This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Official opening of Pier 36 on the East River for the Belgian Line. Commissioner of Public Events Richard C. Patterson speaks that this gathering symbolizes the positive relationship between Belgium and the city of New York.
Patterson introduces Leo Brown to speak. Brown notes the importance of Prince Albert's presence at the event. He notes the cost of the wharf - $700 million. Brown speaks of the many benefits of this facility and its lovely aesthetic and functional design.
Next, Governor Rockefeller speaks, addressing the crowd in French, then moving to English to talk about the pioneering project of working with the Belgian Line to create Pier 36.
Andre de Spirlet of Belgium then speaks about the relationship between the Belgian Line and New York City.
Finally, Mayor Robert Wagner speaks about future plans and the role of government and industry to realize Pier 36.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 5787
Municipal archives id: T1371
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Earlier today the official dedication of Pier thirty six on the East River in Manhattan for the Marine aviation department of New York and the Belgian line took place your city station recorded the ceremonies for broadcast at this time as a public service to open the program here is Richard C. Patterson commissioner of the Department of Public events of the city of New York Mr Patterson it is today. Truly historic ceremony that we are gathered here for. This magnificent period designed especially for the Belgian line is not only a great facility for shipping but a symbol. Of the affection in which bells ring is held in the United States the gathering here today symbolizes the public as well as the official interest in which this dedication is taking place your literature and the. Reports indicate the great cost and the splendid engineering which brought this modern terminal into being this proud installation. Vance of friendship and the commercial relations between ourselves and the great. Nation of Belgium for many decades to come our harbor commissioner the distinguished and highly successful Leo Brown who presides over Marine and aviation halls and honored place in this program and this complex of docs is a major major obvious foresight and accomplishments so I have high honor in presenting to you that a stand wished a missionary a Marine an aviation around. Thank. You Bassett or Patterson reverend clergy secretary Connor govern Iraq scholar Mr it is a distinguished guests law and my friend the presidents of His Royal Highness Prince Albert of the Belgians and of such distinguished guests from the both sides of the Atlantic which are here on this day as and in the audience here today make this a most impressive dedication ceremony of an outstanding waterfront facility to our good friends from Belgium I should like to say that it is the earners hope of the city of New York which I represent as its waterfront because Dodi and that you will find this seven million dollar war completely up to your expectations. This place is big enough to Howes all the members of your growing family of beautiful ships that will be using your New York home at one time of course if overcrowding should occur then we shall be happy to build an extension in fact space has already been reserved for just this eventuality by the purse but Keisha say exactly it is of the Belgian line in building wharf type terminals the city has created a new look for its East River waterfront with a furnace with a bowl of water facility right next door ten old finger type pairs have been demolished. In time existent plans look to a similar type of rehabilitation to be carried all the way down to the battery transforming this historic part of the city from its gay nineties asked back when the boat was bricks of clipper ships arched over South's great to the computerized area era of the soaring sixty's of this century in choosing this body for its location the Belgian line of the undoubtedly considered carefully all the factors that would prove most beneficial for its operation I do not know whether the similarity which now exists with their own Boston Leopold in the port of van were entered into their consideration but I have been struck somewhat for my own personal observation by a definite likeness when viewed from the East River now both water front have lateral periods in Antwerp the graceful fire of the famous cathedral rises in the background while the inspiring United Nation's Capital dominates the East River skyline Thus I feel that all Belgian will here have a home away from home that should give them a very comfortable and pleasant feeling this compatibility will be even more pronounced when officers and crew members come ashore to enjoy the amenities of the very fine quarters which the company has provided for them and which match those on their splendid new vessel Belgians are traditional a traditionally happy and thoughtful people taking pride in providing for the comfort and well being of others. Not only the officers and crew but everyone who was fortunate enough to come into contact with these new and up to date facilities the men who work in the offices those who operate the handling equipment on the pier itself and the truck drivers who will not have to spend long hours on traffic choked greets to pick up or drop their loads should find life made infinitely easier for them in this facility this installation one can say to is as that equally beautiful it is beautiful in the sense that it is so well fashion and so well designed to carry out all the functions for which it was intended made the Belgian line prosper and succeed in all its undertakings here beyond their own expectations their truly deserved may all those who labor here and in this community find in this new pier thirty six to me means for attaining personal happiness and gracious living thank you very much. Now I have the high privilege representing you were the first citizen of New York State Danimal Nelson Rockefeller. Thank you Mr Ambassador