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GOP to use Cruise Ship for NYC Convention


JosephB
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Maybe all the "cruisers" will be taken ill, as so many have been lately, and all the chefs of New York can say "Ah Ha! We told you so, bastards!"

hee hee..i was thinking the same thing.

Edited by tryska (log)
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Let's see what we can do to keep this discussion on-mission for eGullet, which is to say: about food and the food business. Insofar as we would like to talk about how the GOP's use of this boat affects the NYC restaurant economy, we're doing okay.

Needless to say, this discussion brushes up against a whole host of topics that don't fall under our umbrella. That's the nature of the beast. As a result, this thread will be on a fairly tight leash with respect to staying on topic lest it devolve into political sniping for/against the Rebublican Party and other things of which the Committee on Un-Gullet Activities would not approve.

So, let's keep it about food, or we might have to feed this topic to the ferrets. :biggrin:

--

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Having been to a few conventions (on the Democratic side) it seems to me like this will be a drop in the bucket in the overall scheme of things.

The delegations from each state have already picked or been assigned their hotels. Most delegations stay pretty close to their base hotel. This was especially true in 2000 in LA with everything so spread out. There will probably be a little movement between hotels in a more compact place like New York but most rank and file delegates will stick to their own state events.

Another big group of attendees - the media - won't be anywhere near the ship.

This would probably mostly be a venue for VIPs and fundraising events, essentially taking the place of one hotel out of the twenty or thirty that are being used by the rank-and-file delegates.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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The food on even the best cruise lines (and NCL is not at the top of the industry) is inferior to that served at a typical two-star New York restaurant. Likewise, the guest rooms on cruise ships are the only guest rooms in the universe that are on average smaller than those in New York hotels. And the rooms are more expensive on the ship than at the hotels.

I wonder, will any delegates actually choose to stay and dine on the ship? It doesn't add up.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well foodwise, which is what we care about here, it's clearly a bad decision. Cruise ships, in stark contrast to the city of New York, are not generally known for their fine cuisine. And among cruise ships, this one didn't even make this list of the top 70. One of it's sister ships, the Norwegian Sky, just barely made the overall top 70, with dreadful food scores.

A friend and long-time DC area resident claims the local dining scene was more alive during the Clinton administration than it is now. I don't know if this is true or not, but the hammer doesn't seem to put much value on interesting dining.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Now the Democrats, they know how to contribute to New York's restaurant economy. My personal all-time culinary achievement award for the party goes to the invention of the $19.92 lunch program when the convention was held here.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I wonder about the security issues. Would a cruise ship be a more or less likely terrorist target? Is the security easier? It might just be safer for the rest of the city.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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I wonder about the security issues

Perhaps they will send out decoy ships in other directions. :smile:

I do think that despite this slight to New York, virtually all of the delegates will make a big show out of going down to Ground Zero. Then again ALL politicians are guilty of this, it's party independant.

What I do wonder is perhaps if they might be contracting out with New York restaurants to cater on the ship. That would balance some of this out.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Maybe they just wanted a private place where they could be together, eat, drink and cut up without photographers everyplace ?? :unsure:

Probably right. It was my first reaction: get away from the media.

I imagine some is an immature political game over pork (not the good kind, like bacon) as well. From the article:

Immediately, the proposal was viewed by many political insiders as another episode in the increasingly hostile relationship between Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. DeLay. In October, Mr. Bloomberg called on wealthy New Yorkers to avoid giving donations to any member of Congress who does not help New York. He singled out Mr. DeLay, saying, for example, that he had made a proposal to change federal financing formulas that would cost the city $300 million in federal transportation aid.

As a Republican, DeLay isn't my favorite representative of the party. But people like him are probably necessary evils keeping the minions in line and the fat cats well greased. There are certainly plenty of them in both party.

Well foodwise, which is what we care about here, it's clearly a bad decision. Cruise ships, in stark contrast to the city of New York, are not generally known for their fine cuisine. And among cruise ships, this one didn't even make this list of the top 70. One of it's sister ships, the Norwegian Sky, just barely made the overall top 70, with dreadful food scores.

