December 3, 1999
Another New York City official objects to putting USS New Jersey in Bayonne
By CAROL COMEGNO
A top New York City elected official has objected to a proposal to locate the battleship USS New Jersey in Bayonne, adding to the growing opposition to that site.
U.S. Rep. James Saxton, R-N.J., announced here Tuesday that New York City Council Speaker Peter F. Vallone has asked the Navy to put the ship museum in Camden.
"Camden's newly refurbished Waterfront, which is already attracting thousands of tourists weekly, is also just a short, five-minute ferry ride from downtown Philadelphia," Vallone said in his letter. "The more preferable site is Camden. This would allow the New Jersey to benefit significantly from the tourist potential of Philadelphia while avoiding any unnecessary competition with maritime attractions already existing in New York City."
Vallone now joins four New York congressmen who in recent months have sent similar letters to the Navy -- all essentially agreeing a large warship attraction in Bayonne would have a negative impact on the existing aircraft carrier USS Intrepid museum in Manhattan.
The Bayonne site, backed by the New Jersey Battleship Commission, is at the end of a closed Army pier that is being converted for commercial use but as yet has no new business or entertainment attractions.
"I love New York City, but it's crystal clear that New York City does not love the notion of putting the USS New Jersey in Bayonne," Saxton said.
"By contrast, Philadelphia, the fifth-largest city in the nation and birthplace of the Navy, has wholeheartedly embraced the battleship museum in the Delaware River where it was built."