More than four years after the Irvington Boat & Beach Club’s pier was smashed by a runaway construction barge, the club and Tappan Zee Constructors have settled a dispute over repair costs.
The two sides went to mediation after the club threatened a lawsuit over what it contended was $390,000 in damage caused when a barge used during the construction of the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge slammed into the pier during a May 2, 2018, storm. TZC’s insurer, Liberty Mutual, offered $85,000 to settle the claim.
Frederic Mishkin, the club’s commodore, would not comment on the amount of the recent settlement. TZC’s attorney did not return a message seeking comment.
Mediation between the club and TZC failed, but the sides were able to negotiate a settlement nonetheless, Mishkin said. “If we went to court, it was not clear legally what the outcome was going to be,” he said.
The club has been without a pier since the barge caused part of the wooden structure’s entrance off Bridge Street to break off completely and its pilings to sustain heavy damage, Mishkin said. The pier has also been off-limits to the Irvington Fire Department’s boat, he added.
The commodore remains the only club member with a boat on the Hudson River, which he reaches by kayak. “It’s hard to get boaters when you don’t have a pier,” he said.
Despite losing the pier, the club’s membership numbers have increased over the past several years, leading to its rebranding as a boat and beach club. Nearly three-quarters of its members come for kayaking, enjoying the riverfront and social events like concerts and movie nights, Mishkin said.
“When I took over about 10 years ago, the club was down to 30 members. … During COVID people were stuck at home so we had a lot of people join,” Mishkin said. “People realized how much they liked it and spread the word around, and now we have over 100 members. We have much greater use of the club, which is wonderful.”
But that doesn’t detract from the importance of repairing the pier, which not only serves boaters but provides a swim platform and place to sit near the river. “That is certainly an important function, you get a much nicer feel for the river,” he said. The club has a floating dock but it can only be reached by swimmers or kayakers.
An engineer’s estimate is the next step toward decisions about repairing the pier, which will fall to the club’s next commodore. Mishkin said he was stepping down in October after 10 years at the helm.
“We were able to pay for legal costs,” he said. “Once we’re done with everything and we’re done with the pier, the club is now in very good financial shape.”