Making a splash with a grand opening
Story and photos by Sandra E. García
Despite the many who visited in these last weeks, La Marina had not yet “officially” opened – until this past Wed., July 18th, when the new waterfront restaurant on Dyckman welcomed guests, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Deputy Borough President Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, former City Comptroller William C. Thompson, among others, to a ribbon-cutting that marked a grand opening five years in the making.
While a bank of gray clouds hovered, it seemed nothing could deter the high spirits of those in attendance, who enjoyed cocktails and menu selections from Chef Pierre Landet.
“If you like food, if you like fun, this is the place to be,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This is a spectacular view at the edge of Inwood Park, and La Marina is really going to be one of the hotspots of New York City. This is like having a Caribbean beach right here in Manhattan.”
New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat recalled a time when La Marina was far from a resort-like destination.
“This is a beautiful complex and I commend the team for putting this together,” said State Senator Espaillat. “I think [the owners] are sensitive to the community needs, it provides jobs and is a great venue for first-class events.”
New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez also lauded the team behind the new culinary destination.
“The leadership of this place is committed to keep the quality of life above everything,” said Councilmember Rodriguez. “I have no doubts that thousands of people will have the opportunity to come here every week.”
Fernando Mateo, one of La Marina’s proprietors, was cheerful throughout the night, thanking his staff, Community board 12, the 34th Precinct officers who helped during the establishment’s build-out, and the Parks Department.
But he reserved his most effusive praise for the wives and families of those involved.
“Thank you for putting up with us while we stayed out her all night building our dream,” said Mateo.
Zead Ramadan, member of the Community Board 12’s Parks and Recreation Committee, was impressed.
“You’re at sea level, so it can’t get any better than this,” said Ramadan. “We hope to always collaborate to make sure that this section of the community is doing well.”
Zahaira Curiel, who visited for the first time this past Wednesday, said La Marina had exceeded her expectations.
“I was born and raised in the Heights and we have been waiting for a venue like this to open up for so long,” said Curiel.
“It’s magnificent. The food is great; the drinks are better. We deserve a place like this uptown.”