In unexpected twist, NJ Transit pulls measure to acquire Hoboken’s Union Dry Dock

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In an unexpected twist, NJ Transit Board Chairman Richard T. Hammer announced this morning that the governing body would “defer” a measure to acquire Hoboken’s Union Dry Dock from New York Waterway for $1. 

With dozens of Hoboken residents in attendance eager to speak out against the measure, they were pleasantly surprised to hear Hammer announce that the item had been removed from the agenda.

When addressing the board, Mayor Ravi Bhalla said it was “a slap in the face to the legacy of Dr. King” to hold the meeting on today’s federal holiday in hope of pushing through “a real estate transaction.”

During an impromptu press conference in the hallway outside of the board meeting, Bhalla revealed that the city has already sent an appraiser to evaluate the Union Dry Dock property and that it will be up to the council to authorize an offer to New York Waterway.

Council President Ruben Ramos also weighed in, giving some color about the importance of Hoboken’s waterfront.

“This is something that unites all of us in Hoboken, bringing the waterfront together. When I was a boy growing up in Hoboken, we had no access to the waterfront in Hoboken,” Ramos said.

“And when New Jersey came up with a plan to make a walkway from Bayonne, over to the George Washington Bridge, Hoboken took that to heart and it’s the last piece available to us.”

Furthermore, the mayor praised 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher for helping to organize buses from Hoboken to Newark to attend the NJ Transit meeting this morning.

She said it’s easy to organize when the community is basically all on the same page.

Before heading back to Hoboken, Bhalla told the press that eminent domain would be a last resort.

“Eminent domain is a last resort, we fast going to work collaboratively and in partnership with New York Waterway to identify a reasonable acquisition price in the coming weeks with the assistance of the city council,” Bhalla said.

In a lengthy statement that he originally planned to read during the public portion of the meeting, NY Waterway Chairman Armand Pohan cautioned that his company could now be left with no maintenance facility at all.

“Last week Hoboken sent its appraiser in to inspect and appraise the property,” he began.

“If you do not act soon, and Hoboken continues its efforts to condemn, there may be no maintenance facility for the ferry system, and 350 employees and 30,000 commuters throughout North Jersey will suffer irreparable harm – and many, many more on the days when tracks fail or tunnels are blocked, or collapse.”

While he was not aware of Pohan’s point of view at the time, Bhalla said that NY Waterway has several other options for their facility, including Bayonne.

“From my standpoint, there are multiple options: there is Red Hook, [Brooklyn], there are many places further south. Bayonne has welcomed New York Waterway as an option – they have 40 acres of property owned by the Port Authority,” Bhalla explained.

“I’ve actively discussed this issue with the chairman of the Port Authority and we’ll be looking to explore the feasibility of that option. I can guarantee you: there are other options and we will find them.”

A Bayonne spokesman did not return an email seeking comment as of this writing.

At the end of his statement, Pohan called on Bhalla and Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) to work with NY Waterway on this situation in order to avoid a “transportation crisis.”

“If Mayor Bhalla and Governor-elect Murphy truly desire a more open, measured and deliberative process of site selection, then I call upon them now to slow down the efforts of Hoboken to condemn the property before this deliberative process occurs,” he said.

“Otherwise, there will be a transportation crisis which they chose not to prevent. In the meantime, I extend again – as I have already done – an offer to MayorBhalla to sit and discuss whether and how this property can accommodate elements of both public access and a centralized marine maintenance facility.”

In November, NY Waterway purchased the Union Dry Dock property from Hoboken for $11.5 million, with the council approving the city’s ability to use eminent domain if necessary.

NY Waterway is in search of a repair and fueling facility for its ferry fleet after having a corporate facility in Weehawken, 4800 Avenue at Port Imperial, for many years.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Congrats Mayor Bhalla – well done! A big Thank You to Governor Elect Murphy. Our City and State are in good hands.

    The way NJT and NY Waterway have handled this has been really unsettling. Why would NJ Transit be secretly negotiating to buy this property in the last days of the Christie administration and lease it back for a huge loss (less than the debt service)? How did the purchase price sneak unnoticed into an appropriations bill?

    Someone follow the money – this stinks of quid pro quo and has the smell of Torricelli special. I’ll bet there’s some serious bi-partisan corruption here that could be uncovered by looking under a few rocks.

