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!