FOR IMMEDIATAE RELEASE: PortSide NewYork launches Red Hook WaterStories

FOR IMMEDIATAE RELEASE: PortSide NewYork launches Red Hook WaterStories

On the occasion of the 4th anniversary of Sandy, PortSide NewYork launches Red Hook WaterStories. This is a digital museum with significant resiliency information. The site covers 400+ years of Red Hook waterfront history - NYC’s maritime story in microcosm - and reveals forgotten and overlooked stories from this evocative neighborhood.  

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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!  





Sandy recovery work of our honorees at 10/28/14 "Resiliency is our HOOK" fundraiser

PortSide NewYork won a White House “Champions of Change” award in April 2013 for our hurricane Sandy recovery work and honors shortly thereafter from the New York State Senate. 

A huge part of our Sandy recovery work depended on the generous actions of three people PortSide honored at our fundraiser just before the two-year anniversary of the storm on October 28, 2014 at Hometown Bar-B-Que. More on them below.

Blogpost about the fundraiser in general

Blogpost about our special good neighbor award to IKEA

Victoria Hagman of Realty Collective

Victoria Hagman is principal of Realty Collective. So much of PortSide's recovery work after saving the MARY A. WHALEN was enabled by her generosity.  Despite Victoria's home having been flooded along with the basement contents of her Red Hook business location, Victoria, without hesitation and no strings attached, allowed PortSide to use the 351 Van Brunt storefront as an aid station. 

That offer included free electricity, heat, (and telephone and internet once those were back up.)  This became Red Hook’s first small business recovery center, before the location at IKEA, hosting different groups.  The storefront housed a gallery at that time, so PortSide had a stylish aid station, and the fact that the gallery was there is a testament to the trust that Victoria offered in making the space available.  Several Sandy survivors commented that the white gallery space and bright art was uplifting. 

Victoria helped set up a meeting for homeowners to get resilient rebuilding advice from Jim Garrison an architect from Pratt Institute and more.  She continues to do work for Red Hook Sandy recovery and resiliency efforts via multiple groups by participating in NY Rising, in special events promoting red hook, a zoning working, being on the CB6 board and the Gowanus CAG, Ready Red Hook emergency response plan… Safe to say, that if there’s some group working to improve Red Hook, Victoria’s probably in it.

 Danny Schneider of Schneider Electrical Contracting

James Hill (left) of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce presents the award to electrician Danny Schneider

James Hill (left) of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce presents the award to electrician Danny Schneider

Danny Schneider, the principal of Schneider Electrical Contracting in Park Slope, walked into PortSide's Sandy aid center "351" within days of the storm and offered free electrical services.  He had heard through his wife's Facebook page that electricians were needed in Red Hook.

PortSide offered to coordinate his work, and word of the “electrician sign-up sheet” at 351 spread like wildfire in Red Hook. PortSide amalgamated requests by phone, email and text and conveyed them to Danny, who worked off the sign-up sheet.

Danny reports that he inspected and certified sixty buildings (which means many more families than sixty) for free, and repaired some two dozen for the cost of parts.  When electrical parts were getting hard to source, he passed that info to PortSide who began hunting for parts in bulk. He battled hours of traffic each day to get to Red Hook; and in the middle of all that, his license was up for renewal so he battled traffic and lines downtown to get that renewed, and came back to help. He also did volunteer electrical repair in the Rockaways. Video of 
Danny Schneider receiving his award  He also speaks at the end of the video with honoree Victoria Hagman.

Peter Rothenberg, Historian & Curator, PortSide NewYork

Peter Rothernberg (lefti holding his award, and Carolina Salguero (right) 

Peter Rothernberg (lefti holding his award, and Carolina Salguero (right) 

Peter Rothenberg is PortSide’s Historian and Curator. His recovery work includes prevention, restoration of historic artifacts and direct service to Red Hook Sandy survivors, as well as reassuring ministrations to ship cat Chiclet. on our ship during the storm.  See video of Peter receiving his award here.

Within the crew of rambunctious wits that is PortSide NewYork, Peter is a quiet, private worker and just the kind of steady guy you want around when a storm is coming and things are going to hit the fan.

Peter helped PortSide prepare the tanker Mary Whalen for Sandy for four and a half days, and he rode out the storm on the ship with PortSide Director Carolina Salguero and Chiclet.