  2. Thank you to Governor Elect Murphy for what obviously was big assist to Hoboken. It has to help that former Mayor Zimmer and her Administration and Mayor Bhalla all have a long standing friendly relationship with Murphy. As far as what the fair evaluation of the Union Dry Dock property will be, if NJT was willing to pay eleven and a half million dollars for the property it will be interesting to see what the appraisers come up with.
    I would think since the zoning on the property restricts residential and most commercial uses it will come in much less.

  3. For once I am in agreement with Linda Lou. Ravi showed excellent leadership yesterday and was buoyed by both Hoboken City Council and Hoboken residents in a united front. The version of Ravi that builds coalitions will have much more success than the one who supports the idea of scorched earth politics and building of enemies lists over at sadistic websites like Grafix Avenger who issued a death threat at a former City Council member just this weekend. If Ravi can keep up what he did Monday instead of over the weekend where he snubbed some City Council members in a Phil Murphy visit he can be successful. He will need to discard though the shadowy scorched advice of a few bad actors to succeed. Yesterday gave me hope.

    Zimmer had 8 plus years to make an offer on that property and for whatever reason did not make it a priority. Now Ravi I am convinced has made it a high priority and has taken definitive action. It was actually sad to see Zimmer take NJ Transit at their word in memo that they had no interest in UDD several years before. You would figure that after several years in office she wiould have realized you can’t trust NJ Transit. Very gullible behavior and based on that horrible Jackson Street PILOT we know negotiations were not her stong suit. Then again her shadow mayor husband left an email trail that might have forced a $700k settlement with Carmelo Garcia. Glad to see Ravi at least earnestly try and clean up this mess on UDD, Even better was including Ruben and Tiffanie in the press conference in a gracious sign of unity,

    Reaching out Ravi can be a good Mayor but Revenge Ravi will struggle. He should Ban the Stan (who is a bad man according to Dana Wefer) and denounce the blogging vitriol over at GA. Enough is enough.

    • you managed to get through 1 1/2 sentences before returning to your obsession with ga and then piling shade on zimmer, bhalla and stan and proceeding to your incredibly tired schtick from your dead website.

      btw, death threats are illegal. call the cops or shut your pie hole.

  4. it started looking like that because you are an angry obsessive who can’t draw flies to read your bitterness. your attempt to turn this into another imaginary death threat exposes you for the petulant butt hurt child you are. don’t get mad at me. you said let the people decide. they did.

  5. Pettiness aside, I think it’s great that we got such a good outcome.

    I also think it’s great that Tiff has adopted the facial expression Castellano used to own whenever anything good happened for the city under a mayor she didn’t like. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

    I think it’s great that Kurt still feels relevant. Why not? You go!

    I think it’s great that people who’ve dedicated their lives to battling Carmelo Garcia are now helping rationalize his closest and most loyal and trusted ally being made council president by their own friends and allies, like evangelicals learning to love porn-star romps.

    I don’t think it’s great that Brice and his blog appear so desperately lonely. This man needs help. We don’t have to like what he says and does or pretend he’s not a lying weasel, but he’s a member of our community who’s in clear need of an intervention of some sort.

    That’s what’s great in the land of great today!

    • Wow you are great Mr. Great.

      I think it’s great that you overlooked Ravi thanking Tiffanie for organizing close to 100 residents to show up in force. Even Jonathan Metsch, a Bhalla ally who has been critical of Tiffanie, thanked her but you can’t and I think that is what makes you great or ay least great at being petty.

      I think it’s great you show lack of respect by just calling her Tiff. You are not a Stanislovian misogynist are you?

      I might not think it’s great that Jen is no longer Council president but she did not want it, neither Cunningham nor Doyle did either. Would you think Mike Russo council president to be great instead? Would your gal Tiff be great? I think so but doubt you would.

      As far as my relevance goes I think it’s great I had the good sense to not run for CC. Angelo Valente spent $40 k had a big base and only got 2200 votes could not do it so I know I certainly could not. It’s great that I did not waste my time. It’s great that my relevance is related to my service to the NHSA board in my role as commissioner. I think it’s great that I am starting my blog from zero traffic and will build it over time.

      Do you think it’s great that shadowy influences and a dunce former HHA chair left a juicy email trail that may have led to a proposed $700k settlement for Garcia? I sure don’t but keep up that great nonsense you do.

      I think it’s great Roman will eventually move on from blogging. I do not agree with his national views but thought he put good effort into local issues. I think it’s great when people move on to new endeavors when the time is right.