But you do have free room service 24/7 and buffets galore on cruise ships (at least the one I've been on). To many people that's more important than quality.

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Not only a bad deal for the city but a worse deal for the delegates. I can't imagine myself sitting inside of a dead ass boat, that won't even leave port, and chowing down.

While just off the gang plank is some of the finest dining in this country, if not the world.

I'd be AWOL from that floating hunk of tin, before you could count three.

woodburner

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Not only a bad deal for the city but a worse deal for the delegates. I can't imagine myself sitting inside of a dead ass boat, that won't even leave port, and chowing down.

While just off the gang plank is some of the finest dining in this country, if not the world.

I'd be AWOL from that floating hunk of tin, before you could count three.

woodburner

Yes, that aspect of it doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to me. I suspect the real business will be taking place in the local restaurants in private dinng rooms.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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If I were a restaurant owner or hotel GM, I would be annoyed at this plan as the whole purpose of bringing the convention to NYC was to bring additional revenues to the city.

But as a Manhattan resident, my philosophy is "stick 'em all on boats. I don't want those extra crowds making it more difficult for me to go out." I hate when dignitaries come to the city as they turn the whole place into gridlock central.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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What I do wonder is perhaps if they might be contracting out with New York restaurants to cater on the ship. That would balance some of this out.

Not likely. Most cruise ships won't even take on local produce, no less local caterers.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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If I were a restaurant owner or hotel GM, I would be annoyed at this plan as the whole purpose of bringing the convention to NYC was to bring additional revenues to the city.

But as a Manhattan resident, my philosophy is "stick 'em all on boats. I don't want those extra crowds making it more difficult for me to go out." I hate when dignitaries come to the city as they turn the whole place into gridlock central.

Townies everywhere in the world have mixed feelings about tourism. New York City couldn't survive without tourism, but of course large waves of tourism make it hard to get into restaurants, etc. Then again the restaurants wouldn't be here without those big injections of capital.

It should be said in defense of NCL and the other cruise lines that they provide tremendous revenue to New York City. 51 weeks out of the year they are bringing people into the city. For 1 week, if 1 ship competes with the local hotels and restaurants, I can't really see the harm in it. However, as a symbol, it's clearly a bad move.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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What I do wonder is perhaps if they might be contracting out with New York restaurants to cater on the ship.  That would balance some of this out.

Not likely. Most cruise ships won't even take on local produce, no less local caterers.

Is that necessarily true if the ship is docked though, especially in a domestic port? I know I might be confusing practices aboard a cruise ship with one of those smaller "party boats" people sometimes rent, but it seems to me that a.) the boat isn't docked in Mexico or somewhere else where they may risk bringing on something which might make fat rich Americans sick b.) they seemingly are just using the boat as an alternative to a hotel, except with a crappier kitchen

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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The issue, as I understand it, is that most of these cruise lines are fanatical about sanitation (when you board a ship these days you need to apply a hand sanitizer and they have a crewman stationed there to make sure you do it) far beyond the normal standards that a local catering operation might use. They get 100% of their product from a short list of approved vendors, and it's typically routed through a central facility for inspection. So for example no matter where the ship is in the hemisphere, all the product might get shipped to Florida, consolidated, and then put in a container and sent to wherever the ship is docking that week. There are exceptions, but in all the cruises I've ever been on I only once ever witnessed food being taken on locally and that was lobsters in Maine on a New England cruise. But it was on a small line with only one ship. The mega-cruise-lines don't usually do it.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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In New Orleans during Carnival there are often cruise ships in the river during carnival (an oddly enough, motorhomes on Barges!!?? :wacko: parked at the end of Canal St) being used as hotels. Nobody cares much as they are usually just filling overflow or part of a cruise that would otherwise be out somewhere else. They are used as floating hotels and it seems that the attraction is to be off of the boat and out and doing in New Orleans, not sitting around looking at the Riverwalk from your stateroom balcony. They are also required to pay daily fees plus our local hotel tax. I would think that the situation would be much the same in New York. Even conventioneers are bright enough to know that the bright lights and good food of the Greatest City in the World are more interesting than the inside of a cruise ship and a pre set menu (or maybe they are not that smart, but I am giving them credit anyway).

