Bush Terminal Piers and Float Bridges
The waterfront behind the Bush Terminal Warehouses was home to nine piers, four of which predated the Bush Terminal. Piers 1-5 were built by Bush between 1903 and 1909 and were 150-feet wide and 1,330-1,351 feet long.
These "finger piers" were optimal for manually-loaded "break bulk" cargo but were made obsolete by containerization, which required large amounts of space for container unloading and storage. With the subsequent diminution of activity on the piers, in 1974 the city contracted with a private contractor to fill the areas between the piers with clean construction-related fill. However, in 1978, work was stopped when the contractor was cited for violations related to the quality of the fill. In 1982 the city learned that liquid waste had also been disposed of at the site, leaving it contaminated and unusable and requiring the area to be fenced off and abandoned. Between 1999 and 2004, studies were done at the site and a cleanup plan was developed. In 2006, the mayor and governor announced a $36 million plan to clean up the site and redevelop it into Bush Terminal Park, with extensive passive and active recreational facilities.
On the southern end of the pier area are two carfloat aprons at the foot of 50th Street on the waterfront. The southern #1 apron is sunk and unused, but the northern #2 was renovated in 2007 and is used to carry rail cars via barge from Greenville Yard in New Jersey.
While riding the Staten Island Ferry on a visit to the city in 2013, I happened upon a car float operation across New York Harbor.
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