PortSide works to re-establish the connection between people ashore and people afloat, create activities and spaces for both, nurture economic connections between the two, and foster their mutual appreciation. To achieve these ends, PortSide uses various means, from advocacy to cultural tourism, and the theme of water, our #WaterStories, runs through them all.
PortSide helps the inland community via our cultural tourism programs which promote visitation to Red Hook and the Columbia Waterfront District. We have created creating visitor guides to, and webpages about those two neighborhoods, and hosted Red Hook walking tours. We have brought visiting vessels to Red Hook. These boats have been open for tours and often brought cultural programs themselves. PortSide's own cultural events and our historic ship are also attractions to visitors.
Hurricane Sandy was a waterfront event of the darkest sort; and since the superstorm hit in late October 2012, our work in Red Hook has been strongly oriented towards hurricane Sandy aid and resiliency.
During 2015, our President Carolina Salguero is on the Sunset Park Task Force formed to help shape the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) RFP for South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) and foster better EDC-community relations. Her role there has her speaking for maritime and landside communities.
Our Red Hook webpage
Starting the week hurricane Sandy hit, PortSide began creating ways to help Red Hook's Sandy recovery. We set up a hurricane Sandy pop-up aid station at 351 Van Brunt thanks to a space donated by Realty Collective and Gallery Brooklyn. After that closed in December 2012, we continued to serve by providing input in public planning meetings, and by meeting with government officials involved in Sandy recovery and development of resiliency plans. We are developing programs of our own to help the community prepare for future flood events and will be involved in the New York State recovery and resiliency planning process. We won a White House award for our Sandy recovery work and were also honored by the New York State Senate.
Columbia Waterfront District
Afloat - NYC's Sixth Borough
One part of our role is advocacy, articulating better ways to use the Sixth Borough, explaining the needs of boats and ships in this harbor and working to solve them while considering needs of the community ashore. We use conventional methods (testifying, participating in urban planning forums) as well as educational events such as our multi-media exhibit "mariner's response to 9/11," an exhibit which had important messages about planning disaster response in the future.
Our hurricane Sandy work, which won us a White House award and honors from the NYS Senate, and work on Red Hook's NY Rising committee, the post-Sandy NYS program to create resiliency plans around the state, presented ways for PortSide to bring mariners understanding of marine weather and flooding to shoreside communities and help their flood preparedness. Our founder and President Carolina Salguero's work on the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to shape the RFP for the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal has been a way to advocate for the maritime community.
OpSail 2012 - we stepped up to serve as OpSail's liaison to Brooklyn and promoted the ships to people ashore and promoted the area's businesses to the crews on the ships. Our webpage for this event attracted over 24,000 hits during the time the ships were here.
Visiting Vessels - or boats which visit and that the public can visit, such as OpSail. PortSide has brought them to Brooklyn from overseas, out of state, up state and Manhattan.
Operation Christmas Cheer - we go around the harbor in a small boat on Christmas day and deliver holiday cookies and newspapers to the tug and barge industry.
Kayak Valet - a term we coined for a service we inaugurated in NYC. We watch incoming kayaks so paddlers can visit the neighborhood. Other groups now run kayak valet events around the city.
BoatBox - we are redesigning the container used by the Red Hook Boaters kayak program to make it an amenity for all users of the park and provide information on boat safety, fishing safety, passing ships, beach clean ups, and local history. We'll be adding hurricane Sandy and flood information to extant plans. We see this as a pilot for other NYC kayaking spots.