PortSide is a think tank AND a do tank

We advocate, and we show by doing.  PortSide will create a new kind of maritime destination in NYC, and with it, create a new model for how to bring urban waterways to life.  A place bustling with water-related activity where PortSide grows synergies between the community ashore and the community afloat.  

Here, authentic maritime and creative Brooklyn meet. It’s a homeport and community center that serves the immediate neighborhood that we deeply know -- and is a major magnet for visitors by land and sea.  It is a maritime center that looks to the future, not the past.

Here, we grow our programs in visiting vessels and culture and education and job training and resiliency and preservation and expand.

Here, our ship is a daily attraction. Visitors admire tugboats docked while their crews are ashore for groceries. Tall ships visit. Adults come for evening movies, book readings and talks. Kids come for school trips, TankerCamp, maritime-themed birthday parties, summer internships or for quiet study time in our maritime reading room.  

Youth learn boat building and sailing. Adults take classes for a merchant marine license.  Visitors admire our collection of Red Hook artifacts, the physical companion to our digital museum Red Hook WaterStories.  Our changing BLUEspace exhibits illuminate waterfront issues, art, maritime and marine life topics.  Our store sells books, bait and tackle, and you can watch the Erie Basin tugboats come and go over a coffee in our café.

Homeowners, planners, and students visit the resiliency library with flood prep info (expanding on resources in Red Hook WaterStories) that makes this major topic accessible.

Our ambassador, the historic tanker MARY A. WHALEN, comes and goes as she brings PortSide programs and our BLUEspace vision to other communities and brings their BLUEspace to life.

Our advocacy work is the think tank rendition of this vision and energy

We speak for boats of all types.  That includes vessels of the working waterfront, dinner/charter/excursion vessels, ferries, historic ships and/or recreational boats. 

We advocate for cooperation between user groups on the waterways and between the working waterfront and entities seeking public access.

We encourage waterfront parks to be more boat-friendly in terms of design, management and programming.

The seam between water and land should be a porous membrane with people and things coming and going across it. Not only would that make the most useful waterfront, it would also make the most interesting and fun one.
— Carolina Salguero, Founder & President

Select presentations & testimony

Waterfront Policy recommendations submitted to the de Blasio transition team "Unlocking the potential of NYC’s waterfront, A progressive road map for the Sixth Borough."  These were publicly released in May, 2016. 

Portify as we fortify. Don't let Sandy drown a good idea. Our president Carolina Salguero argued in a 2016 presentation at AIANY that we cannot let post-Sandy resiliency plans drown the good ideas of Vision 2020. To activate our waterways, we need apertures, not solid seawalls. 

Other ways we directly shape policy are our resiliency work on Red Hook's NY Rising committee and work on the Sunset Park Task Force shaping the NYC EDC for the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT).

Vision 2020 - NYC's new comprehensive waterfront plan

11/12/10 PortSide input to Vision 2020  During 2010, NYC conducted a year-long process to create a comprehensive waterfront plan. This was the second such plan in the City's history, and it updated one from the 1980s. The name reflects the commitment to update the plan every ten years, so this plan is in effect until 2020.  More...

Select PortSide Testimony to the City Council Waterfront Committee

Select PortSide testimony to other entities

This is the generation that will be known as the generation that rethought the city’s relationship to the waterfront. We have an opportunity to get it right, and we think that a cultural center like PortSide with a home on the working waterfront will be a great place to do that.
— Tim Ventimiglia, Museum Designer advising PortSide