Memorial Day Weekend: Fleet Week + Saturday Mary Whalen TankerTours

Thurs 5/26 - Mon 5/30 "Fleet Week" ship tours in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Sat 5/28 TankerTours of MARY A. WHALEN (info at bottom)

This year, Fleet Week “Celebrating The Sea Services” has three ships open to the public in the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook. This is the first time that Fleet Week has been at that cruise terminal.  There will be two Navy Destroyers and one Coast Guard cutter (see photos below):

  • Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99)
  • Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96)
  • Coast Guard USCGC Forward (WMEC 911)

Fleet Week ships visiting hours  Thurs 5/26/16 - Mon 5/30/16 from 8am to 5pm each day. Entry may be closed at 3pm each day to allow visitors aboard to cycle out.

Directions to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal  (for cars, public transit, walking, biking, ferry)

Fleet Week rules on what you can't bring & need to bring, etc. See their FAQs for what you need to have (IDs of people over 18) and can't bring aboard: strollers (leave them on the pier), bottles, cans, knives and more, and should avoid (high heels, sandals, open toed shoes and more).

Visit historic Red Hook, home to great restaurants, bars, cultural institutions and parks! Info

Sat 5/28 TANKERTOURS FOR MARY A. WHALEN

Sat 5/28/16 from 10am-5pm
Sign up for tours on-site. Groups of 20 will be admitted every 20 minutes. No tours at 1:00 & 1:20 as we break for lunch.
Can't make it? For other ways to experience the MARY, see Visitor Info

PortSide NewYork will open our ship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN in honor of her 78th birthday! She is the only oil tanker cultural center in the world.  She is the last of her kind in the USA and is listed on the National Register of historic places.  She is significant for her role in the 1975 Supreme Court legal decision U.S. vs Reliable Transfer, a major case in US maritime law. The MARY is a symbol of  resiliency because the PortSide crew rode out superstorm Sandy on the ship, and then we brought our office equipment ashore to set up and run a hurricane Sandy pop-up aid station.

The MARY A. WHALEN's story is woven into Red Hook WaterStories because she was built for the Red Hook company Ira S. Bushey & Sons and was based in Red Hook for decades as tanker and then as a floating dock and office for Hughes Marine after she went out of service in 1994. She became PortSide's flagship in 2007.

The MARY was launched May 21, 1938 at Mathis in Camden, NJ and built for Bushey's, an innovative and unusually diverse maritime company which closed in the 1980s. Bushey's was based at the foot of Court Street and ran a ship yard, fuel terminal and fuel delivery fleet of tugs, tankers and barges. Bushey's built over 200 ships for the Navy and commercial service and had ships built at other yards.  Today, the Bushey property remains an active maritime site with the fuel tanks operated by Buckeye and their fuel moved by our friends at Vane Brothers. Vane runs a fleet of tugs and fuel barges and has often towed our MARY A. WHALEN for free.  Vane also introduced us to their paint supplier International Paint who has donated all the paint to recoat the decks and house.

Please donate now to support our restoration of the MARY A. WHALEN, public programs aboard which include TankerTours, TankerTime,
and our summer preservation internships with the WHSAD high school
and programs off the ship such as
our Sandy recovery and resiliency work and  
Red Hook WaterStories which tells Red Hook maritime history over 400+ years.

Help us match a grant and raise another $20,000 for Red Hook WaterStories by the end of June and donate here!

Red Hook WaterStories is supported in part by Councilman Carlos Menchaca.

FREE TankerTours for MARY A. WHALEN's 78th Birthday Sat 5/28

PortSide NewYork is excited to welcome you aboard our historic flagship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN in honor of her 78th birthday!  

Sat 5/28/16 from 10am-5pm
Sign up for tours on-site. Groups of 20 will be admitted every 20 minutes. No tours at 1:00 & 1:20 as we break for lunch.
Can't make it? For other ways to experience the MARY, see Visitor Info 
Flat soled shoes recommended.  Directions here 
More Ships!  On the next pier at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Fleet Week will have three ships open to visit at the same time. Those ships will be open Thursday through Monday of Memorial Day Weekend. More info here.
Visit historic Red Hook, home to great restaurants, bars, cultural institutions and parks! Info

Please support our restoration of the MARY and other programs, donate to our Red Hook WaterStories campaign. Help us raise $20,000 by the end of June to match a grant. Red Hook WaterStories is funded in part by Councilman Carlos Menchaca and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

More about the MARY A. WHALEN

The MARY A. WHALEN is the only oil tanker cultural center in the world and an icon of Red Hook maritime history.  She is the last of her kind in the USA and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  She is significant for her role in the 1975 Supreme Court legal decision U.S. vs Reliable Transfer, a major case in US maritime law. The MARY is a symbol of  resiliency because PortSide's crew rode out superstorm Sandy on the ship, and then brought our office equipment ashore to set up and run a hurricane Sandy pop-up aid station.

The MARY A. WHALEN's story is woven into Red Hook WaterStories because she was built for the Red Hook company Ira S. Bushey & Sons and has been based in Red Hook for a good half of her life, first as a working tanker, later as a floating dock and office for Hughes Marine, and as PortSide's flagship since 2007.

The MARY was launched May 21, 1938 at Mathis in Camden, NJ and built for Bushey's, an innovative and unusually diverse maritime company which closed in the 1980s. Bushey's was based at the foot of Court Street and ran a ship yard, fuel terminal and fuel delivery fleet of tugs, tankers and barges. Bushey's built over 200 ships for the Navy and commercial service and had ships built at other yards.  Today, the Bushey property remains an active maritime site with the fuel tanks operated by Buckeye and their fuel moved by our friends at Vane Brothers. Vane runs a fleet of tugs and fuel barges and has often towed our MARY A. WHALEN for free.  Vane also introduced us to their paint supplier International Paint who has donated all the paint to recoat the decks and house.

 

Please donate now to support our restoration of the MARY A. WHALEN, public programs aboard which include TankerTours, TankerTime,
and our summer preservation internships with the WHSAD high school, 
programs off the ship such as
our Sandy recovery and resiliency work and  
Red Hook WaterStories which tells Red Hook maritime history over 400+ years.

Help us match a grant and raise another $20,000 for Red Hook WaterStories by the end of June and donate here!

PortSide NewYork Awarded Two-Year REDC NYSCA Grant

PortSide NewYork is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a two-year New York City Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) grant for $49,500. We just commenced the contract.   The allocation comes from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) and supports culture as economic development.  REDC grants are very competitive, and we won the first time we applied!  We also broke a glass ceiling -- maritime activity has not often been embraced as cultural activity.  

PortSide activities cited in our grant application include:

Preservation programs and internships with WHSAD, a fabulous CTE (career and technical educational) high school, what used to be called a vocational school.  Read what our summer 2015 WHSAD interns thought of it, in their own words.

Job training program with the Painters Union District Council 9 (DC9) who are the MARY A. WHALEN as a training site. 

Our WaterStories cultural programs which also include our Visiting Vessel program and TankerTours of the MARY A. WHALEN

Red Hook WaterStories a history, mapping, cultural tourism and resiliency project that tells the history of Red Hook, Brooklyn via a water theme.  In microcosm, Red Hook WaterStories tells New York City's maritime story. 

Our role on the Sunset Park Task Force, where we are represented by our President Carolina Salguero. The first job of the Task Force was helping the NYC EDC shape the RFP for South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.  Carolina advocated for maritime uses, for avoiding an RFP that had so many proscriptions it would deter respondents, and pushed to allow maritime uses that were originally not going to be allowed (ferries and historic ships).  Here is a Task Force description from the NYC EDC:

  • "Since July 2015, NYCEDC has worked with Councilmember Menchaca and community partners to establish and convene a Sunset Park Task Force, comprised of representatives from local community groups, businesses, and elected officials.  
    • The goals of the Task Force are to:
      • Maximize the potential of the Sunset Park waterfront in a sustainable and just manner to serve as an economic hub of traditional and innovating industries, including job creation and workforce development;
      • Establish and promote regional and local priorities for efficient goods movement;
      • Balance community access and needs across public and private initiatives and development; and 
      • Advocate for preserving and expanding Sunset Park's industrial, manufacturing, and maritime businesses, as well as nonprofit organizations and auxiliary/amenity businesses supporting the local community."

Our work on Red Hook's NY Rising Committee. Carolina Salguero was one of the original appointees to the committee by Governor Cuomo's office. She made significant contributions to the final plan submitted to NYS for the $3MM in funding.  We are pleased that her advocacy for maritime activation made it into the NY Rising plan and was subsequently picked up by the NYC EDC in their planning for Red Hook's IFPS (Integrated Flood Protection System). The Red Hook community strongly supporting maritime activation as a key value to ensure in any flood protection scheme: "residents said they wanted to encourage the development of the maritime industry and businesses to set up shop in the neighborhood."  Carolina's research and writing for the committee is supported by work done by PortSide staff and interns. 

