The fifth-floor hearing room at the Department of Consumer Affairs at 42 Broadway was too small to accommodate the crowd Monday morning commenting on proposed rules to limit hawkers who trick tourists by selling boat rides that don’t go to Liberty or Ellis Islands. (Only Statue Cruises goes to the monument.)
Most of those assembled were hawkers who have been selling in Battery Park, despite city law stating that “no person” without a park permit “shall sell” or “offer for sale” in a park.
While they want unfettered ability to break the law and con naive tourists, Anthony Malone, director of operations for Pier A Harbor House, related how the con creates chaos and redirects tourists away from the park.
Tom Berton said his Manhattan by Sail bookings are down 30%. He pays substantial fees to the city to use Slip 2 for his two-masted schooner, but his customers are being waylaid in the park before they can get to his vessel.
Travis Noyes of Destination St. George, which boosts business and attractions on Staten Island’s North Shore, testified that the sellers lie about the Staten Island ferry in their pitch: That the boat isn’t free, that there isn’t a good view of Lady Liberty and that it requires a long wait on the other side to come back.
The solution: Expel from city docks all boats that rely on illegal park sales. It’s been done at Pier 36, but still needs to be done at Pier 16 and the Vesey St. berth. Enough already.