most and your. Secretary commissioner Brown distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen most Anos S C A good simple new and also my. I want busy old were so well. It is indeed an honor thank you very much. That isn't there an honor to welcome Prince Albert and his eminent countryman on this occasion of such great mutual importance Your Highness was indeed a most gracious host when I last visited Belgium two years ago. And you come to us now with great good will existing here in New York both for you and the Belgian people as a whole. This new cargo handling facility for the Belgian line should help to bring about a rebirth of this section of New York City waterfront once historically the center of New York's waterfront activities upwards of three hundred fifty thousand tons of freight are expected to be handled each year in the three birds of this term and the impact on the economy of this immediate area will be very substantial indeed I would also like to take this occasion to thank the Belgian government and the businessman a Belgian for their help in assuring the success of New York State's international commerce program. In less than four years this program has been responsible for one hundred thirty five million in new export sales for New York State manufacturers and farmers this represents seven thousand nine hundred new jobs for New York state workers the wholehearted cooperation extended by the Belgians when we opened our State Department of Commerce office in Brussels in one nine hundred sixty three was extremely helpful in getting this very important program underway and we have continued to receive much help from our Belgian friends this was the first office of its kind to be established by any individual state of the United States to expand its foreign trade and I believe that it may still be the only one this was a pioneering project but one in which we had the fullest confidence this confidence has now been clearly justified by the fact that in these few years we have already exceeded our original objective of increasing New York State export trade by ten percent we originally chose to locate this office in Brussels as the headquarters of the Common Market and for its convenience as a central location again our confidence has been more than justified by the results our international commerce program under Commissioner Keith McHugh's leadership has been warmly received everywhere in Europe only recently it was welcomed enthusiastically in the Far East in Asia as the result of a very busy and fruitful trade mission by Mr McHugh and his able to Rector of international commerce Howard Macpherson the close community of interest between Belgium and the United States has lasted for centuries for Belgians were among the earliest separators in New York State. Today for the ties are cemented and bonds of friendship and mutual mutually advantageous Commerce the Royal Highness may I stand our gratitude for your distinguished presence and I thanks to the Belgian people thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. For going out front of. The chairman of the board of companion maritime valves in this John Gray despair Lay is the central figure in this ganti enterprise the responsibility for the success of commerce between Belgium and New York is here is and the distinguished board he presides over so I have high honor of presenting here Mr Andrade a spell a. Thank. Most in your. Business or a beast of government of commission of excellence is ever known clarity distinguished guests ladies and gentlemen it is indeed to educate privileged I enjoyed today even though I kept my C.D.'s chairman of the bow of corp and you married him bail. To greed all these may be able a cage and so many hunting officers of your county and mine is unique and fact of. I should like to emphasize is that the presence of the spoil I know explains Albert of Belgium I value so much is a further proof of his deep interest. In the destinies of the Bajan mansion might mean a permanent ambassador of patients following Tate Ivy's to welcome also. JOHN CONNOR secretary of commerce of the United States of America we know that he smoked the finest duty's own so embrace problem of the I mean. We own so feel gratitude codified you know having on your midst the S. and P. appointed me soft spot agent of Belgian. Bank which to my mind I oftentimes the imposed on he ends up paying some government attached to the welfare and development of my action I mean I am also deeply touched by July the tendency of today of plans of the bed and light. To my county and company by the message to say. Javits and Kennedy and many other really long lingering. Bided joy. Overwhelming me other thoughts of the significance of the even. Of the centurion Go we started. To go sell these. To the Port of New York and we continued to operate same through all the years they had activities where I'm pretty fight already doing. When we send a few ships from Congo to New York. The Vega life sailings where Aine secured between New York and Congo. In nineteen hundred forty six zero companies generally known to date named Beijing lying I've been located in the course of the years all clean and not. It is the first time. A Bond meets spatially designed to meet the exigencies of death date and of a quiet moments to stop most deceptive and he succeeded you to do anything on a level of a walking a matter of the city of New York and of the owner of a little boy on the mission of the Department of Aviation who spent no effort to habitate important. And generally to promote foreign tape to the best of their abilities I would like here to stray so much reality. Throughout this venture to ask them to summon bad state of eighty's in the sleigh I wish to thank the mission of bone and governor. For the kind of express just know and I do not doubt that. Of prosperity even bring good luck to our east river undertaking then you'll facilities Bajan line is offering to the plate with better meat shape us and consignors I like to avail themselves of it only we know that she too waited in the art of