FREE historic ship 66.5’ Canadian Coast Guard ice-breaker buoy tender NOKOMIS

The foreward mast  and boom is now a crane.

The foreward mast  and boom is now a crane.

Dear Friends,  

PortSide NewYork has  received an urgent request for help giving away a historic  vessel.

FREE.  

Needs a home by 4/15/16.  UPDATE: There is more time. 4/30/16 is the new deadline.

Near Baltimore,  Pasadena, MD vicinity  Canadian Coast Guard ice-breaking buoy tender NOKOMIS.

There were two  other sisterships . The NOKOMIS is the last of three.

LOA 66.5’ Length at Water line 63.4
Beam 17.6
Depth 8.3 loaded. 99Tons  M/T.4.  
USCG Document  No.1111459.  Canadian No.3101215.  
Heavily Built can  penetrate 24 inches of blue fresh water ice.  

Built -1957 Commissioned  1958 Canadian Coast Guard. By Lunenburg Engineering  and Foundry, Lunenburg , Nova Scotia.

Hull and Superstructure  -Steel
Propulsion-Fairbanks Morse  31A-61/4X9 6 cylinder Air Start Direct Reversable Pneumatic Brake on flywheel.     210 HP.6.Propellor 46X46 4 Blade on 4 inch shaft  RH.     2/1  Reduction Spring Bearing on Shaft.7.RPM 720 MAX. Idle-220.
Fuel consumption: 2 GPH.  Speed 12-KTS. All Hydraulic Steering with power assist
Has Skin cooling in Engine room for heavy ice ops. Two fuel bunker tanks 400 gal ea 100 gal day tank furnace and stove tank.
Bulkheads go to Weather  Deck.

Head with holding tank, Shower and  Washbasin Galley with Diesel stove and Two refrigerators, two inflatable life rafts.   Air Horn and Two bilge Pumps plus One new navy pump very heavy duty, Delaval oil  purifier, Deutz Generator 5 Kw 240 volt. Large cargo hold  with HIAB knuckle crane 7,300lbs.two- anchors with hydraulic  windlass One-300lb  navy ,  One- 500lb Danforth. Sperry Gyrocompass W  repeaters, Sperry  40 mile radar,  Recording chart depth indicator. New name Ocean Spray. Two VHF Radios. 

Wood paneling in all occupied compartments. Steam heat with WATTS Boiler.

This is a  Ship USCG and CACG- any vessel 65' or over gets a name and is a  Ship. Very High Quality Construction.  

Attempt was made to get  her running but the exhaust manifold has cracks in it. Any interested  party has have to tow the 100 ton vessel. She is seaworthy  and floating.

Contact  John Kopke 443-854-4311 Email northatlanticsailor@yahoo.com
 

 

 

 

Red Hook WaterStories team makes headway

"Red Hook WaterStories” (RHWS) Project Moves Forward
Team grows and makes substantial headway!

What is Red Hook WaterStories

A water-themed history trail about and for fascinating Red Hook, Brooklyn. It will educate visitors and locals, help revitalize Red Hook and help protect this community from floods.  It tells NYC's maritime story in microcosm.  This year, we are launching a pilot multimedia map and creating a hard copy visitor guide and signs with QR codes around the neighborhood that alert people to the website. We will create large, outdoor, exhibit panels with this content.  We are taping more oral histories to share.

PortSide offices aboard the ship MARY A. WHALEN are a buzz as we push ahead with Red Hook WaterStories. Many new consultants and interns have come aboard to help develop and catalog content. The accessibility of our new home is allowing people with valuable skills, but no prior relationship to PortSide, to literally step (or ride their bicycle like David Levine) up to the pier and get involved.

We thank Councilman Carlos Menchaca both for seeing the importance of our new home and for the $20,000 in funding that is pushing the project forward.  We have applied for other funding, and have launched a campaign to raise another $20,000 by then end of June 2016.  

New people, new energy!

Our Curator and Historian Peter Rothenberg has been joined by a team of consultants, advisors and interns.  Some are interviewing, some research archives, some are deep in the html end of the archive. Bios of the team on the Red Hook WaterStories webpage.

We have been collecting new content and looking backward, meaning we sought technology and advice on how to get our archive coded and organized.  David Levine has 25 years experience in content management at major corporations and is leading the tech end of the project, selecting the software for content management and website creation.  Lots of conversations between him, Peter and new advisors Johnathan Thayer and Marilyn Oliva helped selected us Omeka as the archivist software to use. The first version of the multimedia RHWS website may be Omeka itself. Much to learn and code in all this!

Johnathan Thayer teaches archival practice and preservation at Queens College and is the Senior Archivist at Seaman’s Church Institute, founded in 1834 which has thousands of items and oral histories in its collection.  Despite all that content, they have nothing about Red Hook in their files – proof that PortSide’s project has something to contribute.

Regina Carra, a graduate student at CUNY Queens College studying Library Science and History, learned about RHWS from Johnathan and was so excited by the project that she rejiggered her schedule to work with us one day a week. 

We have had long meetings and brainstorming sessions around the galley table to discuss what themes, issues and peoples to include so we know to look for such content and  have the archive coded in advance to be ready to receive that kind of content.  “War” and “”military,” how are they the same or different? With our focus on immigrants who arrived by water or worked on the waterfront, what do we do about the “non-ethnics,” the English or WASPS?  How do we deal with false history (the errors so often repeated in the era of Google)?  

Do we include a layer that explains sources so people can see that many a map or engraving that has been used to show “this was Red Hook” is an illustration of a plan, an intention, and did not yet exist? That kind of discussion is so pertinent to the resiliency (flood prep) aspect to Red Hook WaterStories. 

As a water-aware organization, we planned to talk about underground water issues since we started this work in 2005.  After superstorm Sandy, information about the historic filling of creeks, swamp and shoreline is very timely.  It's key to understand that so many historic maps of Red Hook show a street grid of intentions over “land” that remained water and swamp into the 1900s. On a lighter note, in honor of our ship cat Chiclet and her devoted followers, we decided to add cat WaterStories. History needs to be fun too!

We have a bottomless font of facts and tips about the history in advisor Norman Brouwer, a noted maritime historian and the person who built the South Street Seaport library. He also has a personal collection of thousands of maritime postcards which we hope to access for illustrations.

Julia Golia, Director of Public History at the Brooklyn Historical Society, told us about resources in their archives and was receptive to partnering as they move ahead with their waterfront museum and waterfront history website in partnership with Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

Melinda Boros, an immigrant from Romania, brings us a fresh perspective in her role as consultant. Red Hook was one of the first neighborhoods she found after emigrating in 1998. It's abandonment was something she expected in Ceaucescu’s Romania not the USA, so she dove deep into historical research to come to understand it. Barbara Wye, a recent grad in Anthropology and Digital Media Design with experience in community organizing around preservation, is helping with outreach, event planning and graphic design.

Many Red Hook WaterStories involve Spanish speakers, especially since the first point of arrival for Puerto Ricans in NYC was ships docking at Red Hook piers.  Intern Ivy Ann Rosado, a senior at Hunter College of Dominican heritage is helping with this research and other aspects of the project.

We are interviewing more people for more video and oral histories. Jenny Kane leads the oral history work. John Weaver handles the video camera. Our President Carolina Salguero, an award-winning photojournalist in her prior career, does some of the interviewing.

If you, or someone you know has some Red Hook WaterStories to share, get in touch! WaterStories include: all things working waterfront (shipbuilding/repair, ports/freight movement, creation of ports/changing shoreline, merchant marine/worked on boats, ferries), emigrated here by ship, worked at waterfront facilities, played/fished/relaxed on the waterfront, waterfront religious rituals, drownings, Sandy experiences, created an art work or piece of literature inspired by the Red Hook waterfront.

Funding

This project is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and funding from NYC Councilman Carlos Menchaca.

 

 

 

TechCrunch & PortSide growing Red Hook relationship with Brooklyn Cruise Terminal & Atlantic Basin tenants

First, there are opportunities for Red Hook at TechCrunch, May 9-11, 2016!

Second, info on how to get involved below!

Background: PortSide NewYork knows that the Red Hook community has wanted to see benefits to having the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal (BCT) in the neighborhood. Our being on site in Atlantic Basin on Pier 11 since May 2015 is helping us help grow such relationships.

