NEW YORK CITY PRESSES PORT AUTHORITY FOR RENT

NEW YORK CITY PRESSES PORT AUTHORITY FOR RENT

The city has taken a first step toward suing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for $4 million in back rent and fines for the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island.

The notice of claim filed Monday charges the authority with violating a contract and neglecting the New York side of the harbor. More than 80 percent of the cargo that passes through the port is handled on the New Jersey side of the harbor, and city officials fear New York's share will shrink further.They point to the Howland Hook terminal as a symbol of their fears. The 187-acre container-handling facility, just north of the Goethals Bridge where Staten Island approaches New Jersey, has been idle since United States Lines

went out of business in late 1986.

The city is owed more than $3.8 million in back rent and more than $77,000 in late charges, according to Michael P. Huerta, the commissioner of New York's Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce.

A spokesman for the port authority agreed that the city is owed money, but said the amount changed when United States Lines went out of business.