Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Update on the Docks

The resolution passed by the Common Council last night, authorizing the mayor to enter into a license agreement with the Hudson Sloop Club for the docks in Henry Hudson Riverfront Park, contained the following statements: "The in-kind management services shall include, but not be limited to, making the dock available for two boats operated by Hudson Cruises (pontoon boat Lil Spirit and Spirit of Hudson). The Sloop Club shall work with Hudson Cruises to make the dock available for the vessel Marika to the extent practicable consistent with the Sloop Club's use of the dock for community purposes."

About an hour ago, this message appeared on one of the Facebook community boards:
Guy and I wish to thank you all for your tremendous effort to ensure the bidding process was fairly conducted and that our story was accurately shared with the citizens of The City of Hudson and our region. This country runs on the voice of the Minority and the will of the Majority.
We are sorry that our 17 years of service was insufficient to find in our favor and, quite frankly, it stings a bit.
Having said that, we wish all of you a very happy and healthy 2021.
A Noor Rahaman
Hudson Cruises


  1. it is my understanding that they can continue to operate the cruises. not sure what their issue is unless it is that they did not want to allow anyone else access to the dock.

  2. Yes, it must sting when Hudson Cruises can’t have everything. That certainly explains the company’s previous conduct at the City Dock.

    Let me explain to Mr. Rahaman the more legitimate sting felt by city residents.

    The September 2011 “lease” allowed for “the docking of one tour boat and one water taxi.” Additionally, “[the] tenant shall leave sufficient room on the dock for the docking of another large vessel.”

    Unfortunately, our Corporate Counsel at the time, Cheryl Roberts, was unaware of the Public Trust Doctrine. She not only drafted an illegal “lease,” but failed to specify that the publicly owned facility must not be locked against the public. (Later, another of her “leases,” this one to the HPBA, was also deemed illegal and invalid.)

    Then, in the summer of 2013, and completely out of the blue, Hudson Cruises unilaterally added another large boat, the Tahiti Queen, the owner deciding on his own to use the entire City Dock never mind his [invalid] lease:


    By 2015, with a new city attorney, the City substituted a “license agreement” for the former “lease,” an attempt to satisfy what shouldn’t have been allowed at the publicly owned dock in the first place.

    Acknowledging ongoing public protests over the dock’s locked gate and the fact that the terms of the lease were simply ignored to favor a third boat, the 2015 agreement specified “non-exclusive use of the licensed premises and [tenant] shall not lock the gate to the dock and/or otherwise impair access to the dock by members of the public.” The agreement was “for the docking of one tour boat and one water taxi.”

    After another year of continuous public complaints, a temporary license was drafted in May 2016 “for the non-exclusive use of [the dock] for the docking of a tour [boat] and a ferry [water taxi].”

    This new license was to be renewed on a monthly basis, but by June 2016 the license was already being issued automatically. There was no one in City Hall to whom the ongoing complaints mattered, which only emboldened Hudson Cruises to take more liberties.

    Before summer 2016 was out, the greatest of these liberties was Hudson Cruises’ new giant boat, the Marika, which suddenly appeared and took up the remaining half of the City Dock for a total combined length of 170 feet. Agreements be damned!


    Thanks to successive and feckless city governments, the pushy and bullying Hudson Cruises enjoyed several more summers hogging up and also locking the entire City Dock despite the long-established conditions stated in serial leases and licensing agreements.

    It’s marvelous to finally be rid of this bad-faith tenant (since 2003!).

    I have every confidence that the Sloop Club will change our waterfront for the better. But considering the conduct of outgoing tenant, that won’t be very hard to achieve.

  3. How community minded was Guy Faulkenheimer of Hudson Cruises when he objected to the Common Council amending the Code, as it did at §65-2(B), to allow for the sale of alcohol at special events in the waterfront park?

    From the Council Minutes for June 20, 2006:

    “Chairman Thurston reported that the City of Albany generates considerable income from the sale of beer and wine at its waterfront events.”

    To which Mr. Faulkenheimer complained that as a lessee of the City “he has a license to sell alcohol on board, which he does at large events such as Flag Day. He felt that the City would be in competition with his boat tour business …”


    Of course it was later determined that Faulkenheimer’s “lease agreement [was] not a valid means of providing permission for such use of waterfront property” (CC Minutes, 5/17/16, p. 165).