      Enjoy your greatness. I am sure you feel that way every time you look in that mirror.

      • Hoboken will be better off when Dawn and Stan join their friends like Jake Stuiver and Keith Vermun by moving away after failing

      • Dear Mr. “Resistance”:

        Do you have friends who come from what Roman’s hero Trump called “$#!+hole” countries? Maybe you’re the one who should take a look in the mirror and ask yourself what a man whose vile views you dismiss as “disagreeing on national issues” thinks about the president’s comments. I think we both know the answer. Then ask yourself what exactly it is that you’re “resisting,” a moniker spawned directly by the nomination and election of a brown-skinned man who wears a turban as mayor. You can complain til you’re blue in the face about people thinking you’ve conducted yourself in ways that can be easily interpreted as racist, the reality is, you call yourself the “Resistance” in response to Ravi’s endorsement by Dawn and subsequent election, while at the same time dismissing and rationalizing our leading defender of a president whose reason for being in office becomes more explicitly racist with each day.

        So enjoy your “Resistance,” Mr. Resistor, and keep on telling us how Roman’s innuendos that Ravi’s election has transformed Hoboken into a haven for criminals and illegals are simply the “different” politics of someone who’s otherwise an all around good guy.

        This man needs help, not self-serving enablers. Until you see that, the only thing you’re resisting is reality.

        • Wait, did I miss something because I heard the Hoboken executive order call for international drug traffickers and human traffickers with genuflecting gang-banging invited to the Mile Square City and be welcomed free of any police interference.

          Or did I miss the part about the HPD won’t be involved for these special “immigrants” who are uplifting communities across America?

    • Roman was there when Zimmer needed him. Now she spits him out like an old cherry pit- same for Mello and other REAL REFORMERS who MADE DAWN.

      Of course nobody helped Dawn and Stan Grossbard more than Raia and Amato with Absentees and Carmelo getting her the HHA rent roles

  6. Nancy and I had a conversation this morning via phone and agreed to a truce. She took down a post that was incorrect about my ELECS and I took down one post that featured an unflattering photo of her in a public event. In addition she took down several comments on her website that were strictly personal in nature attacking me from her website. I viewed my satirical piece on her as hurtful and decided to take it down and deemed it unessential to public dialogue when I realized how it effected her. We both apologized to each other.

    I have been the subject of defamation attempts, acused of needing a blowup doll in an attempt to emasculate me and the insinuation that I am racist and misogynistic. I was not a misogynist when I voted for Zimmer and supported both Jen and Tiffanie. I was not racist when I voted Ravi three times. But that is the past. I feel Nancy in our conversation wants to de-escalate and so do I. We both feel it would be mutually beneficial so I am willing to give peace a chance. We will see if commenters can follow Nancy’s lead or not.

    The Truce is Loose!

    With that said the fact remains Zimmer had over 8 years to acquire Union Dry Dock and Ravi genuinely appears to be trying his best to stop NJ Transit’s plans. That’s the truth and not shade. When Ravi works a coalition it is better for him and Hoboken. That’s the truth and not shade. When I talk about the arrogance of The Shadow, well that is shade because he is The Shadow.

    In fairness to Ravi he does not everything under his control so I will not necessarily be critical if Hoboken fails to get this property. The deck is still stacked against us.

      • Does not matter what I think about her personally. I did not have to but decided it’s best to give this true a try. I have not given up my right to argue against false narratives like all the whining about appointments and the fact that Jen Peter and Tiffany are suddenly evil because they did not kiss Ravi’s ring.Utter BS. Purveyors of that myth do not need to be attacked personally but rather rebutted that their false narrative is devoid of reality. I called it early and the appointments went 2-7 as predicted. You can’t blame me for the post election scorched earth strategy. I was not on that campaign and did not make the decision to go negative in the last few weeks. Talk to Stan, Vijay and ultimately Ravi. How you get elected has consequences.

        So going forward no specific mention of websites or pop up posters, just a general reference to the Bhalla Blogger Zone or BBZ. There is nothing hostile or angry about referring the collective propagandists and calling them out when they are wrong. Civil discourse should be allowed so making a coded reference in response to the collective group think of the Bhalla loyalists is within bounds and still protects their delicate feelings.

        For example, one member of the BBZ thinks it is wrong to criticize Razi at all with my blog. If that is the case then should I just bow down and call him “Dear Leader”. Thanks to one erudite blogger one of the meanings of the last name Bhalla is missisle. Should I just go ahead and call him Rocket Man! I think not. When Democrats are anti-democratic they run risk of alienating voters.