We brought up this goal with the special events manager of BCT Jason Scharf when the Ringling Brothers circus RVs were parked next to the MARY A. WHALEN a few weeks back, and we got to work making connections.   We introduced the circus staff to local suppliers and helped them get a discount at Kevin's Restaurant.

Soon after that, Scharf brought over Ned Desmond, COO of Tech Crunch. We told him how entrepreneurially great Red Hook is, that Red Hook wanted to be involved with events at BCT, and that Red Hook businesses were great at pop-ups and would likely be interested in vending at Tech Crunch's Disrupt NY. We provided contact info for neighborhood players in the biz and non-profit sectors, told them about the Brooklyn Spirit Trail which includes several Red Hook businesses, and offered our famous historic ship, the MARY A. WHALEN, as a venue and proposed partnership ideas with PortSide. We also said ferries to Atlantic Basin could dock at our ship if Pier 11 is full.   

Our ship on Pier 11 is next to the cruise terminal on Pier 12 and figures prominently in the TechCrunch video about why Red Hook is such a cool place for Disrupt NY. (A little cheer for us... Red Hook has lured TechCrunch out of Manhattan! Go Red Hook, go Brooklyn, go PortSide NewYork!)

We are pleased to report that TechCrunch is put out a promo blogpost saying "Red Hook has a lot to offer" and TechCrunch is, in their own words, " "launching a program called “Discover Red Hook”, which offers local businesses the opportunity to exhibit free-of-charge at Disrupt. We hope that means this Disrupt will be graced by many interesting and tasty offerings from Red Hook’s small businesses."  

Sign up to be a Red Hook vendor or exhibitor at TechCrunch Disrupt NY at this link

PortSide has also been connecting the owners and crew of other boats docked on Pier 11 to local suppliers.  Typical requests have been for restaurants and sources of hardware and marine electrical supplies.  Once again, PortSide NewYork brings the community afloat and the community ashore closer together for the benefit of both!

All this networking fulfills our mission to grow connections between the waterfront and inland community (businesses, residents and non-profits) and to help revitalize Red Hook.

great views from our ship mary a. whalen

great views from our ship mary a. whalen

 

 

Not Curbing My Enthusiasm

REBUILD BY DESIGN PLAN BY HR&A COOPERS ROBERTSON PUTS PARK SPACE ON TOP OF THEIR PROPOSED PROTECTIVE SEAWALL.

REBUILD BY DESIGN PLAN BY HR&A COOPERS ROBERTSON PUTS PARK SPACE ON TOP OF THEIR PROPOSED PROTECTIVE SEAWALL.

By Carolina Salguero

This blogpost is a response to Curbed’s 1/28/16 article about Red Hook which carried only parts of several long conversations with Nathan Kensinger.  Here is more of what I said so that my position, and PortSide NewYork’s, on changing Red Hook is better rendered.  

The Curbed article looks back; my waterfront work, from my photojournalism to founding the forward-looking non-profit PortSide, focuses on the growing maritime sector, making change and shaping the future. At PortSide, we use history to further Red Hook's development. All images, except the rendering above, are copyright Carolina Salguero.

How I would frame the future of Red Hook?

Red Hook has evolved from a place perceived by 1990’s national media as a hopeless crack den to a peninsula that in 2014 was the announced recipient of a "first in the nation" plan for urban flood protection..  Hello IFPS! That is our future, example to the nation.

Est4te Four

I understood Est4te Four to be the core of Nathan’s intended story. Thus, I said that, given that Red Hook was going to change, hugely change, it was better that we have Est4te Four, with a curated vision and their standards, than have the building boom of “luxury”’ housing such as occurred on Fourth Avenue in Park Slope/Gowanus. That left us with a hodgepodge of dreadful buildings like the yellow brick one looming over the historic Old Stone House.

We all fall in love with the Red Hook we first met

Yes, we talked nostalgia.  We talked a lot about Red Hook changes and my personal markers for the stages of evolution.  

This led me to remark that we all seem to fall in love with the Red Hook of our first contact, and the point of that remark was not to say that my first experience of 1997 (as a visitor, I moved here in 1999) was better or more valid than that of someone arriving in 2002 or the 1980s, but to convey how Red Hook triggers a deep love that is very nostalgia based.  

All newcomers to Red Hook love Red Hook, that’s why they come (you don’t come here for the great transportation), and their love starts in, and connects to, the era they arrive.

I said that was one of the great things about my being involved with Red Hook, it has an engaged community that cares about this place. 

IKEA

My view of Red Hook is so NOT nostalgia-driven that I had a lot positive to say about IKEA.  IKEA’s Sandy recovery work (done with Swedish modesty that did not tout what they did) was so significant that PortSide honored them for it.

I said the IKEA waterfront esplanade was very well designed, one of the best in the city. I said all that despite saying that closing the graving dock was a policy mistake by the city and a personal loss to me; it was my photographic muse for 5 years.  I had unfettered, permitted access to it and could come by land or sea, day or night; and I had the run of the old shipyard too. 

NYCHA, The Red Hook Houses and the new Red Hook

The Curbed piece concludes with the quote “"It's not going to be the same Red Hook for a lot of the people who live here now."”’  whereas I talked quite a bit about the people who are likely to stay in Red Hook, the overwhelming majority of Red Hook’s residents, eg the residents of the NYCHA development in the Red Hook Houses East and Red Hook Houses West.  I said that for all the problems faced by those folks, they had a large measure of residential stability.  

I said that one of my hopes for Red Hook was that, with all the change, wealth and resources coming to the Red Hook around the Houses, more resources would be focused on helping those NYCHA residents. Some of that was visible in the great number of homegrown non-profits on this small peninsula. I said that entrenched, urban poverty was a tough challenge, but that we should try. It is certainly part of PortSide’s mission.

090708 RH street life 003.jpg

Same old, same old with new people

I said that even with all the new people moving in, much stayed the same:  Red Hook the close knit community where gossip and rumor are big.  Gary Baum, the friend of the pick-up truck sledding mentioned by Nathan, used to joke that if you sneezed, in 10 minutes people know that 7 blocks away.

All of which led me to remark that what I wish Red Hook would get better at research and negotiation since so many of our land use issues were characterized by “did you hear that?!!” shock that was not necessarily based on fact; and that, as a community, we had yet to negotiate benefits from any major real estate development.  Segue to NY Rising, a change in that dynamic.

NY Rising and the future of Red Hook

Once Nathan and I got off the nostalgia beat, I spent a lot of time talking about NY Rising, my voice starting to crack with emotion when I talked about how beautiful it was for me to see that the disaster of Sandy had germinated something that augured such good for Red Hook.

NY Rising is a NYS program, and its Red Hook committee members (including me) were appointed by the State to craft a resiliency plan for $3MM in funds the state would provide.  

It was a helluva lot of work over some 9 months, but we had the benefits of the region’s best consultants, paid by the state, to support the effort. I said it was a new model worth remembering:  government paid to give grassroots community members planning resources (as opposed to Community Boards in gentrifying areas that are overwhelmed by trying to respond to Land Use permits and variances and that are not funded in proportion to that workload. Hint, hint, NYC.)  

Official NYS webpage for NY Rising statewide
Official NYS webpage for NY Rising Red Hook committee
Blog of Red Hook’s NY Rising committee  
Final resiliency plan of NY Rising Red Hook committee, shorter executive summary and mini brochure version.

Red Hook's NY Rising committee has gone well beyond the State-appointed mission.  We proposed programs exceeding that budget. The committee has already sought and secured outside funding to further some projects, including the microgrid. The committee has continued to meet and is becoming a non-profit to further work in Red Hook.  It is also looking to expand members.  GET INVOLVED!  It sought the support of the Municipal Art Society to host the Red Hook Summit about resiliency projects in Red Hook.

COME TO THE RED HOOK SUMMIT! It is Saturday, 1/30/16, 10am – 1pm at Summit Academy, 27 Huntington Street. Full disclosure, I am presenting for PortSide there.

I talked to Nathan about my role on NY Rising where I tried to raise NYCHA issues (I proposed the solar-powered emergency lights in the final plan) and my big focus was activation of the waterfront (the waterways, really) and ensuring that the wisdom of NYC’s 2011 waterfront plan Vision 2020 (embrace and activate the waterways!) was not drowned by Sandy (water is destructive, let’s build walls!). 

As a result, I was very moved when at the IFPS (Integrated Flood Protection Study) meeting last week, community members very strongly supported the idea of waterfront access and maritime activation that were on the sheet of NY Rising “values” had the room discuss.  

