The oil tanker MARY A. WHALEN  was launched May 21, 1938 The ship is PortSide NewYork's ambassador to the BLUEspace and site of our offices and many programs.  She is the only oil tanker cultural center in the world.  She is the last of her kind in the USA.  She is on the National Register of Historic Places, to understand why, see her history page.

Where to see her

The MARY A. WHALEN is located at the south end of Pier 11, in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn, next to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.


PortSide NewYork uses the MARY in diverse ways:

  • as the site of our offices
  • as a historic ship where we give tours 
  • as a location for diverse educational programs
  • as a stage for cultural activities
  • as a landing - other boats can tie up alongside

Ship cat Chiclet

Our ship cat Chiclet has her own webpage.

Since the MARY A. WHALEN worked so long (1938 to 1993) and over such a wide region (the whole northeast) she is a great vehicle for teaching various subject areas.  We customize our ship-based programs and make vivid, experiential educational experiences:

  • for children, college students, professors, the general public and bilingual audiences. 
  • teaching history, economics, marine science, maritime training and skills applicable to several trades. 
  • telling a human story. We are in contact with over 40 former crew members.
  • teaching fuel distribution, consumption and sustainability issues from the 1930's until now.  She was built before Americans used so much electricity, so she makes great use of natural light and ventilation -- another aspect of sustainability we explain during TankerTours.
  • The MARY worked everywhere making her a great vehicle to explain the whole NY-NJ port
  • the NY-NJ port is the largest petroleum through-port in the USA. It fuels the northeast. We tell that story.
  • Our Guide to the words for ship parts

Thanks to our sponsors and partners!

The exterior of the MARY A. WHALEN is being restored in large part with labor from the painters' union District Council 9 which is using the ship as a training site.  We give them a site, they give us labor, and we partner in training union labor.  The paint is thanks to a generous donation by International Paint.