Conner backing N.Y.’s North Cove - Soundings Online

Conner backing N.Y.’s North Cove

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Legendary America’s Cup sailor Dennis Conner has agreed to take the helm of New York City’s North Cove to help boost its public appeal and revitalize the marina.

Legendary America’s Cup sailor Dennis Conner has agreed to take the helm of New York City’s North Cove to help boost its public appeal and revitalize the marina.

“My message to yacht owners throughout the world is please come visit New York City,” Conner says in a statement. “And when you do, please make North Cove your home. Help me rebuild this great marina into a world-class venue.

Conner is chairman of the newly formed North Cove Management. Two local business people — Michael Fortenbaugh and Jordan Gruzen — join Conner as principals in the management team. Fortenbaugh is director of the Manhattan Sailing School, which has been based at North Cove for a decade. Gruzen, an architect, has designed many of the buildings and waterfront facilities at Battery Park City, which is adjacent to North Cove.

“One of the best ways to help something come back is to get a personality behind it,” says Fortenbaugh, who assumes the day-to-day management of the marina. “Who’s bigger in sailing than Dennis Conner?”

North Cove, which opened in 1989, has been troubled in recent years. A stone’s throw from the World Trade Center, the marina in 2001 was damaged by debris during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The company that owned the facility fell into financial difficulty and defaulted on its lease the following year. The Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority, a government agency, took over the marina and has been looking for a suitable management team to operate it.

“We couldn’t make a better choice than Dennis Conner and his group to run the North Cove Marina,” says James Gill, chairman of the Battery Park City Authority. “Dennis is world-renowned for his success in the America’s Cup, and is widely considered America’s most successful sailor.”

Conner has a personal affinity for New York City, having sailed with Fortenbaugh when the Manhattan Yacht Club, the predecessor of the sailing school, was located near the South Street Seaport museum. Conner also lived in Battery Park City in the early 1990s.

Fortenbaugh says the marina’s location near the Tribeca district, with its restaurants and other amenities, is ideal. North Cove is also one of the more picturesque places in the city, with neighboring parks and esplanades.

“It’s the best location,” he says. “It’s beautiful here.”

In addition to its public awareness campaign, Fortenbaugh says the marina will offer customer-friendly service. “We’ve got the red carpet out,” he says.

Several improvements have been made to the marina and more are planned for completion before the coming boating season, says Fortenbaugh. The marina has fewer ferry waves than it has had in the past few years, with ferry traffic decreased by more than half last year. The marina has 10 slips for megayachts.

North Cove opens for business April 1 but there is an official ribbon-cutting ceremony slated for June 2. Dockage rates, slip availability and reservations can be made online at www.thenorthcove.com.