Listening to the IFPS room, with the report-back from each break-out table echoing PortSide values for the waterfront, I felt that I, and PortSide staff and interns, had really made a difference preparing  advocacy papers, blogposts, webpages, walk-to-ferry-landings studies, etc  for NY  Rising, all of which is shared on our website.  Our NY Rising work and waterfront vision was embraced by the room without our having spoken up for it in that room.  Given that the IFPS is a “first in the nation” program, the eyes of the world are on us in Red Hook, so it was powerful for me to see PortSide’s harbor advocacy work picked up by the IFPS process.

090809 kayak into Van B apt window 001.jpg

Changes in Red Hook – growth of maritime sector

The thrust of Nathan’s Curbed piece is displacement, new replacing the old, but I also talked about what NYC’s real estate driven press (Ahoy, Curbed!) does not cover very much: the growth of the maritime sector.  So I rattled off some Red Hook increases in maritime activity since I moved here in 1999: New York Water Taxi (a new company, and headquartered in Red Hook), Vane Brothers tug and barge company expanding two times beyond the footprint of the old Ira S. Bushey yard at the foot of Court Street (where the MARY A. WHALEN started work in 1938) to GBX and Port Authority piers, a new cruise terminal, and Red Hook Container Terminal expanded business (despite hiccups of lawsuits, Sandy and more), and the founding of PortSide NewYork, to create a maritime hub that would foster the community revitalization of Red Hook along a water and maritime theme, combine working waterfront, public access and community development and be a test lab and advocate for expand that model harborwide. 

PortSide NewYork services to a future Red Hook

I told Nathan that in September, 2015, PortSide asked the EDC for the space inside the Pier 11 warehouse next to the ship that had been promised to us in 2009, 2010, and 2011 – space that the EDC had also promised to the community as the home for PortSide.

I concluded by sending Nathan two renderings of what PortSide plans for Pier 11, a forward-looking vision for Red Hook. Here is what we are working towards!  #GetOnBoard and join us!



PortSide NewYork 2015 year in review

third graders from elementary school crispus attucks 21 in Bedford Styvesant, Brooklyn came to us to learn about hurricane sandy and community resiliency. Photo by myra hernandez, Behind the book

third graders from elementary school crispus attucks 21 in Bedford Styvesant, Brooklyn came to us to learn about hurricane sandy and community resiliency. Photo by myra hernandez, Behind the book

2015: the search is over. The future is now.

2015 was a year of major milestones and growth.  See, read and feel it below.  

The pivot point was the exhilarating move on May 29 in the video at right.  

Our new site strengthens our ability to fulfill the PortSide vision of combining the working waterfront, public access and community development.  

Please donate now and support our momentum!  

 

 

Education

The public access at our new home enables us to grow our educational programs.  We hopped on it right away with outreach such as our Open House for Educators Week and researching new curricula.  We gained new partners in the World Monuments Fund, the Williamsburgh HS of Architecture and Design (WHSAD), and Behind the Book. We had three summer interns from WHSAD and two college interns from Spain.  We created a curriculum for simple machines aboard the MARY A. WHALEN and taught Hurricane Sandy & resiliency to elementary school kids. For adult job training, we furthered our relationship with the painters' union District Council 9

WaterStories cultural programs

We secured $20,000 in funding from Councilman Carlos Menchaca to support our Red Hook WaterStories cultural tourism, placemaking and resiliency project.  We were invited to join a historic ship flotilla that celebrated Cunard's 175th anniversary and got community members in the parade via our partner, the historic tug CORNELL. We curated and ran a great POW! weekend with TankerTours, TankerTime and gifted flamenco jazz musicians who have offered to make this an annual event.  We produced a distinctive multimedia history night with Norwegian Red Hook WaterStories with bluegrass musicians from Norway, history speakers, and vintage video. Out shipcat Chiclet has become an attraction, with a growing fan club of regulars who come by to see her.

Ship restoration:

Volunteers repainted three cabins!  Thank you, volunteers! Three summer interns from WHSAD did enormous work restoring the teak rail around the wheelhouse.  The painters' union District Council 9 will repaint the exterior as a training excercise with paint donated by International Paint. DC9 scoped out the job, did some prep work, and laid plans for painting in 2016.

History: research, acquisitions & programs

History runs through so many of our programs: all events on the ship, programs such as our Norwegian Red Hook WaterStories night, info content we share on our Facebook and Twitter, our blogposts such the one about the important sale of slave ERIE ship in Atlantic Basin which marked an important step in the end of slavery in the USA.  In 2015, we added considerably to Mary A. Whalen history:  more former crew members found us (thanks to our new home): Engineer Bill Siebert who works on a Vane tug and retired, 86-year old, former relief captain Thomas J. Smith.  Captain Smith donated his maritime papers to us, and we have taped hours of interviews with him. A big boost in the history department was the visit by Scott Gellatly and his wife Pat. They ran a waterborne fuel transportation company years ago and almost bought the MARY.  The Gellatlys donated photos, recorded hours of interview and brought along retired engineer Bryan Sinram, another trove of history, who had worked for Eklof, the company that ran the MARY WHALEN for years. Walter Barschow donated the folk painting of the MARY aground in the slide show above and gave us leads on Red Hook WaterStories about his family that ran a scrap yard for decades, founded by his German immigrant grandmother. Karen Dyrland and John Weaver donated another large cache of photos, letters and documents from Alf Dyrland, Captain of the MARY from 1958-1978.  And, our home, the historic tanker MARY A. WHALEN turned 77!

Inspiring artists

PortSide continued to inspire filmmakers, painters and multi-media artists.  Most find us because they can now see us.  The MARY A. WHALEN is visible from our new friends and partners Pioneer Works which leads to a steady stream of artists coming to brainstorm, photograph, get ideas, one even collects salt water for a printing project. We gave the title to the documentary film BLUESPACE and appeared in it.  We invited painter Jim Ebersole to memorialize our final week in the Red Hook Containerport.

Policy/Planning

This important work does not generate inspiring, cuddly or sexy photos.  It involves a slew of emails and hundreds of conversations that advance our vision for bringing change to NYC's waterfront.  Some highlights: Our President Carolina Salguero was appointed to the Sunset Park Task Force whose first task was to advise the EDC on creating an RFP for SBMT. How's that for alphabet soup!  The Task Force continues to meet to shape the Sunset Park waterfront and industrial waterfront district.  PortSide provided info and advice on the siting of a Citywide ferry stop in Red Hook.  We are engaged with the ongoing work of Red Hook's NY Rising committee.  We had a photogenic policy gig by being a stop on Alex Washburn's OHNY Resiliency bike tour.

Capacity Building - great progress undergirds all the above!

Getting our new home in Atlantic Basin, has provided PortSide NewYork with much needed stability and allowed us to turn energies to growing PortSide's capacity.  We grew the team with 2 board members and 4 advisory board members.  We completed the long slog of paperwork of a FEMA Sandy Alternate Project application, along with other important funding applications.  We were awarded $20,000 by Councilman Carlos Menchaca to support our Red Hook WaterStories project.  In Late October, PortSide launched a year-long growth campaign #GetOnBoard.  In December, we were awarded a competitive Regional Economic Development Council grant of $49,500 via the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. We scored new major sponsors in the Weather Channel and International Paint.  There is strong growth in the number of entities reaching out to get involved: we have heard from college community service programs, schools, teachers and individuals.  

Please donate now and support our momentum!  





1860, Slave ship ERIE sold in Atlantic Basin, a major step in movement to end slavery

On this day, December 5, 1860, the slave ship ERIE was sold at government auction in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn. One month prior, November 5, 1860,  the ship had been condemned and ordered to be sold by the United States District Court.  [Please note that this is a correction from our November 5 blogposting.  Discussion of this, and other changes are at the bottom of this post.]

This was news of national note.  

The African American Maritime Heritage program of PortSide NewYork will explore the African American experience on the water. This includes many stories of great accomplishment and much history that was forgotten and/or deliberately erased. Recovering these WaterStories presents a fuller picture of American history.

This particular blogpost is also part of PortSide NewYork’s Red Hook Waterstories that explores the history of the Red Hook, Brooklyn peninsula along a water theme. PortSide, and our home ship, the MARY A. WHALEN, are located in Atlantic Basin, the location where the slave ship ERIE was sold in 1860. 

Red Hook WaterStories is supported by funding from Councilman Carlos Menchaca

The ship was sold, after being captured and impounded by the US Government, for enslaving and importing Africans, a business banned by the federal government under the Piracy Law of 1820, which followed The Slave Trade Act of 1794, two steps in the USA’s long, slow process of devolving and banning the slave trade (the shipping of captured people) and slavery. Slavery was finally banned in 1865.  The case of the ERIE was chosen by a US Attorney, a judge, and by President Lincoln himself to signal a major change in policy on slavery and their commitment to end it.

