. Lizzie says:

      Why are people still able to live on boats in the marina? The docking fees don’t cover the city’s costs, and the reconstruction is costing millions the city doesn’t have. It’s quaint, but it’s obsolete.

      • Virginia says:

        You could say the same thing about rent controlled/stabilized apartments. Which, I’m very grateful for.

    5. 72RSD says:

      Do the docking fees really make this worth the $90 million expenditure for what is basically parking for a few dozen private boats?

      I’m all for beautification and services, but surely reducing real estate taxes by $90 million for the neighborhood would help many more residents and store owners.

      Most co-ops on West End and Riverside pay over a million dollars in real estate taxes — cut those by 10% and you’d make a meaningful impact on housing costs for the whole neighborhood!

      • Brandon says:

        I don’t care at all about the marina, but a $90 million tax cut is not going to have a meaningful impact on housing affordability, particularly since the housing cost issue is really about lower-income residents.

        Put another way, if you can afford to be a UWS co-op owner, you don’t really need a tax cut, and $90 million is not going to buy very much of one anyway.

        • Sara says:

          This is actually not accurate that owners can afford high taxes. I used to think this was true but in talking to many UWSers while campaigning for Maria Danzilo for City Council, I’ve learned that there are many seniors who bought their apartments long ago and now have difficulty affording the monthly carrying costs on their fixed incomes. The rise in maintenance plus ever rising real estate taxes make for skyrocketing monthly bills. Many of them are at a point of being forced out of the neighborhood over it.

      • Truth and Reason says:

        Imagine saying that for any other area of our neighborhood. Do repairs on, say, just W 72nd St constitute tax spending for the whole UWS? Or let’s say a sidewalk needs repair on one block between Columbus and Amsterdam. Why should people who live on West End have to pay for that?

        We can’t cherrypick which upper west siders we serve. We all give into the pot, we all take from the pot — that’s how taxes work.

      • JR says:

        There are way more than a few dozen boats at the marina, and that doesn’t take into account the large number of boats in the mooring field. The new marina is going to be significantly expanded with a more efficient design with space for more boats, and ultimately will generate significant revenue for the city.

      • Jack says:

        And when the 90 million is reached by lowering taxes then what do you have ? A deficit.
        After the remodel the rates will go up drastically drawing in higher end yachts improving the neighborhood and making stable platform for more restaurants and maybe tourists attractions

        • World Peacenik says:

          Do you feel that it is higher end yachts that’s needed in the neighborhood now?

          I always enjoyed the boats docked there.

    6. EGF says:

      And yet there’s no money to help the homeless and the hungry.

      • nemo paradise says:

        The city spends roughly $3.5 billion annually on homeless housing.

        • EGF says:

          I’d be embarrassed to admit that this amount of money is being spent on homelessness and hunger. Take a walk around the city and tell me what you see is something reflective of billions of dollars being spent.

      • Boris says:

        There’s plenty of money spent on the homeless and hungry. Your comment is meaningless.

        • EGF says:

          What is truly meaningless is the amount of money currently being spent on homelessness is it’s effectiveness. My point is that it should be a PRIORITY to get people of the streets before we spend money on a marina where people can dock their toys.

          • nemo paradise says:

            How can any decent person buy a dozen roses when children are homeless? Who is so depraved that they would donate to a museum when there are people without shelter? And do you spend $100 for a dinner for two at a restaurant when you know that $100 will buy 50 nutritious meals for a homeless baby?

            How can we countenance any luxury when people are wanting? How can we justify keeping pets when humans are needy?

            Many things go into making a better world. Removing all the joy in the city will not make it a better place for those in need.

    7. Harry says:

      Why are NYC taxpayers paying to refurbish a marina used solely by private boat owners? Those who use the marina should pay for it. This would be like taxpayers paying for the redevelopment of a private, members-only golf club.

      • Boris says:

        Private boat owners pay fees to use the facility just as private individuals pay fees for other activities in City-owned facilities.

      • PM says:

        Why are NYC taxpayers paying for homeless services? The homeless people should pay for them.

        Why are NYC taxpayers paying for schools? Only families with children (or better yet, the children!) should pay for them.

        Why are NYC taxpayers paying for police and CT taskforces? Only victims of crime and terrorism should pay for these.

        etc etc.

    8. Paul says:

      Why not get FEMA to rededicate the28 million for other purposes and charge the docking costs necessary for maintenance of the boat basin?

    9. Phil Ossifer says:

      1. “The city says that the Boat Basin … will have to be vacated by November ahead of a $90 million project to reconstruct the area….;
      2. “The city will undertake the reconstruction project starting in 2023….”
      ‘Hey, you kids! Get off the grass! We’re gonna build a playground there!
      ‘In a couple of years!

    10. Boats!! Boats Boats says:

      Wow, interesting. I’d love to know more about this marina and who uses it. I walk by all the time and wonder what it might be like to live on a boat. Not something I think I ever want to find out for myself, but it’s fun to daydream.

