We Are a Living Lab for Better Urban Waterways. We Also Bring WaterStories to Life.

At PortSide NewYork, it is our intent to bring the community ashore and the community afloat together, for the benefit of all. To that end, we have been creating a maritime center aboard the MARY A. WHALEN, a historic oil tanker, that combines the working waterfront, public access and community development. In the future, it will display a new model for urban waterways. We are also committed to bringing WaterStories to life using programs in arts, education, preservation, resiliency, workforce and harbor advocacy—on and off our flagship vessel, the MARY A. WHALEN.

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, PortSide Museum Designer & Advisor

PortSide’s History

PortSide was founded in 2005 to create a forward-looking maritime center combining working waterfront, public access and community development. Our goal is to serve the full diversity of New York City and provide transformative maritime programs in education and culture called WaterStories, in addition to a pipeline to marine jobs. For more than 10 years, we have sought a home while operating as a “pop-up” and creating some of NYC’s most innovative waterfront programs on the MARY, as well as other locations. In 2015, we secured a long-term site for our ship in the Atlantic Basin in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

At the end of 2017, we were offered an opportunity to expand into an adjacent warehouse. With building space, PortSide can grow year-round programs and serve more of the community. But first we have to secure the property. (Learn more about our exciting business plan here.) The opportunity to finally have space to deliver long-intended programs means we must refocus our programs, so we have called an end to our resiliency programs following Hurricane Sandy. We will also no longer have harbor advocacy as a stated initiative. Our focus now remains on getting adequate building space where we can finally do more physical programs. The success of those programs will fulfill our vision and replace the talk of our prior advocacy work. And with your help, we can make this a reality.

Awards, Honors & Appointments

  • 2017 | Presented with Congressional Record by Rep. Nydia Velazquez who citing the importance of the ship MARY A. WHALEN and PortSide programs

  • 2014 | Appointed by District 38 Councilman Carlos Menchaca to the Sunset Park Task Force to advise the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) about development plans for the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal

  • 2013 | Bestowed the White House’s “Champions of Change” award for our hurricane Sandy recovery work

  • 2013 | Received the "New York Harbor Historic Ship Steward Award of Excellence” from The National Maritime Historical Society

  • 2013 | Honored for our Hurricane Sandy recovery work by the NYS Senate. (Resolution sponsored by Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, co-sponsored by Sen. Daniel Squadron)

  • 2013 | Appointed by Governor Cuomo's office to Red Hook's NY Rising committee, a statewide program to make communities more resilient

Thank You to Our Sponsors