The owner and captain of the Erie, Nathaniel Gordon of Maine, did not get off free as was usually the case. He was tried and found guilty of running a slave ship - and the Piracy Law of 1820 said the punishment was execution. Gordon’s supporters, including members of Congress and even friends of President Lincoln, sought a presidential pardon; but Abraham Lincoln refused due to his conviction that a point about slavery needed to be made with the ERIE and Captain Gordon.  

Captain Gordon was distressed, in jail, and attempted suicide. He was resuscitated and was hanged at the Tombs in Manhattan and became the first – and only – importer of slaves to be executed for the crime in the USA. Soon after Gordon’s execution, Abraham Lincoln presented his first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.  Several months later, the Proclamation was finalized, followed by the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery.  

Timeline from the ERIE to the end of slavery

August 8, 1860, The ERIE was captured close to the coast of Africa.
November 5, 1860, the ERIE was ordered to be sold at auction in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn
December 5, 1860, the ERIE was sold at auction in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn, for a reported amount of $7550.
November 9, 1861, after one hung jury and a new trial, Gordon was convicted in the circuit court in New York City. He was sentenced to death by hanging on February 7, 1862. After his conviction, his supporters appealed to President Abraham Lincoln for a pardon which was denied though Gordon was granted some extra time to arrange his affairs.
February 21, 1862, Nathaniel Gordon was executed.
July 22, 1862, President Lincoln read the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet members.
September 22, 1862, after some changes, Lincoln issued the preliminary version which specified that the final document would take effect January 1, 1863
January 31, 1865, the 13th Amendment was passed by the Congress
December 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment was ratified and slavery banned in the USA.

The following is designed as a glimpse into the complex subject of slave ships and slavery.  Below we offer some information and links to encourage you to explore the often misunderstood history of slavery in the USA, in New York State, in New York City and in Brooklyn ( a separate city from Manhattan at that time) and the role of the maritime industry in slavery.  We ourselves are in the process of conducting more research into the maritime end of the slavery story, and if you want to share some information or get involved, reach out to us via our webpage CONTACT.

In 1860, Nathaniel Gordon and the slaver ERIE in Atlantic Basin were at the center of a major national issue and representative of a major business sector for New York and the northeast.  Slavery in the USA is often thought of as a southern activity, a thing of the plantation system; however, slaves were also owned in New York State, and the economy of New York City and Brooklyn, their financial and insurance sectors, maritime activity and trading status were hugely dependent on the economic activity of businesses that owned slaves and/or that processed the products produced by slaves. For example, New York bankers lent to southern plantations, southern cotton produced by slaves was processed in New England textile mills with the raw and finished goods moved by ships from our area and passing through our ports and insured by businesses here.

Over time, and varying by state, there was a layering of state and federal rules limiting the importation of more captured people and changes in the obligation to return escaped slaves.  Then states began to prohibit their own populations from owning slaves (but slave owners from other states could visit a non-slave state like New York with their own slaves) and finally slavery was banned completely.

The short 2010 article in the New York Times that told PortSide about the ERIE in Atlantic Basin
Note that Atlantic Basin, Red Hook is called Atlantic Docks at the time and in this article.   

Two cropped citations from the New York Herald, January 13, 1861 from the paper's lengthy review of Court actions in the year of 1860.  They read as follows:

"November 5 - Judge Betts entered an order condemning the ship Erie as a s slaver and directing her to be sold by the Marshal."

"December 5 - Deputy United States Marshal Thompson, by virtue of a decree of condemnation, sold the slave ship Erie at the Atlantic dock, Brooklyn.  The vessel brought $7,550, and the cargo, consisting of oil, water casks and some beef and pork, sold for about $300"

Short Wikipedia bio of Nathaniel Gordon
Nathaniel Gordon (February 6, 1826 – February 21, 1862) was the only American slave trader to be tried, convicted, and executed "for being engaged in the Slave Trade," under the Piracy Law of 1820. Wikipedia 

How slave ships avoided the laws against importing Africans as slaves
The prohibited business continued because there were buyers - and a government reluctant to enforce its own prohibitions against the trade. The ships used various strategies to evade detection.

Articles from the 1860s about the ERIE and Nathaniel Gordon

10/10/1860 Chicago Tribune, capture of the slave ship ERIE

Court reporter summarizes the day in court 10/24/1860

Their correspondent reports on slave ship from sea 12/24/1860

A description of slavers arrested the year and a half before the ERIE suggests both an effort to stop the trade and how much capturing and importing of Africans still continued 11/17/1862 

"South-street," who keeps a bulletin of the movements of slavers, and reports them through the Evening Post, gives the following statements

11/5/1860 United States Circuit Court; Before Judge Nelson. THE SLAVER ERIE.  

A book about Nathaniel Gordon
From the review of the book “Hanging Captain Gordon” on Amazon: "Soodalter, a former museum curator and history teacher, uses this singular event as a prism to provide an overview of Civil War-era politics, Lincoln's presidency and the maritime economy of slavery."

The judge’s sentence of Nathaniel Gordon communicates strong condemnation of slavery
“In passing the sentence, Judge Shipman, in the course of his address to the prisoner, said:

"Let me implore you to seek the spiritual guidance of the ministers of religion; and let your repentance be as humble and thorough as your crime was great. Do not attempt to hide its enormity from yourself; think of the cruelty and wickedness of seizing nearly a thousand fellow beings, who never did you harm, and thrusting them beneath the decks of a small ship, beneath a burning tropical sun, to die in of disease or suffocation, or be transported to distant lands, and be consigned, they and their posterity, to a fate far more cruel than death.

Think of the sufferings of the unhappy beings whom you crowded on the Erie; of their helpless agony and terror as you took them from their native land; and especially of their miseries on the ---- ----- place of your capture to Monrovia! Remember that you showed mercy to none, carrying off as you did not only those of your own sex, but women and helpless children.

Do not flatter yourself that because they belonged to a different race from yourself, your guilt is therefore lessened – rather fear that it is increased. In the just and generous heart, the humble and the weak inspire compassion, and call for pity and forbearance. As you are soon to pass into the presence of that God of the black man as well as the white man, who is no respecter of persons, do not indulge for a moment the thought that he hears with indifference the cry of the humblest of his children. Do not imagine that because others shared in the guilt of this enterprise, yours, is thereby diminished; but remember the awful admonition of your Bible, “Though hand joined in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished."  — Worcester Aegis and Transcript; December 7, 1861; pg. 1, col. 6.  From Wikipedia 

Lincoln resolves to use the ERIE and Nathaniel Gordon to communicate condemnation of slaving and slavery:
Quoting from Historynet: “Lincoln from the beginning had no intention of sparing Nathaniel Gordon’s life. On February 4, just three days before Gordon was scheduled to die, the president wrote, “I think I would personally prefer to let this man live in confinement and let him meditate on his deeds, yet in the name of justice and the majesty of law, there ought to be one case, at least one specific instance, of a professional slave-trader, a Northern white man, given the exact penalty of death because of the incalculable number of deaths he and his kind inflicted upon black men amid the horror of the sea-voyage from Africa.” And three years later, shortly before his own death, he told Congressman Henry Bromwell: “There was that man who was sentenced for piracy and slave-trading on the high seas. That was a case where there must be an example and you don’t know how they followed and pressed to get him pardoned, or his sentence commuted, but there was no use of talking. It had to be done; I couldn’t help him.” 

More on President Abraham Lincoln’s refusal to pardon Nathaniel Gordon
“On November 1861, Nathaniel Gordon was convicted of slave trading and sentenced to hang. Participation in the slave trade had been punishable by death since 1820, but Gordon was the first man to be executed for the crime. Between 1837 and 1860, seventy-four cases relating to the slave trade had been tried in the United States, but very few men were convicted, and even then they received only light sentences. Only one other slave trader had been sentenced to death, but he received a full pardon from President James Buchanan in 1857.” More 

Slavery was officially ended by the 13th Amendment
Slavery was officially ended by the 13th Amendment in 1865, the culmination of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (1862-1863), the products of a process that lurched through American courts, pulpits and the press for well over a century, and the ERIE and its owner became pivotal symbols in the story.  