    11. Leon says:

      I assume someone did the math on this and the revenues from those who will be parking their boats here will largely cover the cost of this project over a reasonable period of time. I think a child can figure this one out.

      Park space is a very limited resource so should be used for the maximum good. If this is largely self-supporting I am much more OK with it.

    12. RiversideBoulevarder says:

      As an owner of a boat that we have had at the 79th Boat Basin (May to November) for 20yrs, I will make a few comments.

      * The 79th Street Boat Basin is a gateway to NYC. We have met people from all over the world who have taken their boats to NYC for a visit of a few days to months. They pay transient fees to the Boat Basin while staying, they buy locally to restock their provisions, and they are the coveted tourists who visit NYC attractions and restaurants.

      * Boat owners do pay dockage fees on an annual basis. Either half year or full year. Sort of like paying an entrance fee to a NYC ice skating rink or parking lot.

      * Many of the year round dock permits are held by people who work in the city and pay taxes. BTW, living on a boat at the Boat Basin with the ferry wakes far from peaceful and calm.

      * The ferries who inefficiently run up and down (opposed to across) the Hudson have created wakes for the last 20 years that have practically destroyed the Boat Basin infrastructure. The ferries by the way are subsidized by the city post 9/11. Superstorm Sandy did more damage.

      * There is a multi-year waiting list of people who would like a slip at the Boat Basin and yes, they would pay dockage for it.

      * Yes, $90mm is a lot of money and i am not sure how they got to that number but I suspect the dredging is the most expensive part because the dredged material could be toxic (PCB’s or whatever). Some of the cost may be related to reconstruction of the West Side Highway exit which is a very complicated project. There are three levels of close to a 100 year old structure and it is all connected to the Amtrack tunnel.

      • UWSConcerned says:

        You should mention that the docks fees paid are a fraction of the fees charged by private marinas. This has always been subsidized boat docking and now it is being further subsidized to the tune of $90 million. Dockage fees should be raised to an amount necessary to repay the $90 million (plus any other upkeep charges) over the expected life of the new marina. Why should tax payers pay such a hefty amount for something that is only used by a relatively tiny number of people.

      • Boats!! Boats Boats says:

        This is so interesting. Thank you for taking the time to share it.

    13. oldtimeUWSer says:

      So I’m guessing the new marina will be ready to open around 2030 if ever

      • Juan says:

        Yup. And Cuomo probably has the chutzpah to think he will still be Governor there and able to cut the ribbon on this one as well – he is great at ribbon cutting but not much else…

        • C. Kerr Uvtruth says:

          Re: “he is great at ribbon cutting but not much else.”
          REALLY? Then what about:
          1. The beautiful new “Moynihan Train Hall” at Penn Station;
          2. The still-in-progress total renovation of La Guardia Airport’s aged terminals and roadways;
          3. The new double-span “Mario Cuomo Bridge” across The Hudson, replacing that 62-year-old horror, the Tappan Zee Bridge. Even better, it features a biking-walking lane, with stops to enjoy the view.

          • Juan says:

            You are proving my point – he is good at the big projects that get headlines and photo ops (a trained chimp could have gotten the bridge project done, particularly kicking it off under Obama).

            But he is useless at the blocking and tackling of being governor. He is too busy playing political games to show his manliness.

            Though I would take him in a heartbeat over little Giuliani.

    14. Brenda says:

      Why do we need a boat basin?

    15. Irate Partisan says:

      I wish they’d let it continue to deteriorate! Why this obsession with upkeep?

    16. Kevin Schultz says:

      I’m a private boat owner and I think it’s not well understood when discussing this project just how much this marina undershoots the market rate for dockage. The comparison is not apartment rent, because living aboard a boat is not like living in an apartment. The price is usually based on the length of the boat. 79th street boat basin charges $120/ft for the season, so a typical live aboard is paying ~$5,000 a year. Over at Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City they charge $285/ft so the equivalent boat would be paying ~$12,000 a year. That’s a pretty big difference. There’s a reason the wait list for the 79th street marina is so long. I personally think the marina should break even, I’m not sure why it’s in the public interest to subsidize a hobby like boating, and I say that as someone who enjoys the hobby of boating. If dockage fees were closer to market rate paying back that $90M cost would be a lot more plausible.

      • Leon says:

        Thank you. These are valuable data points and I appreciate your perspective on this. I completely agree. This doesn’t need to be a cash cow, but it also shouldn’t be a big money loser either.

    17. UWSConcerned says:

      Why on earth is the city spending $90 million on this? It is subsidized boat parking for a few dozen boats. There are far more deserving projects of taxpayer money, including ones that could actually generate a return or have an impact on a much greater number of people for the money spent.

    18. K. Roberts says:

      this is the chance to extend the ferry service network to include the UWS with stops in the boat basin and 125th.

    19. Joe says:

      While they’re at it, can they please make fixes to the greenway in that area, so that we can remove the absurd and unsafe bike detour that was put in place there?