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 & Director


PortSide NewYork conducts advocacy work via conventional forms such as testimony, and we are particularly known for creating programs which display the diverse ways the waterways (Sixth Borough or BLUEspace) can be used.  Via the latter, we "show by doing" and for this reason have been dubbed a "do-tank," something more than a think-tank. Both talk and action are how we fulfill our mission to be a living lab for better urban waterways.

PortSide believes that our urban our waterways should be more than just something to look at: the water is a resource that should be used for transportation, recreation, education and cultural inspiration, and workforce development. 

A major focus of our advocacy work is speaking on behalf of boats and ships of all types.  This can have us advocate for vessels of the working waterfront, tall ships, historic ships and/or recreational boats.  PortSide also advocates for cooperation between user groups on the waterways and between the working waterfront and entities seeking public access. We also encourage NYC's new waterfront parks to be more boat-friendly in terms of their design and management and to grow water-related programs.

Other ways we directly shape policy are our resiliency work on Red Hook's NY Rising committee (see the Recovery+ Resiliency tab on our website) 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

We encourage all of you to read the plan and engage in the implementation process so the vision becomes real.  Due to the large size of the plan, even at low resolution, it may be easier to download it in segments here than as one file here.  More on Vision 2020 on the NYC Dept. of City Planning website.

EDC's action component of Vision 2020  Economic Development Corporation's Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES)


1992 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan, updated by Vision 2020  

Waterfront Revitalization Program  

New updated Waterfront Revitalization Program
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


Select PortSide testimony submitted to the City Council Waterfront Committee

10/8/15 Testimony to EDC regarding proposed Citywide ferry DEIS

3/20/15 Testimony regarding the Port Authority Cross Harbor TEIS

3/16/12 "Transforming NYC's Waterfront - one year update on Waterfront Action Agenda (WAVES).  PortSide led an effort to have this hearing have a major focus on the needs of historic vessels in NYC.  Here is PortSide testimony, and see our blogpost for more testimony about this hearing which generated much impassioned advocacy on behalf of historic ships. 

12/14/06 South Brooklyn Working Waterfront
(oversight hearing by the Land Use Subcommittee Landmarks, Public Siting, Maritime Uses and the Committee on Waterfronts)                        

10/31/06 Rules of the Road, sharing the waterway

2/13/06 General waterfront issues

6/15/05 Regulatory Obstacles to Waterfront Development (the DEC) includes a discussion of DEC policy's effect on Red Hook, Brooklyn.

1/12/05 Waterfront Employment

Other PortSide Testimony:
        PortSide comment on plans for"Public Place" on Gowanus Canal
        PortSide comment on spring 2007 redesign of PS 15 playground