It looks like the issue here is whether or not these conventioneers are taking their business to a package deal rather than to individual restaurants and hotels. Does the City of New York collect sales taxes and port taxes from ships docked in New York, or is that a state and federal remittance only? I cannot imagine the city does not levy taxes on these ships, because if they don't it looks like this is the only tax free travel situation in New York. If the city is collecting tax, The Republican Sailors are not exactly hurting the city financially, especially if New York has the equivelant of the hotel/motel tax.

I could be wrong here (and probably am) but it seems like this is pretty much a situation of much ado about nothing. These people are going to most likely spend money off of the boat (someone elses money, but money just the same) and the only thing that will be directly hurt (at least in an easy to count, tangible way) will be the hotels that are out x number of reservations.

I do agree that after all of the rah-rah flag waving we have all endured from both sides of the aisle in the last two years that this move seems to be in particularly bad taste (and politically shortsighted), but I'm not Miss Manners and I don't live in New York, so that is up to others to judge.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I'm curious about what they'll be eating aboard ship. I bet a lot of prime rib and about a ton or two of U16 shrimp.

I'd like to see "crow" on the menu.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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So for example no matter where the ship is in the hemisphere, all the product might get shipped to Florida, consolidated, and then put in a container and sent to wherever the ship is docking that week.

The home port for most of these cruise ships is Miami, at least the ones which have activity in the Caribbean. All the major cruise lines are headquartered there. Basically at the beginning of the trip all the stuff is sent onboard from the receiving docks there (they have their own warehouses) and they get a lot of it frozen.

http://www.theportofmiami.com/travel.htm

The NY and European based ships which do transatlantic probably get a lot of it shipped to NY such as Cunard and Norwegian. They have seasonal routes which keep them on one part of the atlantic at different times of the year.

EDIT: The ship in question, Norwegian Dawn is based in New York (sumer/fall) and in Miami (winter). It is apparently the only ship which makes rounds between New York, Bahamas, Port Canaveral (Florida) and Miami. So apparently it is entirely normal for the ship to dock in NYC for extended periods.

http://www.portcanaveral.org/floridafun/cruise/ncl.htm

http://www.senate.gov/~schumer/SchumerWebs...es/PR02158.html

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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To those just entering the fray, here is a synopsis of the story thus far:

The House majority leader, Tom DeLay, plans to use the luxury cruise liner Norwegian Dawn as a floating entertainment center for Republican members of Congress and their guests at the upcoming GOP convention in New York city.

DeLay's move has, not surprisingly, infuriated many New Yorkers because the use of this ship could draw conventioneer dollars away from NYC restaurants, hotels and other businesses. Furthermore, as the NY Times article says, “the proposal to remove visitors from the hubbub of city life has been broadly received as a slight — a suggestion that the city's hotels and restaurants, not to mention its people, are not quite good enough for Republicans from out of state.” There have also been suggestions that the GOP would use the ship as a way to duck the strict NYC and NYS antismoking laws.

The feeling among many is that this move on DeLay’s part may be another round in the increasingly acrimonious relationship between the Majority Leader and New York City Major Michael Bloomberg. The mayor has in the past suggested that New Yorkers should not give political donations to any member of Congress who does not support New York, and has singled out Mr. DeLay in making his points.

Mayor Bloomberg remarked to reporters, “We have plenty of hotel rooms, it's a safe city, it's the safest place you can be almost with a lot of people around you, is right here in the streets of New York City, and why you'd want to be away from that, I don't know.”

The general feeling seems to be that DeLay's proposal has the effect of taking revenues out of a struggling NYC restaurant/bar market at the same time the GOP seeks to build political capital on the memory of 9/11.

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