New York’s significance in the case of the ERIE and the prosecution of Nathaniel Gordon
“Captured by a ship of the African Squadron, Gordon was taken to New York City for trial in federal court—ironic, since New York had long been the epicenter of the U.S. slave trade. It had financed, fitted out and sent forth more slaving expeditions than any other American port. Slavers had typically been given a token slap on the wrist thus far. The U.S. attorney had no particular interest in prosecuting slaving cases. President James Buchanan, who occupied the White House when Gordon was arrested, had declared that he would never hang a slaver. It seemed Gordon had nothing to worry about.  But after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, a strongly Democratic, Southern-leaning New York City found itself with a new Republican U.S. attorney, Edward Delafield Smith, who entered office determined to put an end to the slave trade. And Smith made Nathaniel Gordon his personal demon.”  From Historynet 

Importance of the site of Nathaniel Gordon’s execution
A blog about New York Corrections history shows how the location of the execution (the Tombs in Manhattan/New York City) suggests legal jurisdictional issues in the attempts to prohibit slavery. More
 

SLAVERY IN THE NORTH, IN NEW YORK CITY AND IN BROOKLYN

Some information on how Brooklyn’s economy related to slavery
In CUNY's digital collection, a discussion of the activities of leading families.  See table 3.1 for slave owning families among founders of Kings County Banks. More

Slavery in New York City
A short summary of slavery in New York City by Douglas Harper a historian, author, journalist and lecturer based in Lancaster, Pa.  
Book “Slavery in New York” 
New York City Slavery Walking Tour 

New York City ran a Municipal slave market
There was a 1711 Law "Appointing a Place for the More Convenient Hiring of Slaves" that created the slave market:  
"Be it Ordained by the Mayor Recorder Aldermen and Assistants of the City of New York Convened in Common Council and it is hereby Ordained by the Authority of the same That all Negro and Indian slaves that are lett out to hire within this City do take up their Standing in Order to be hired at the Markett house at the Wall Street Slip untill Such time as they are hired, whereby all Persons may Know where to hire slaves as their Occasions Shall require and also Masters discover when their Slaves are so hired and all the Inhabitants of this City are to take Notice hereof Accordingly." from Minutes of the Common Council of the City of New York, vol. II, 458, December 13, 1711

The slave market was located at Wall Street near the East River. It was second busiest slave market in the country in terms of the number of human beings it trafficked. June, 2015, it was finally memorialized with a plaque.  See and hear WNYC report about that plaque and the history of the site.

In a short slide-show presentation, Anne Guerra of Untapped Cities discusses aspects of this Municipal slave market and slavery in New York City and notes that the market had the additional intention of preventing slave rebellions (frequently selling slaves was seen as a way to keep the people from organizing).  The blog also states that the Civil War period actually saw upsurge in the slave ship business with New York City having a leading role. That upsurge and New York’s role in it may be why President Lincoln felt he needed to make an example of the ERIE and Nathaniel Gordon.  We welcome hearing from experts about our theory on that. Untapped Cities says: “Between the years 1857 and 1862, while the Civil War was being fought, America experienced a tremendous resurgence in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which had been illegal for five decades. And at the forefront of this highly illegal activity was New York City. The city’s legitimate trading tries with Africa made it easy to mask illicit slaving activity. In 1857, the New York Journal of Commerce reported that, ”downtown merchants of wealth and respectability are extensively engaged in buying and selling African Negroes, and have been, with comparatively little interruption, for an indefinite number of years.” More  

Black Brooklyn Artist delving into NYC’s slavery history

In 2015, Red Hook photographer and story teller Kamau Ware relaunched his Black Gotham project with plans to make a multi-media recreation of history with living actors, in the street, during walking tours and generate a related photo book for each story/issue.  Black Gotham will move beyond the slavery period to cover broader African diaspora content.  

Slavery in the North, role of the maritime industry and the Episcopal Church
The maritime might of the northeast, its shipbuilding, ports, and seafarers meant that the North was hugely involved in direct and indirect aspects of slavery. A new museum is being planned by the Episcopal Church in Rhode Island to capture the history of the North’s involvement in slavery, the role of the Episcopal Church, and foster racial reconciliation and healing. A shuttered cathedral will be repurposed to host the museum. Quoting from a 2015 New York Times article “Tiny Rhode Island played an outsize role in the trade, thanks to the state’s financiers, a seafaring work force and officials who turned a blind eye to antislavery laws. While many slave ships were built in Boston, they were supplied, manned and dispatched from Rhode Island ports. Between 1725 and 1807, more than 1,000 slaving voyages — about 58 percent of the total from the United States — left from Providence, Newport and Bristol. Those vessels brought more than 100,000 Africans to the Americas as part of the triangle trade. They traveled to West Africa carrying rum, which was traded for slaves. The human cargo was then transported to the Caribbean in the infamous Middle Passage of the triangle. There, the ships were emptied of slaves and loaded with sugar, which was brought back to Rhode Island distilleries to make more rum to take back to Africa and repeat the cycle.”

Book about the Northern role in slavery
“Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery”

Slavery on Long Island Estates
Joseph McGill, created the Slave Dwelling Project, for which he sleeps at sites previously inhabited by slaves to underline that slavery was part of the history of the location. He recently visited Long Island estates. Here is a quote from a 2015 New York Times article
“So far, Mr. McGill, whose ancestors were enslaved in Williamsburg County in South Carolina, has slept in more than 70 slave dwellings in 14 states, alone or in groups as large as 30, with the descendants of slaves sometimes lying alongside descendants of slave owners. This weekend, he is doing his first overnight stays in New York State, bedding down on three historic properties on eastern Long Island, in some of the region’s most beautiful (and expensive) resort areas.

If these are not places where slavery is the first — or 51st — thing to pop into visitors’ heads, it isn’t because it didn’t exist in them. In the mid-18th century, New York City’s slave market was second in size only to Charleston’s. Even after the Revolution, New York was the most significant slaveholding state north of the Mason-Dixon line. In 1790, nearly 40 percent of households in the area immediately around New York City owned slaves — a greater percentage than in any Southern state as a whole, according to one study.” From So far, Mr. McGill, whose ancestors were enslaved in Williamsburg County in South Carolina, has slept in more than 70 slave dwellings in 14 states, alone or in groups as large as 30, with the descendants of slaves sometimes lying alongside descendants of slave owners. This weekend, he is doing his first overnight stays in New York State, bedding down on three historic properties on eastern Long Island, in some of the region’s most beautiful (and expensive) resort areas.

If these are not places where slavery is the first — or 51st — thing to pop into visitors’ heads, it isn’t because it didn’t exist in them. In the mid-18th century, New York City’s slave market was second in size only to Charleston’s. Even after the Revolution, New York was the most significant slaveholding state north of the Mason-Dixon line. In 1790, nearly 40 percent of households in the area immediately around New York City owned slaves — a greater percentage than in any Southern state as a whole, according to one study. “ 

NATIONAL AND GLOBAL LEVEL

The only museum of slavery in the USA
The slavery museum at Whitney Plantation opened in December 2014. 

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
The Slave Voyages database contains, in their own words, information on “more than 35,000 slave voyages that forcibly embarked over 12 million Africans for transport to the Americas between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. It offers researchers, students and the general public a chance to rediscover the reality of one of the largest forced movements of peoples in world history.

Have history or comments on this you want to share? To write us, see our webpage CONTACT.


This is Nathaniel Gordon New Hampshire Legislator (1820-1908) not Nathaniel Gordon owner and Captain of the ship ERIE, executed for the crime of slave running, a pivotal case in elimination of slaving and then slavery by Americans. 

This is Nathaniel Gordon New Hampshire Legislator (1820-1908) not Nathaniel Gordon owner and Captain of the ship ERIE, executed for the crime of slave running, a pivotal case in elimination of slaving and then slavery by Americans. 

ADDENDUM: When we first posted this we were under the belief that the slave ship Erie was sold on November 5th 1860. Additional research post posting revealed that the November date was when Judge Betts issued his order for the ship to be sold but that the actual date of the sale in Atlantic Basin was December 5, 1860,  The initial posting also featured a portrait of a man said to be the slaver Nathaniel Gordon.  We now believe this was wrong and, making the same mistake as many other websites, we erroneously used a picture of a different Nathaniel Gordon.  The portrait, by N. B. Onthank,  is of a New Hampshire state legislator and philanthropist, born in 1820 and died in 1908.  (Source: New Hampshire Devision of Historical Resources)  Again, we invite any history or comments you may have to share.

 

Red Hook Ferry Testimony

NYC EDC Map

NYC EDC Map

Why this blogpost

This blogpost is in response to the uproar over the two Red Hook ferry locations proposed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC).  See images at bottom.  The EDC proposed these locations in a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and gave the public a deadline of October 8, 2015 for comments. 

The Red Hook community via the NYS NY Rising resiliency plan it created had, over a year before, articulated its recommendation for a ferry location in Atlantic Basin.  The EDC proposal did not include Atlantic Basin. 

