Authorities still have not recovered the vehicle that witnesses claim plunged into the harbor off of the 69th Street Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge in the early morning hours of Monday, November 6. They also have not found its driver.
Onlookers reported seeing a black sedan, potentially a BMW, crash into the water off of the pier at around 1 a.m. Monday morning after blazing through a maze of tables and past the pier’s famed 9/11 monument.
The vehicle was reportedly able to access the pier – which is open only to pedestrians and cyclists – thanks to a missing bollard (or, protective barrier) that, locals claim, was knocked down last year and never repaired or replaced.
“While a determined driver could enter the pier (trash trucks and police vehicles often do) the missing barrier provided a virtual invitation to drive onto the pier,” wrote one concerned reader in an e-mail to this paper shortly after the incident occurred. “I was constantly amazed that it was never replaced and wondered if there would eventually be an incident with an unauthorized vehicle. Now this.”
The incident – which authorities still know very little about – occurred less than a week after the deadliest terror attack in New York City since 9/11 in which a motorist mowed down at least a dozen pedestrians and cyclists (killing eight) along the West Street bike path on October 31.
Weeks before the terror attack, safe-streets groups across the city had begun to meet with the NYPD in hopes of upping car-stopping safety equipment highly populated areas – like the Pier – across the five boroughs. Almost immediately after the attack, the city and state began installing barriers at 57 access points to that bike path between the Battery and 59th Street.
“I suppose we should be grateful that the driver didn’t opt to do it in the middle of the day when the pier was crowded with people,” the reader continued.
According to Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, both the bollard and the protective fencing around the pier were replaced as of Tuesday, a little more than 24 hours after the car reportedly went off the pier. Beckmann also noted that, despite the fact that some bollards are meant to be removable to allow for emergency vehicles to access the pier and/or surrounding construction, she was surprised that the barrier had been down for so long.
“I’m happy to hear that it’s been replaced,” she said, adding that, in terms of the Monday incident, the currents at the 69th Street Pier are notably strong. “I’m very surprised to hear that nothing has been located.”
Meanwhile, the lack of recovery results have also perplexed local law enforcement, with a police source going as far as to call it “very mysterious.”