Peter came armed with foul weather gear and four gallons of corn chowder left over from a Brooklyn Botanic Gardens event (after three days of corn chowder, that taste will forever be associated in our minds with the hurricane). He also came armed with a tender heart for Chiclet who had that knowledge animals have that something bad is coming and washed herself steadily for many hours. Peter made Chiclet a tuffet of pillows so she could see out the tankerman’s cabin porthole

During the storm, Peter joined Carolina working outside easing lines… putting a chimney cap on the stove… putting another line around the tarp covering the wheelhouse windows… and the epic job of tying together every dockline not already in use and dragging that through the water to the pier 265’ to the north.   That line was to prevent the MARY A.WHALEN from floating up onto the pier, and maybe rolling or impaling herself on a bollard or wreaking any havoc.  As the surge waters rose around him, Peter crawled on hands and knees across the jersey barriers along the bulkhead back to the ship.

After the storm. Peter helped rinse out and dry our flooded electrical transformer (which we are still using); and when he found out that Carolina Salguero had forgotten to get our collection of historic documents out of the shed, he set to drying out the collection. Within hours, he had every horizontal surface aboard the tanker covered in wet historic papers, interleaved with whatever we had at hand (sheets, towels, paper towels, wax paper). The stevedores' lounge in the shed was also covered with this project for several weeks.

Peter and Carolina came ashore and set up and ran the aid station at 351 Van Brunt for several days until Dan Goncharoff could make it in from Manhattan to join us. Peter spent much of his time at 351 helping people who did not know how to use computers apply for aid and do other work on the internet.

 

PortSide surprise award to IKEA "Good neighbor Award for Sandy Recovery Work"

At our October 28, 2014 Fundraiser "Resiliency is our HOOK," PortSide went off script, as we are wont to do, and gave the Red Hook IKEA store a surprise award.

We presented IKEA with a "PortSide Good Neighbor Award for Sandy Recovery Work" in recognition of the varied, inventive and generous aid they provided for over a year.

We gave this award because we think IKEA deserves recognition at the community level for what their Brooklyn store did for Red Hook after Sandy.

We also gave IKEA the award because we are an educational organization, and we think there are some important lessons in the IKEA Sandy story.

WHAT’S TO LEARN HERE

1)  IKEA was able to help because they built a resilient building in the first place with the store set high up on a second floor (the garage beneath the store is flood-able space) with elevated electricity and mechanicals. The rectangle of the building was also angled so that a corner faced the water so that it could part waves as does the bow of a ship.  Given the surge in resiliency planning talk after Sandy, we think people should be looking at a design that worked and a company that thought to build that way nine years before Sandy.

2)  The absence of reporting about IKEA’s large-scale, diverse and prolonged recovery work says something about the media.  It shows how reporting clusters around themes, how reporting can be an echo chamber reiterating earlier stories. That a big box store could turn its cafeteria into and aid center and NOT have that generate a single feature story is a remarkable absence. The Fourth Estate can help the discussions of what worked and failed in the recovery period and is going to foster intelligent discussions of resiliency planning, so we ask them to look more closely.

3)  Looking to the future, it is important when making recovery and resiliency plans to understand who really did what in the wake of Sandy.  We encourage everyone (the Red Hook grassroots level, the consultant/planner/think tank contingent, elected officials and the media) to think about what gaps in reporting about Sandy may exist and research those gaps.  PortSide raised awareness of some knowledge gaps in the article “PortSide NewYork & other hidden Sandy Stories” that we wrote at the invitation of the local paper, the Red Hook Star Revue. 

Activities of the IKEA Brooklyn store in Red Hook

IKEA Brooklyn donated furniture to over 25 small businesses.

IKEA Brooklyn donated products directly to local non profits.

IKEA opened its Red Hook doors to National Disaster Organizations (FEMA & SBA, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and others which used half of the cafeteria and other spaces for their operations.

IKEA Brooklyn worked with Tunnel2Towers who brought about 16 box trucks full of donations for their co-workers and Red Hook neighbors for two weeks.

IKEA Brooklyn held a hiring event for displaced workers as a result of Sandy, offering temp work until their home businesses were back on their feet.

Additional work occurred at IKEA Elizabeth, Paramus, & Long Island with each store each working with their local communities.

