Sunday, May 20, 2018 come visit and celebrate our ship's 80th birthday! Info
PortSide connects people of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds to the harbor, with a special focus on connecting NYC’s economically and socially distressed communities. We provide transformative maritime programs (we call them WaterStories) in education and culture and a pipeline to marine jobs. Help us shape a maritime center for the 21st center, and Let us know what kinds of programs you'd like. We are expanding!
Our first ten years from 2005 to 2015, we operated as a pop-up while seeking a home. During that time, against many odds, we created award-winning programs on the ship MARY A. WHALEN and other ships, and in parks, ports, storefronts, and shipyards. In 2015, we secured a long-term place for our ship. In 2018, we are working on a business plan to expand into an adjacent warehouse that will allow us to better fulfill our vision and serve you.
Experiences for you
PortSide creates inclusive maritime programs. More below.
Visit us for a "waterfront access" experience that's different since we are not in a park, and glad of it! We are part of an authentic, dynamic working waterfront with maritime action. See ships come and go, watch the containerport cranes. Walk our pier with the most varied collection of historic and working vessels on one NYC place.
Our award-winning programs include serious subjects (Mariners' Response to 9/11) and performing arts such as the Puccini opera aboard the MARY A. WHALEN which we positioned as a containerport appreciation event. We offer maritime-themed "WaterStories" film screenings, talks, book readings and exhibits. We have programs for school students and the general public. We also create programs off our ship in parks, storefronts, industrial sites, and on other historic ships. Creating a pipeline to marine careers is part of our mission (see below). In May 2018, we launched an African American maritime heritage program.
Visit Red Hook WaterStories, our e-museum with 400+ years of coastal history plus an in-depth guide to contemporary Red Hook. If you live in our coastal city of NYC, whether you are in a flood zone or not, please read the flood prep info in Resiliency 101. You never know when you, your family or your friends will need to know how to cope with a major flood; and doing your homework once the flood is forecast is too late to prepare well.
Schedule a school trip!
Our education programs serve students from elementary schools to PhD candidates, from low-income New Yorkers to students from private schools overseas.
Job training: youth development and adults
We provide CTE (vocational) internships that develop life skills and job skills. The Williamsburg High School of Architecture & Design has been a partner for several years. We have a training partnership with the union District Council 9 that uses our ship as a training site, primarily for Local 806, the Bridge Painters. We have worked with several of their other locals.
Sandy recovery and resiliency programs
Starting in late 2012, in response to the destructive WaterStories of hurricane Sandy, PortSide stepped up to offer recovery and resiliency work for our neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn. We were honored for our recovery work by the Obama White House and the NYS Senate. Our recovery work included protecting the ship from damage, served hundreds of Red Hook people. Our resiliency work has helped thousands. After five years, we concluded that work and are now focused on own Sandy recovery project that was finally approved by FEMA in late 2017. We need to raise $26,000 (10% of the cost) to complete the project by summer 2018, so please donate!
We have a great ship cat Chiclet who attracts visitors from Red Hook and far away and keeps the ship rodent-free.
Get the satisfaction of helping make the world a better place. Join us as a volunteer. The options include shipwork, space design, architectural renderings, volunteer coordinator and more. Join us as a member of the board, advisory board or fundraising committee. Bring us your ideas, connections and energy. It's fun around here!
Awards, honors, appointments
2013 White House award “Champions of Change” for our hurricane Sandy recovery work
2013 National Maritime Historical Society "New York Harbor Historic Ship Steward Award of Excellence"
2013 NYS Senate honors for Sandy recovery work. Resolution, sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery, co-sponsored by Senator Daniel Squadron
2013 Appointed by Governor Cuomo's office to Red Hook's NY Rising committee, a statewide program to make communities more resilient.
2014 Appointed by Councilman Carlos Menchaca to the Sunset Park Task Force to advise the NYC Economic Development Corporation about development plans for the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.
2017 Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez presented PortSide with a Congressional Record citing the importance of the ship MARY A. WHALEN and PortSide programs.