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, 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.
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...
- Vision 2020 has an action component for the NYC EDC known as WAVES.
- Related Department of City Planning Waterfront Revitalization Program
Select PortSide Testimony to the City Council Waterfront Committee
- 12/5/16 Waterfronts Committee, hearing topic: Improving Boater Safety in the City's Waterways
- 5/19/15 Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses, topic LU 0224-2015, proposed maritime lease between the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) and related blogpost
- 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 impassioned advocacy for 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 City Council Waterfronts Committee
- 2/13/06 General waterfront issues City Council Waterfronts Committee
- 6/15/05 Regulatory Obstacles to Waterfront Development (the DEC) City Council Waterfronts Committee, includes a discussion of DEC policy's effect on Red Hook, Brooklyn.
- 1/12/05 Waterfront Employment City Council Waterfronts Committee