IKEA provided $250,000 so that GlobalGreen could implement the “Solar for Sandy program” which installed solar power in the Red Hook Rec Center, so Red Hook has one off-the-grid community emergency center. The ribbon cutting was October 23, 2013 just before the first Sandy anniversary.

IKEA Brooklyn subsidized free Red Hook Summer Ferry in 2013 and 2014.

IKEA Brooklyn provided great support for their co-workers:

They brought in 3 counselors to help co-workers cope with the situation.

IKEA converted its large conference room into a makeshift shelter for co-workers and their families.

IKEA US organized a co-worker to co-worker donation program to help those IKEA co-workers who lost their homes or personal belongings.

IKEA received donations from other IKEA stores to give to our co-workers & their families (The store in Virginia sent a truck full of donations, driven up by two of their co-workers).

In addition, there were IKEA national initiatives

IKEA US donated over $500,000 in products for the NY/NJ area to disaster relief via the Red Cross.

IKEA donated furniture to firehouses, senior centers, & public libraries after Sandy

IKEA donated home furnishing to a Family Head Start/Early Learning facility in Brooklyn affected by Hurricane Sandy as part of the Life Improvement Project.

IKEA together with Tunnel2Towers:

donated furnishings for those in need in Staten Island and Brooklyn. Beds, mattresses, dining tables and chairs, chest of drawers, sofas. Value approximately $300K at retail dollars.
Product to be delivered to Staten Island and Gerritsen Beach locations.
Donations benefited between 500 to 1000 families in need.

IKEA teamed up with Save the Children and UPS to help refurnish 39 early childhood development centers in New York and New Jersey hit by Hurricane Sandy.

IKEA donated more than $100,000 worth of items, including bookcases, children's tables and chairs, cribs, desks and blankets to devastated child care centers Save the Children is helping to restore, as well as to the charity's Brooklyn field office. UPS is donating delivery services.

IKEA held special Sandy Recovery marketing events:

20% off Kitchens in January to help people rebuild
IKEA Brooklyn discounted moving boxes (Samla) in the months after Sandy

Mariners, please share your Sandy stories here for the benefit of all

Dear Mariners (ones on contemporary ships and historic ones) as we build up to the 2-year anniversary of hurricane Sandy, we invite you to tell you Sandy stories and share your photos here.  We ask you to join us in an educational project.

A goal of PortSide NewYork is to bring the community ashore and community ashore closer together. Sharing Sandy stories is one important way to do that.  We have found that most people ashore in NYC don’t know the mariners’ Sandy story, from prevention, to riding out the storm, to damages incurred, to recovery work -- usually recovery work while being damaged from Sandy.  

In the way that PortSide told the mariners’ response to 9/11 in an exhibit, we would like to do that with Sandy, and we’d like to start that project here.  

We believe that resiliency planning in NYC should involve hearing from the people who build the bulkheads and piers (and who will build any of the sea walls being proposed), marine salvors and equipment suppliers who pump the flooded tunnels, the crew and companies who move the fuel everyone was so desperate to have after Sandy, who clear the channels of debris so imports could arrive by ship, who build and run the emergency ferries, and companies that use boats like dinner boats in emergency response ways, etc.

We also believe mariners can have an important role in preparing communities for floods by helping teach awareness of marine weather, by bringing coastal living skills to New Yorkers living at the water's edge who lack those skills.

There are coastal parts of NYC where communities retain what were traditional coastal skills in abundance, the Rockaways, City Island, parts of Staten Island, where bayman, watermen, boatmen (and women) live, work and play; but large parts of NYC’s waterfront are now populated by people who have little sense of the water along which they live.

PortSide has designed some programs to share knowledge of the water with such people, and we’d like to see if we could kick off that conversation here.

What echoes in our ears is what we heard so often in the Sandy aid center we ran in Red Hook when people explained why they did not prep for Sandy either by evacuating or executing protective measures “they warned us about Irene, and nothing happened.”

This request is also on our two Facebook pages (Mary A. Whalen and PortSide NewYork) for people who would rather share there.

