Hurricane Sandy left an estimated 40,000 New Yorkers with damaged or destroyed houses, many of whom still haven’t been placed into temporary housing. One Copenhagen entrepreneur, however, has a nontraditional idea to house all of those displaced victims: pull a couple cruise ships into the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and let them all stay onboard until the housing situation was resolved. Mayor Bloomberg, unsurprisingly, has not exactly taken to the idea, according to boat broker John McCarthy.
The operation would be costly–McCarthy is asking for FEMA money to gas the boats for their trip across the Atlantic, and for about $100 per person, per day, for upkeep. But McCarthy points to the amenities the ships’ “passengers” would enjoy. “These people deserve a break,” he told the Brooklyn Paper, detailing the ship’s catered meals, maid service, and video game room. “So what if its a little luxury for a few months?”
But Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz confirmed that the ships were off the table after speaking to Brad Gair, Bloomberg’s housing recovery chief. “He said he has gotten rid of the option completely,” he said. “He said he had experienced this in Katrina and he’d rather have it on land then on water.”
After Hurricane Katrina, FEMA paid $236 million to Carnival Cruise Lines for a similar arrangement, a move that was widely criticized at the time.