After the angry and frustrated responses to the DEIS in a public hearing shortly before the comment deadline and the comments submitted to the EDC DEIS, the EDC reversed itself. “We agreed to take a second look at Atlantic Basin as a landing,” said vice-president Peter Flynt in a Brooklyn Paper article “We’ve heard the community loud and clear.” In short, as of this writing, the topic is still open.

PortSide NewYork has long supported ferry service for Red Hook. Over the years, we have provided advice to ferry owners, property owners, elected officials, Brooklyn Community Board 6 and others. During 2010, PortSide advocated for waterborne transit during the Vision 2020 process. During 2013-2014, PortSide President Carolina Salguero was on the NY Rising Red Hook committee which proposed an Atlantic Basin ferry location, and PortSide staff and interns contributed research to her work for NY Rising.

EDC links

Media links

How this blogpost will work

To help resolve where a new Red Hook stop on the citywide ferry system will be located, PortSide NewYork has created this blogpost.  Here, we will link all comments that were submitted to the EDC DEIS that we receive, or any subsequent statements people want to make about the Red Hook ferry, or you can post directly in the comment section at bottom.  All statements we receive will be posted without editorial comment in alphabetical order by name of person who wrote the testimony. 

We are doing this to improve transparency by showing testimony the EDC received, to foster discussion within the community by showing what the collective is thinking, and to help media reporting for all the same reasons. 

Comments submitted to the DEIS process & other statements


Bette Stoltz, in memoriam, a tribute

By Carolina Salguero

I write to thank and honor Bette Stoltz for decades of work bettering Brooklyn. Bette passed away the Thursday before Thanksgiving, leaving many of us stunned and bereft. Some tributes from others, including her daughter Erica Stoltz, are below mine.

Bette created festivals, business organizations, collaborations, job training programs, school programs, businesses, and she founded SBLDC, the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation.  Bette dealt with the macro via the micro. Her successful community development work demonstrated a granular knowledge of community players in their diverse and contentious glory.  She worked her magic on several shopping corridors which were once moribund:  Flatbush Avenue, Park Slope’s Seventh Avenue, Court Street in Carroll Gardens, and then her masterwork Smith Street which she dubbed “the little street that could.”   Like Bastille Day and petanque on Smith Street? Thank Bette.  

Video about Bette Stoltz by her daughter Erica Stoltz

It was so Bette to address a problem by creating an opportunity, so when school dismissal was causing a disruptive flood of youth on revitalizing Smith Street, she created after-school programs for the students.  Her next step was to recruit the chefs and business owners from the Smith Street restaurant row of her creation and get them involved in starting a culinary arts training program in a local school. Similarly, she created thrift shops to fill empty storefronts (Smith Street once had them aplenty) and simultaneously give retail training to women from NYCHA public housing developments.  She was often a champion of the unsung and disconnected.

She worked for Brooklyn before Brooklyn was hip, and helped make Brooklyn hip in how she midwifed Smith Street into the mecca and brand it is today -- while also being an early advocate for manufacturing and industrial businesses. She helped create  training programs for bus drivers such as Red Hook on the Road. She also helped start FROGG, Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, which became a strong voice for getting the EPA to declare that canal a Superfund site.  Civic and development work like Bette’s is often not easy but; “she employed her will of steel to bend the bureaucratic machine,” as her daughter Erica Stoltz says in the documentary she produced about Bette.   I recommend the video as a great tribute to Bette and her style of community development.  It is also a quick refresher course in how much parts of brownstone Brooklyn changed over 30 some years.

If you haven’t heard of Bette, maybe that’s because she did her work without a #LookAtMe buzz machine, even after that became so Brooklyn.  She deftly deployed a know-your-neighbor, fact and relationship based ethos that fostered empathetic, site-specific, organic, evolution of place – and community.

I hope someone creates a Bette Stoltz award to honor and further the understanding of her work and to ensure that she continues to serve as an inspiration.  We would be better for it.

A message from Erica Stoltz, daughter of Bette Stoltz

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your condolences and comforting words during this difficult time. Your love has been received and has helped us as we try and pick up the pieces and heal our broken hearts.  

Bette suffered a heart attack on Monday following ambulatory surgery and never recovered.  Being the person that she was, death could not even stop Bette from her work.  The first thing she did upon leaving us was give the gift of sight to another as an organ donor.

We have received an outpouring of calls and emails asking about plans and services to memorialize this amazing woman, mother, grandmother and community leader. In this regard, Bette chose to be cremated at a private ceremony with her immediate family. However, keeping with the Bette tradition, she also wants a memorial ceremony to be held in and around her beloved Smith Street where people who know Bette will have an opportunity to speak, and, which will be followed by drinking and a procession down Smith Street that she wants to be more like a parade than a funeral so that we may celebrate her life. We are in the process of finalizing dates and locations and will send that information along shortly.  If you chose to memorialize her as well let us know and we will spread the word, join you in raising our glasses and keep her alive in our hearts forever. 

In lieu of cards and flowers donations can be made to The Culinary Arts Program at the School for International Studies through SBLDC so that her work may continue. South Brooklyn LDC is a 501c3 Tax Exempt Corporation. Your donations are fully Tax Deductible. 100% of every donation made to support the Culinary Arts Program will go to buying food and equipment for this program. In addition we would like to support the cost of bus trips to nearby colleges that have culinary programs. Send your contribution payable to South Brooklyn LDC – 268 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 and just indicate that it is for the Culinary Program.

Thank you.

Michael, Erica, Patrick, Van and Shirley.

Tributes to Bette Stoltz

Craig Hammerman, CB6 District Manager in December 2015 CB6 monthly Newsletter

Katia Kelly of the blog " Pardon me for Asking" On The Passing Of Bette Stoltz, Who Helped Revitalize Smith Street, "The Little Street That Could"

Councilman Brad LanderRemembering Bette Stoltz a Champion of South Brooklyn

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez "On the passing of Bette Stoltz"

“I’m profoundly saddened by the passing of Bette Stoltz.  Our community has lost a dedicated activist, advocate and leader who will be deeply missed.

“Bette made so many contributions to South Brooklyn that one would be hard pressed to account for them all. She was instrumental to revitalizing Smith Street and helping it become a home to thriving businesses that add so much cultural life and vibrancy to our area. She organized the Smith Street Festivals in the fall and the Bastille Day Pétanque Tornament.  She never stopped working to ensure Smith Street remained a thriving community anchor.

“Her efforts went well beyond Smith Street. By starting the South Brooklyn Local Development Corporation and the Red Hook Chamber of Commerce, she worked tirelessly to expand opportunity and commerce throughout Brooklyn.  She helped organize Friends of Greater Gowanus and served on the EPA Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, working on multiple fronts to push to remediate and restore the Gowanus Canal in a green, sustainable manner. She helped to institute a Culinary Arts Curriculum at the High School for International Studies on Baltic Street. For years, Bette served as a member of Community Board 6.  

“The fact is, in so many ways, South Brooklyn would not be as vibrant, diverse and culturally rich without Bette’s many contributions. She leaves behind a proud legacy, one that we will honor by continuing to improve our community.  My thoughts and prayers are with her husband, Michael, her children and her beloved grandchildren.”

 

Norwegian Red Hook WaterStories, a night of Bluegrass music - and history

PortSide NewYork presents
Norwegian Red Hook WaterStories
 
A night of bluegrass music and history

Thursday, 9/24/15, 7:00-10:30pm, $15, at Atelier Roquette, 63 Commerce Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Cash bar with beer, wine and imported sodas. BYO food or order in from great local venues. Menus will be on hand.

Buy tickets on Eventbrite here

Come nestle in a sofa or dance into the night with great bluegrass music during the NYC premiere of the band Paradise Mountain Boys from Norway - and get yourself a NY WaterStory!

Produced by PortSide NewYork as part of our ongoing Red Hook WaterStories.  You will be surrounded by projections of vintage film and photos on the brick walls as you soak up the maritime history of Norwegians in Red Hook. Norwegians were one of the major immigrant groups in Brooklyn from the late 19th to early 20th century. They were a major presence on NYC's working waterfront and on historic ship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN.  They were first concentrated in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

BIO OF BAND PARADISE MOUNTAIN BOYS

This is the NYC premier of the Paradise Mountain Boys! The band plays the traditional way with all the band members around one microphone. Their six-piece acoustic outfit of mandolin, dobro, banjo, guitar and upright bass has its roots firmly planted in down-home acoustic music found in the Appalachian mountains. Traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel, with beautiful harmony singing is their thing.  