PortSide NewYork & hidden Sandy stories, ours & others

At the two-year anniversary of hurricane Sandy, PortSide NewYork is telling our Sandy story, a story largely hidden, like so many in Red Hook.  We believe our story offers hope and guidance for the future. That’s because our maritime perspective explains how we knew to prepare for Sandy, made us available to help Red Hook’s Sandy recovery, and is a knowledge base we want to share to make you safer from floods in the future.

PortSide NewYork was founded to help change awareness and use of NYC’s BLUEspace, the water part of the waterfront.  New York City’s area is one third water, and contains 29 islands.  PortSide’s goal is to create a place that will showcase what NYC’s waterfront can really be.  Our ship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN, is an ambassador in that goal and our endeavor to bring the community ashore and the community afloat, the maritime community, closer together.  Here’s our Sandy story:

Please help us continue this kind of resiliency work and reporting. Buy a ticket to our fundraiser Tues 10/28/14 or donate

Sandy prevention: Saving a historic ship

Thursday, 10/25/12, 1pm, Sandy minus 4.5 days, PortSide’s crew said good-bye to a class trip of first graders visiting the MARY A. WHALEN and started hurricane prep, punching our way thru the list of what we did for Irene the year before. 

During the next four and a half days, we traded strategies with historic ships and modern workboats around the harbor. We all laid in food, water and fuel; tested generators; and moved our boats to safer places. PortSide curator Peter Rothenberg, shipcat Chiclet and Director Carolina Salguero are storm crew on the MARY A. WHALEN.  

The maritime community obsessively followed marine weather reports. “Grim installments are burned in my memory,” said Carolina Salguero. “At Sandy minus 1.5 days, we learned an 8-foot surge is coming.  At Sandy minus a few hours, I am readying for a 12 foot surge.”

Ashore in Red Hook, things were different. Sunday night, Sandy minus 24 hours, an email blast went out telling Red Hook which bars will be open and what movies are being screened.  Carolina worried, “Is the community ashore prepping for Sandy? Has anyone evacuated?” PortSide’s maritime world felt separated from neighbors ashore by more than the containerport fence. 

Peter Rothenberg was valiant. “When Carolina got word that the storm surge was expected to be 12 or 13 feet high, I had visions of the MARY tipping over onto the pier and emphatically agreed with the idea of securing a preventer line to the next pier 265 feet away.”

Due to preparations, our ship MARY WHALEN safely rode out the surge with our office aboard, enabling every form of Sandy assistance we delivered to Red Hook afterwards.  

Peter and Carolina came ashore on Wednesday afternoon to discover a devastated Red Hook, and immediately decided that PortSide’s urgent search for a publicly-accessible homeport was flooded to a standstill and that we would help Red Hook until waterfront sites recovered enough for us to resume real estate talks. 

Appreciation from Red Hook

Adam Armstrong, Pioneer Street resident and writer of the blog “View from the Hook” describes what happened next, “PortSide came ashore, quickly set up shop at 351 Van Brunt Street and proceeded to make a base - a visible and accessible storefront -  from where they could reach out, provide information, resources and assistance to their land lubbing neighbors, most of us who were desperately trying to recover from the immense damage that had been done to our homes and our unique, waterfront neighborhood.  Carolina Salguero and her team of volunteers co-ordinated clean-out crews and tradesmen to go and physically assist our residents, and they gathered and disseminated information about anything they though would be helpful - FEMA, legal assistance, insurance matters, Con Edison, National Grid, the Rapid Repairs program, etc., and provided a connection to our representatives in government. On many of these matters, PortSide organized meetings and reached out to our residents, and in the case of our street - Pioneer Street – Carolina co-ordinated the creation of a comprehensive contact list so that everyone on our block could share information and provide support to each other. It was - and still is - a wonderful way for the residents of Pioneer Street to keep in touch and get updates on our street's recovery.” 

What made that work possible was the selflessness of three people PortSide is honoring at our fundraiser on Tuesday, October 28 at Hometown. Victoria Hagman donated Realty Collective’s storefront and utilities at 351 Van Brunt, despite suffering extensive flood damage herself.  Park Slope electrician Danny Schneider walked into 351 and offered free labor. PortSide coordinated his work, and Danny reports that he inspected and certified 60 buildings and repaired some two dozen for just the cost of parts. 

Our third honoree, our Curator Peter Rothenberg worked both ends of PortSide’s recovery story, the prevention that saved the MARY WHALEN and the aid work after the storm of setting up and running 351.