        I will enjoy the banter with my new found frenemies at the BBZ – The Bhalla Blgger Zone. Strike those keypads, defend $700k settlements, attack my German ancestry, sharpen those talking points and above continue to comment on my personal life. I will persist resist and politely but pointedly call out the nonsense as it spews forth. Or you members of the BBZ can finally learn to argue and contribute to an intellectually honest debate about what policies are best for Hoboken.

        • the question isn’t loyalty to bhalla but loyalty to logic and reason. defusco and ramos are terrible leaders. forming an alliance with them is a terrible idea. changing the subject to whether bhalla’s ring was kissed rather than whether that alliance is a good idea is a false narrative that seeks to make the issue about bhalla being anti-democratic rather than judging decisions on their own merits. you continually address criticisms of jen, peter, tiffanie’s choices this way and duck discussion of the quality of the choices themselves.

          • There is no alliance. Just compromise. Getting Jim Aibel and other reformers on zoning board was more important than the planning board laison position given to Defusco. That was a win for Hoboken. Doyle and Jabbour voted against Jim Aibel but you lack an explanation for that because you can’t spin that one away.

          • Council appointments were very good for Hoboken. A win. Now that Reform was detonated for partisan politics for personal self-advancement, the idea there’s any type of alliance is purely foolhardy. It’s an open issue how Ravi will work with the council. No one is saying they will not work with him. No one but yes, he definitely did a deal with Michael Russo who is singing hosannas in the highest to Ravi. Wacky world.

            There’s been only two council meetings. So far, it looks like a continuation of the previous two years of collaboration and good government. Ravi needs to decide what kind of relationship he wants with the council and try to keep that going.

            Alternatively, he can ferment the resistance further with the scorched earth tactics celebrated by the Ravi Robots who are urging the council members who’ve performed best for Hoboken over years be replaced.

            Stupid is as stupid does and the stupidity of these Ravi Robots is not going away. Let’s hope Ravi is smart enough not to listen to them or any Shadow “in-kind” for legal considerations.

  7. False narratives are the stock in trade of self styled “watchdogs” like Kurt. As are dishonest denials of obviously true narratives like the hopefully short lived political alliance between Defusco/Ramos and Fisher/Giattino//Cunningham.

    Stupid talk about shadows, scorched earth campaigns and ring kissing does not well serve the long lost “objective reform minded watchdog” false narrative Kurt and Roman worked so hard to cultivate and then pissed away.

    • No one should stop watching government. We’ve learned this. Keep an eye on these people. I hope Kurt and Horsey do! They’ve done it the best over the last decade. No one even comes close.

  8. Please stop. The Fisher faction chose to cut a deal with DeFusco/Ramos rather than seek common ground with Doyle and Jabbour. The choice was theirs.

    Also stop lying about nobody from the “reform” side being interested in the CP job. Both Doyle and Cunningham would have taken the job if Fisher and Giattino were willing to support them.

    The public isn’t stupid so spinning a narrative so obviously untrue isn’t going to fool many people.

    • The planning board is controlled by Ravi. Doyle as reported to me did not report back to City Council when on so how is that Helpful? Defusco will not flip that board. No practical effect.

      The Zoning Board was essentially filled by reformers so that’s a good win. Phil Cohen issued more C and D variances than Defusco while on board so from a density perspective that’s a good thing.
      As NHSA commissioner Tony Soares was responsive and informative to all City Council members. I look forward to working with him again.

      Ravi did not want Jen as CC president or Defusco. He wasn’t going to get Doyle because Doyle followed Serpentine Savage Scorched Earth Shadow Stan’s divise campaign strategy and smeared Jen with super duper negative campaigning. Doyle reportedly never asked for it and Cunningham declined it. Jen didn’t want it either. I guess you wanted Mike Russo? Stop the insanity.

      Ramos as Council President could benefit politically from this but the next Mayor’s race is 4 years away. You better hope Ravi does not get arrested like Cammarano because Rubenwill become acting Mayor. But Ravi is the greatest thing since sliced bread so no chance of that happening.

    • You talk a lot of gibberish. The council is working well today. Emily just arrived. She has to figure out how to navigate around the Ravi-Russo alliance.

      That’s no good for Hoboken. Everyone be careful and keep watch on them!

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