Glen Cove approves new licensing agreement for yacht charter company
The 2022 season is already looking better for a Glen Cove yacht company that weathered 9/11, the 2008 financial crash and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Glen Cove City Council last week approved a new licensing agreement allowing Eastern Star Cruises to use the city’s new ferry terminal from May 1 to April 30, 2023. The terminal, which was envisioned as a departure point for commuters to Manhattan, is available because no other ferry service operates on site.
When the company moved to Glen Cove in 2019 from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, it was smooth sailing as the husband and wife team of Nick and Laurie Smollett Kutscera established themselves at the terminal. Then the coronavirus threatened to melt their business.
“In 2019 we were building a reputation on Long Island, and at the end of that year it looked really promising for the following year,” Laurie Smollett Kutscera said.
The pandemic shut them down completely in 2020 and last year they resumed operations, but the events were smaller, she said. The company received a $20,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan under the federal COVID stimulus package, according to Newsday’s PPP Loan Database.
“We just had to start over,” Smollett Kutscera said. “So hopefully this year things will start to open up.”
The temporary license “will not materially interfere with the proposed future ferry service,” the agreement says.
“They’re back and they’re ready for business and we’re excited about that,” Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck said. “It’s a beautiful boat.”
The company agreed to pay $18,000 for the year in monthly installments of $2,500 in the summer and early fall and $500 per month in the winter and spring. The annual fee has increased since it was first approved in 2019 to $15,000.
The yacht can hold up to 70 passengers, and three- to four-hour cruises cost between $6,000 and $20,000 depending on party size, menu and other variables, Smollett Kutscera said. Last year, chartered cruises were more reserved for family parties of 20 to 30 people, she said. This year they are receiving inquiries and bookings for more corporate events and parties of 40 to 60 people, she added.
“I think we’re out of the woods,” Smollett Kutscera said.