Peter, Carolina and Dan Goncharoff of PortSide ran 351 for a month and then continued a virtual aid station and other recovery efforts out of view. In April 2013, PortSide won a White House award for Sandy recovery work, and in July, the New York State Senate honored our work.  

PortSide work transitions from recovery to resiliency

Carolina began attending resiliency conferences. Summer 2013, she was asked to become a member of Red Hook’s NY Rising committee to create local resiliency plans.  PortSide staff and interns did research supporting the committee (which includes bone, two, three, and four and several pages on our website) during the committee's eight months of work. 

One of Carolina’s NY Rising goals was to inject maritime issues into the discussion, hoping the State NY Rising process could influence a state agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), so waterfront infrastructure in NYC can be more repaired and built for both resiliency and everyday operations.  Carolina also proposed the solar-powered emergency lights for NYCHA housing which are in Red Hook’s plan and are being considered for other NYCHA developments. “I think the NY Rising committee work is good. Red Hook distinguished itself for what we put in our plan,” says Carolina; but plans are hidden assets for most people until they are built. 

Looking back on PortSide’s two years of Sandy-related work, for the sake of Red Hook’s planning better for the future, we would like to talk about some hidden Sandy stories of need and success we found in the course of our recovery and resiliency work.

Hidden Sandy stories of need and success

PortSide’s recovery work helped many people who don’t get media coverage and whose cases deserve more attention:  People without an advocacy group, without on-line fundraising.  People who aren’t comfortable using computers and needed Peter’s help to complete digital forms. People in mixed-use buildings that don’t fit FEMA homeowner funding guidelines. Renters who are not in NYCHA, and so are not in the media and political spotlights.  Seniors, immigrants. People whose divorce, estate and tax situations complicated filing for aid and kept them from speaking up in public meetings.  People who are private about their needs in general.

We learned that some affordable flood prevention was possible: The owners of Metal & Thread used a few hundred dollars of hardware store supplies to keep water from coming into their storefront and through the sidewalk hatch -- though their cellar suffered water leaking through the foundation from the empty lot next door.  Some tugboat crews saved their cars by moving them from Erie Basin to the second floor garage at Home Depot, above surge level.

IKEA’s contribution needs more attention. IKEA gave and gave and got no media coverage until the Sandy’s one year anniversary when their $250,000 investment in solar powering the Rec Center netted some articles.  

The power of connecting the community ashore and community afloat

Inland Red Hook is so disconnected from maritime Red Hook that the latter’s role in recovery is not discussed.  For example, Jim Tampakis’ business Marine Spares was significant in pumping out the Brooklyn Battery/Hugh L. Carey tunnel.  Vane Brothers provided hoses to the Hess fuel terminal at the foot of Court Street so home heating oil could be delivered. Both firms did that despite flood damage to their offices and mechanical shops.

PortSide feels the gap between inland resident and mariner is acute when we heard residents say “They told us to evacuate for Irene but nothing happened” and “I didn’t know there were two high tides a day.”  We conclude that people ashore poorly understand marine weather reports and don’t know where to get them.  

In comparison, mariners understand how to live with water, and how to prepare for hurricanes. They do the post-flood work of pumping tunnels, building ferry terminals and running emergency ferries, fixing bulkheads, clearing the harbor of debris so ships can import products as diverse as fuel, orange juice, new cars, bananas.  

To bring maritime voices to people ashore, PortSide plans programs to help folks develop coastal living and flood prep skills, such as educational events with actual mariners, exhibits, and creating a children’s book with our shipcat Chiclet as a resiliency narrator talking about riding out Sandy on the tanker.

Andrea Sansom, who founded the Red Hook flood mitigation Google group, sees the need, “We all love living at the water, and PortSide is here to help bring understanding to living with the water.”

Our ship is a great tool for this. Our tanker MARY A. WHALEN is now a maritime symbol of resiliency, in contrast to the tanker JOHN B. CADDELL, Staten Island’s symbol of Sandy, which went aground and had to be scrapped.