downtown New York Times through the conception of this new terminal. I believe that my companies can look forward to does a successful operation and to boarding of their activities it might be up to me to stay as a fact not on the other end in onto a parallel facilities are offered by off both in the station I gating and how they are of hundred seventy acres and feet with a large number of sheds providing way of housing possibilities for whatever sort of comedy there's a covered space among two thousand three hundred years when setting up the brain the primes of both ends we have been pumped up by the desire not only to facilitate the task of everyone who will daily make use of their various installation eyes or ask the stomachs of staff workers of any hunger but also to reduce. Cost of roading as did challenging cargo we figure that on an average all out of every dollar of faith. By the veteran fifty cents. Based even knowing and that will cost less and I did terms too awfully consisting of the pain of sqlite strips are fully up to two or the requirements of the North Atlantic and African Tate's by a very fortunate coincidence one vessel of the city's name read a book pleasantly alongside the stamina was sponsored by. Queen Fabiola of the Belgians. In conjunction with our associates. Gallop of eating in addition to the lines salving New York they get off salaries to the Gulf of Mexico West and East Africa let's see depression gold and the east coast of South America all fleet drilling already do a bulk of the US up there is on four hundred seventy dollars and they do it tons The average age of all vessels he's barely seventy years may end conclude just a few of us by expressing my own or the attitude to all of you for having but your presence here shown your sympathy for bags and I and you up the Zeeshan Ford a continuous efforts you gotta making to see the date and Fost of the Linea lesions between you and the donkey and bench and I thank you thank you thank you Mr despair late now the next distinguished and final speaker is a man whose approval at interest on behalf of the city of New York did so much to erect this monument to commerce progress and peace and I give you the distinguished chief executive of the city of New York the on about Robert F. Wagner. Which the Pattison rep and members of the clergy Your Royal Highness have in Iraq Fallon secretary Connor minister of transportation and then the officials have the Belgian line. Representatives of the shipping industry through ALEC Chopin representatives of labor through heavy Gleason and are excellences ladies and gentlemen. We have come to this pier today to mark a magnificent achievement one year and eleven months ago I stood here at the controls of a floating Derrick. Which swept away the old parish to make room for the new Belgian line terminal the day that terminal is completed in fact the Belgian line moved in early last month well ahead of schedule. I believe this is a truly beautiful development and those who will remember the appearance of the six crumbling Piers which were here will agree that the city in the Belgian line have considerably impute prove the view along the East River and as Mr Gleason said far more useful in the Planning Commission problems this is a major achievement for New York City because the reconstruction of our waterfront facilities adds much to our city's vitality here thirty six is the fifteenth new commercial waterfront facility to be completed since nineteen fifty five the year in which this two hundred million dollar program began and the leadership of then so kind of at that time and carried now now by Leo BROWN We have added thirty one deep water ship berths and over four million square feet of space for cargo handling cargo storage and Pier operations and we will be constructing four additional berths and more terminal space but projects such as pay a thirty six hour not the work of government alone far from. To carry out this project required foresight confidence and hard work above all on the part of the Belgian line in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Albert of the Belgians attest to the great significance of this new terminal we are honored by his presence and diagnose it is the highest compliment to the city of New York the officials of the Belgian line and government and of the line who are present deserve as congratulation I know that the transportation minister Mr Irvine distinguished them basta and counsel general join me in praise of this splendid addition to New York's East River and to Belgians international achievements the East River has played a long and distinguished role in the history of New York shipping it has been the cradle of our poet and this new side of the Belgian line termino as a three hundred year record of activity in the city's commerce and in the commerce of the United States and this is very ancient by our standards during these three hundred years of history there has been years of decline but in recent times we have witnessed renewal development and growth developments such as pay a thirty six in the new furnace with a bow whether. Newsprint terminal to the north south sustaining with rental payments covering the costs of interest in a motor is ation for the new peers. That's even on fiscal grounds Pier thirty six the Belgian line terminal a magnificent achievements I was happy to be present at the beginning of this project two years ago I am happy to see it its completion today and I shall be happy to watch it as a private citizen after the first of the year in operation and I know that the eight million New Yorkers join in my sense of satisfaction on this occasion Thanks for sharing. Thank you very much Mr Mayor. I thank you for coming in to this ceremony and the tribute you have just paid in being here to the. Commissioner Leo Brown this meeting is adjourned you have heard the dedication ceremonies of Pier thirty six on the East River the event which took place earlier in the day was broadcast at this time by your city station as a public service and now we join in chamber music time.