Event Schedule

The evening kicks off with speakers covering various aspects of the Norwegian New Yorker experience, then the NYC premier of the Paradise Mountain Boys, a bluegrass band from Norway! Contribute your own WaterStory at our StoryStation. Peruse paper and digital Norwegian New Yorker history at our ReadingTable.  

7:00-7:45pm 3 short history talks with slides
8:00-9:45pm  bluegrass music by Paradise Mountain Boys from Norway
9:45-10:30pm time to talk to the historians and band, read history at our ReadingTable, get interviewed at our WaterStories StoryStation, sign up to be interviewed in the future.

History program

  • Historical overview by Lars Nilsen, Co-Chair of the Norwegian Immigrant Association
  • Victor Samuelsen will talk about the first people to row across the Atlantic, two Norwegians George Harbo & Frank Samuelsen who did that in an open boat - in 1896!
  • PortSide NewYork board member John Weaver will talk about his father in law Alf Dyrland who left Norway as a cabin boy at age 13 and was captain of our ship MARY A. WHALEN from 1958 to 1978, one of many Norwegians to work on the MARY and for the two companies for which the MARY worked most of her years, Ira S. Bushey & Sons in Red Hook and Ekloff in Staten Island.
  • The 1931 silent film “Glimpses of Old New York” playing on the walls is by Engineer Michael Leirvik, shot to show Norwegians how their emigrants brethren lived in NYC and especially Brooklyn, courtesy of Norsk Film Institut, Oslo, with the permission of the Leirvik Family.
First Norwegian seaman's church in Red Hook, now Chico Macmurtie's studio

First Norwegian seaman's church in Red Hook, now Chico Macmurtie's studio

Event Partners

Norwegian Immigrant Association and Norwegian Seaman’s Church and Norsk Film Institut, Oslo 

Thanks

Profuse thanks to the Paradise Mountain Boys for donating this concert.  This is another “Artists for PortSide” event where artists donate their work to PortSide NewYork.

Thanks for funding support from Councilman Carlos Menchaca  and for tech support from Hughes Media Group and Pioneer Works and venue Atelier Roquette.

The Venue  

The venue Atelier Roquette was generously donated by the dynamic duo Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson, the force behind three businesses, Atelier Roquette, home/made and Roquette Catering whose flair has converted a former forge, ice cream warehouse and espresso machine repair shop into Atelier Roquette, a cozy, airy nest for brunch, weddings and community events. The esthetic here is an exquisite balancing of flowers and rust, linen and stainless with notes of rustic wood with an eclectic mix of chairs, tables and lounge spaces. Check out the interior courtyard with blooming oranges and roses!   

Proceeds and donations from the evening support future Red Hook WaterStories programs.

Red Hook WaterStories

This event is part of PortSide NewYork’s ongoing Red Hook WaterStories project which tells the history of the Red Hook peninsula along a water theme, including early Dutch tidal mills, shipyards and ports, nature, real estate development, squatters, illness, crime, harbor connections to unexpected things, and contemporary maritime activities ashore and visible from our shore.  It tells of Red Hook’s greatness: when the port of Brooklyn was a place of international importance, and the best in the region from the mid-1800’s until the mid 1900’s, its heart was in Red Hook.  From this content, PortSide makes school programs, public programs, digital and paper Red Hook maps and guides, and the research also informs our advocacy and neighborhood promotion work.

Help us keep up the momentum!

To support PortSide NewYork programs and to get involved with our efforts, please donate, volunteer, attend our October 27 fundaiser at Hometown BarBQue, and/or see www.portsidenewyork.org  for how to contact us.


Experience POW! PortSide Open Weekend, Fri 8/7 - Sun 8/9

POW! PortSide Open Weekend! 
Weekend of free programs on historic tanker MARY A. WHALEN 
In historic Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Need some POW! for a summer weekend?  You can get that the second weekend in August during POW! PortSide Open Weekend, when the waterfront non-profit PortSide NewYork opens their historic ship in Atlantic Basin for the first time in five years, offering free events from Friday night through Sunday night.  All events are on the 77-year old tanker MARY A. WHALEN in historic Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Map of location HERE.

Friday, 8/7/15 8pm-10:00pm, POW! kicks off with an “Artists for PortSide” event. Regula Küffer, flute, and Nick Perrin, guitar, were inspired to donate their “Nuevo Amenecer“ (“New Dawn“) concert after seeing the documentary “Stadt am Wasser“, featuring PortSide NewYork and the tanker MARY A. WHALEN, on European TV. The two Swiss musicians combine flamenco, chamber music, and jazz as they perform rumba, sevillana, tango, fandango and more.  They promise a turtle, funny birds and surprises to boot. All music is written by Nick Perrin.   “Nuevo Amenecer“ is the name of their new CD and what it means for PortSide NewYork to have this new long-term home in Atlantic Basin. In late May, PortSide started a three-year permit at this site, so stay tuned for future POW! events and more!

Saturday, 8/8 and Sunday 8/9, 12:00-5:00pm, TankerTours of the MARY A. WHALEN are free to the public.  The ship is the last of her kind in the USA and on the National Register of Historic Places.  Learn PortSide WaterStories about the crew, how a Supreme Court decision about the ship revolutionized American maritime law. The huge galley is likely bigger than your apartment kitchen, the cast iron engine is a wonder, the bell boat communication system a surprise.  Play string with ship cat Chiclet, deemed one of NYC’s top mascots by Time Out NY.  

The Pioneer Works Center for Art + Innovation is partnering with PortSide NewYork during POW!  Sign up for TankerTours at Pioneer Works, located at the corner of Pioneer and Conover Street, just one hundred yards from the ship. See the exhibits at Pioneer Works during your visit, which include 'Second Sundays' open studios and performances.  TankerTours are run open-house style; you move through the ship at your own pace through spaces with docents.  Great for kids. Flat soled shoes highly recommended.  An array of maritime props will be available for you to take SaltySelfies. 

Site of all POW! programs. Photo by Jonathan Atkin/www.shipshooter.com

Site of all POW! programs. Photo by Jonathan Atkin/www.shipshooter.com

Saturday, 8/8, 6:00-10:00pm, kick back and relax, make like the tanker is your own during TankerTime aboard MARY A. WHALEN.  The deck is set with tables, chairs and hammocks for you to lounge, bring take-out or your favorite bottle. You can sketch, photograph- or sing along!  Folk Music Society of New York will have a sing along during this TankerTime. 

Regula Küffer, and Nick Perrin will perform "Nuevo amanecer"

Regula Küffer, and Nick Perrin will perform "Nuevo amanecer"

Sunday, 8/9, 6:00-10:00pm, enjoy sunset and sea breezes and a neighborhood vibe. The deck will be set with 6’ tables for communal dining. It’s bring your own, and the community is encouraged to bring pot luck dinners and share. 

POW! PortSide Open Weekend schedule in brief

    Fri 8/7, 8:00pm-10:00pm, “Artists for PortSide” flamenco jazz concert 
    Sat 8/8, 12:00-5:00pm, TankerTours of MARY A. WHALEN
    Sat 8/8, 6:00-10:00pm, TankerTime w/Folk Music Society of New York sing along
    Sun 8/9, 12:00-5:00pm, TankerTours of MARY A. WHALEN
    Sun 8/9, 6:00-10:00pm, with Community Picnic & Potluck on deck

Directions

Location is 40°40'50.0"N 74°00'45.0"W 

Map of location is here

For how to get here by car, bikes, subway, bus and ferries, download our directions document

Walking directions from Smith & 9th Street F/G stop from hopstop

About PortSide NewYork 

PortSide NewYork brings WaterStories to life. PortSide is a living lab for better urban waterways.  We bring the community afloat and the community ashore closer together to the benefit of both through education, arts, preservation, advocacy and workforce programs, on and off our flagship, the historic tanker MARY A. WHALEN.

PortSide was founded in 2005 and operated for ten years as a pop-up while looking for a home.  May 29 this year, PortSide NewYork moved to its first long term home, starting a three year contract in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook.  Our first POW! concert is thus fittingly named “Nuevo Amenecer“ (“New Dawn“).

PortSide WaterStories can save lives and protect property; we refer to our resiliency work.  Since Superstorm Sandy, PortSide has been active in recovery and resiliency.  Our Sandy recovery work won us a White House “Champions of Change” award and honors from the New York State Senate.  Our President Carolina Salguero was on the Red Hook committee of the NY Rising Program and contributed many elements to Red Hook’s resiliency plan. 

Further info:

PortSide NewYork contact:  research.portsidenewyork@gmail.com 

Press photos can be downloaded from http://portsidenewyork.org/pr-photos