LETTER: Hoboken ‘attempting property theft’ to keep NY Waterway out of Union Dry Dock


In a letter to the editor, Hoboken resident Joshua Sotomayer Einstein says that Hoboken is resorting to “attempted property theft” to keep New York Waterway out of Union Dry Dock and wants his name removed from a petition that opposes their plans.

A rendering from New York Waterway of what their ferry refueling and maintenance site would like like at Union Dry Dock.

Dear Editor,

I would like my name removed from the petition to Governor Murphy urging him to side with the Mayor Bhalla’s attempt to steal the Hoboken dry dock facility owned by NY Waterway.

After delving into the facts and talking with representatives of NY Waterway, Fund for a Better Waterfront, as well as elected officials, I have come to the conclusion that the petition and associated public campaign being waged against NY Waterway is misleading and counterfactual.

The most glaring falsehood is the constant refrain from Fund for a Better Waterfront and Mayor Bhalla that the dry dock is a refueling station. The property, which was purchased by and legally belongs to NY Waterway, is commonly known as the Union Dry Dock and has the past and current use of the property in its name.

Supporters of the attempted property theft would rather mislead the public by conjuring up dystopian images of a leaky oil tanker docked along the water front rather than a modern-day dry dock on the property and the improved community amenities NY Waterway has offered.

Having visited Weehawken to see NY Waterway’s current location, built completely on barges and subject to the currents, the lasting impression is that the status quo is unsustainable.

A sustainable dry dock facility requiring land is clearly needed long term Hoboken had one for sale.

Of course, one of the many other inconvenient truths the writers of the petition and Mayor Bhalla want everyone to ignore is that the city as a legal entity, could have purchased the Union Dry Dock when it was for sale.

Moreover, it could have attempted to use eminent domain before the property was
purchased by NY Waterway.

It did not, rather only after the property was purchased did the sky-is-falling crowd begin their hysterical attempted scare campaign that because 5% of the water front will remain the same as it is has for decades, the water front is somehow now in danger.

Another tactic the pushers of this property theft take is that of misdirection. They imply the fishing, kayaking, and the skate park are under threat but fail to explain how.

They want the public to take it at face value that continuing to be near the dry dock is unsafe, but fail to explain how the neighbors of any of NY Waterways properties or its current temporary dry dock outside of town have been negatively affected.

They do so not only because there is no negative community impact, but because that the reality is that not only will NY Waterway not impact the skate park but that they have offered to put in a new pier for fishing and viewing and a kayak launch so kayakers no longer have to wade into the Hudson.

Rather than inform the public of the facts and letting people decide for themselves the authors of the petition and Mayor Bhalla have constructed a scarecrow-like strawman that at a distance resembles the truth but falls apart as upon close inspection and examination of the facts.

For these reasons and more, please remove my name from the petition.

Joshua Sotomayor Einstein

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  1. I find it hard to believe you did any research since NY Waterway’s own website describes the fueling operations that are intended. Trucks delivering fuel in a residential / park area more than once a day.

    The impact to water activities near the location is related to volume of boats and the work going on with them. According to NY Waterway’s own drawings, the site is intended to host at least 17 ferries. That kind of traffic, water churn, debris, and potential fuel and waste spills is a threat.

    If the current location has no negative impact on the surrounding properties, why are they trying to foist it on Hoboken? The drama of NY Waterway being evicted from their location is a crisis of their own making. NY Waterway’s owners also own the property that is “evicting” the ferry company. Even they themselves don’t want it around their developments.

        • We don’t want to go into the Ravi-Russo stuff more today, right? They have a good deal in place and Ravi will not run a candidate against Russo. But what do the Feds have to say about this? Maybe a little help to get Ravi out of the deal wouldn’t hurt?


          • Boys of summer. Russo invited to city hall. I’m very important. Kmart underwear. Terror flyer. Good government council. 10 minutes to Wapner.

          • There’s only one ticket this year: the Ravi-Russo Alliance ticket.
            Stay vigilant Hoboken. Ravi Bhalla killed Reform but we will fight back against Ravi-Russo!

  2. Unfortunately, Mr. Epstein’s narrative is informed in part by the false claim repeatedly made by Tiffanie Fisher, Ken Giattino andike DeFusco that the property has been readily for sale for it’s FMV $11-12 million) for many years, and the City just didn’t bother to buy it.

    Here in the real world, UDD was demanding about double the FMV, while seeking to obtain the right to build high density residential. Since the dry dock was a functioning iconic business that could not be easily and inexpensively moved to another location, the use of ED was problematic until the business was closing down, so their was no realistic way for the City to obtain the property for a fair price.

    Perhaps the 3 Councilpersons should consider the fact that the false narative they have peddled playing politics with the issue has been picked up by NYWW and their spokespeople like Epstein.

    The 3 should also consider (and acknowledge) how indefensible their actions were in 2017 when they played politics with Zimmer’s request for ED authorization, delaying the final vote until after the election, thereby allowing the sale to NYWW to be completed before the authorization was finally given. They openly admitted their actions were rooted in politics, and what can be more political than using an upcoming election as a reason for inaction, when the mayor clearly advised them that the issue was urgent.

    Fortunately, Mayor Zimmer over the years acted decisively to respond to threats and ensure that future opportunity to acquire the property for a fair price for open space was not lost, and Mayor Bhalla has acted decisively now.

    • That’s not what you said earlier. You said UDD was too expensive because it would cost about $13 million. Hoboken has other costly infrastructure problems with water pipes exploding everywhere and the disaster that was Washington St. It was a choice and Dawn Zimmer did not make a bad one.

      But you’re literally fabricating all over this issue. There was no opportunity to execute any ED in 2017. At that point, everyone was well aware the ED powers of NJ Transit were in full control. Hoboken’s City Council went through the wasted exercise anyway and then rescinded in the face of NJ Transit’s superior ED power.

      So that’s a complete lie and nothing you say is credible Nothing. Time to move on and deal with the present-day reality. Playing politics over what the former mayor did or did not do is a waste of time. Let’s handle the bad hand handed to us and the current mayor and move on.

  3. “Joshua”, you have an awful lot of detail and insights in this letter, are we to really believe that you are simply a concerned citizen? You’ve eloquently summarized all of NY Waterways’ talking points, hmm.

    Something smells fishy in then there waters…

  4. Sorry Doofus – I never said anything about $13 million – where the heck did you get that from? FWIW the historical record I described is easily documented.

    I know facts are difficult to digest when you’re in the making stuff up business, but Councilpersons are held to a higher standard of truth than doofuses.

    • Yeah, you did tell people UDD was not worth the money when Dawn Zimmer was mayor and wouldn’t be purchased because the owners wanted too much money. Then years later in 2017, you helped promote the lie on Ravi Bhalla’s mayoral campaign claiming the City Council could have claimed the property when their EDD action couldn’t prevail. You are flailing away with lie upon lie and it’s rather pitiful. What’s more troubling is you are hurting and distracting from all the good work Dawn Zimmer did. You should stop and be grateful the legal quagmire with Carmelo Garcia is over and you don’t have to do any deposition or trial. The bill went however to the poor folks at the HHA. That’s not a good $750,000 look.

    • Blah blah blah. Spin way all you want Stan. The fact is your wife dropped the ball and couldn’t juggle more than a few things at a time.

    • Forget Union dry dock. We need protected bike lanes on Washington Street. Yep you heard it right I Phil Cohen am calling for protected bike lanes on Washington Street. How out of touch am I to proposition such a thing? Answer is very.