Departing executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Christopher Ward hinted last week that, in his opinion at least, activity at the Red Hook shipping terminal should be shifted south to Sunset Park. He apparently knew something we didn't, because late last month the company operating the Red Hook Container Terminal was ousted and all shipping activities turned over to the Port Authority—presumably paving the way for their future relocation.
This fortnight's Red Hook Star Revue reports (PDF) that American Stevedoring, which has run the Red Hook shipping piers since 1992, is no longer in charge on the waterfront. The company's owner Sal Catucci signed over operation of the piers to the Port Authority on the evening of September 26. Since then activity has resumed as before, the most obvious changes being the removal of the American Stevedoring sign atop the main gate to the shipping yard at Van Brunt Street and Hamilton Avenue, and the disappearance of all the trucks usually parked right across from WORK Gallery at the end of Union Street. But with American Stevedoring out, the Port Authority has more leeway to move ahead with development plans at the Red Hook piers.
As the Star Revue notes, the relationship between Port Authority and Catucci has always been difficult, and American Stevedoring's most recent lease renewal in 2008 very nearly didn't happen. And, it turns out, the shipping company hasn't paid its rent since then, but has been suing the city since 2010 for not pursuing crucial federal barge funds for the terminal's operation. So, in summary, business as usual at the Red Hook piers, but now Brooklyn's last local shipping company is out of the picture and the Port Authority can do as it pleases—maybe even build a bridge to Governor's Island.