'Queen Mary 2' stars in end of the New York pier show

The piers that for decades have welcomed luxury vessels on Manhattan's West Side have become such a disgrace of unwelcoming concrete and cement that some of the cruise companies have had enough.

Ships owned by the Cunard and Princess lines are to start making a sharp turn to starboard in New York harbour to dock, not in Manhattan, but rather Red Hook, a long-neglected waterfront neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Scheduled to inaugurate the new pier yesterday was the 2,200-passenger Queen Mary 2.

Carnival, the parent company of Cunard, hopes its passengers will suffer less frenzy at a newly painted customs hall and terminal that until recently was a cargo shed. On the downside, ships will no longer sail almost beneath the Statue of Liberty - and the cab ride into town will be tortuous and none too picturesque.