PortSide’s own Sandy damages

PSNY-Sandy-slide (9).jpg

A hidden Sandy story PortSide feels acutely is that of our own Sandy damages.  An electrical short left us facing thirty-five nights of relying on flashlights and one 15-amp extension cord attached to a little gas generator.  Sandy damaged the Sheepshead Bay house of our staffer John Weaver keeping him home for many months.  Everything PortSide had off the ship (antique crane, 60’ dock, electrical transformer, restoration engine parts, historic artifacts and documents, special event equipment and furniture) was flood-damaged or floated away. Our FEMA worksheet totals some $340,000, and we are still deep in that paper chase, starting six months late because we were misinformed that we don’t qualify. 

A massive Sandy effect on PortSide was the stalling of our urgent search for a homeport.  We need a place to fulfill our mission, earn revenue, and run programs. Resumption of real estate negotiations took many, many more months than we expected, and remains a major strain on PortSide.

PortSide is now focused on the future while celebrating the good in recovery. Come join us in that spirit at our fundraiser on Tuesday, October 28 at Hometown Bar-B-Que. Join us in honoring our partners in Red Hook’s Sandy recovery: Victoria Hagman of Realty Collective, Danny Schneider the electrician, and Peter Rothenberg.  Wear festive MARY WHALEN red and white.  We look forward to talking with you there and, going forward, continuing the work we’ve collectively begun after Sandy in understanding our waterfront in all its complexity and potential!

FEMA needs input to Region 2 Coastal website - due 8-16-14

ALERT! Get info to FEMA by Wed 8/6/14.

FEMA realized that they need to revise the region2.coastal website and are looking for input and feedback. Send info directly to Heidi Carlin below.


From: coat-bounces@marine.rutgers.edu On Behalf Of Carlin, Heidi
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:51 PM
To: coat@marine.rutgers.edu
Cc: Song Thomas
Subject: [Coat] We need your input on the Region 2 Coastal website by August 6, 2014

Dear COAT Members,

You are a valued member of a large team of professionals along the New Jersey and New York coast interested in promoting flood risk communication. We would really appreciate you taking a few minutes to review the www.region2coastal.com website, then fill out the attached questionnaire, and send back to Heidi.carlin@urs.com by Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Heidi M. Carlin, CFM
Senior Strategic Communications Specialist
URS Corporation
Office/Mobile: 410-725-7414
Email: Heidi.Carlin@urs.com

*** here is the questionnaire ***

This questionnaire is intended for local community officials and other key stakeholders to determine usability of the www.region2coastal.com website. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

1. What is your primary function? (Please circle)
a. Floodplain Manager
b. Building Official
c. Elected Official
d. Emergency Manager
e. Academic
f. Non-Profit Organization
g. Private Sector
h. Federal/State Government
i. Other, please describe: ____________________

For the following questions, please write your answer in the space provided. Use the back of this sheet if
you need more space and indicate which question you are writing about.

2. Which parts of the website are most useful to you?




3. What do you need the most from this website in terms of content now or in the future?




4. What would you like the website to do for you? How can the website assist with your job needs?




5. Is there information you need that you cannot find, or have difficulty finding, related to the coastal flood study, the NFIP, or related topics? If so, please list the specific topics.




6. What do you think the public needs the most from this website?




7. What do you think about the overall look and feel of the website? Do you have any suggestions for improving overall usability?

Red Hook NY Rising CRP Resiliency Open House Sat 2/22 & Sun 2/23 11am – 6pm

crp_poster_02.13.13_flattened.jpg

Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program
Open House
Realty Collective, 351 Van Brunt St
Sat 2/22 & Sun 2/23
11am – 6pm

Where you are going:  351 Van Brunt while it was PortSide's Sandy aid center November 2012

Where you are going:  351 Van Brunt while it was PortSide's Sandy aid center November 2012

Only a few months of planning remain in the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program and the Committee is excited to engage the Red Hook community in the critical final phase of the program. The upcoming public meeting will be an important opportunity to gather community input on the top Priority Projects that may be recommended for funding with Red Hook’s $3M CDBG-DR allocation. We encourage everyone to attend this event and have your voice heard. At this event the Red Hook Committee will share ideas that its members have heard from you to date and answer questions you may have about the program and possible resiliency projects. Details for the event are on the attached flyer and as follows:
 
Experts will be on hand to discuss specific topics on Saturday and Sunday at the following times:
12pm-1pm: Infrastructure & Coastal Resiliency
1pm-2pm: Social Resiliency & Economic Development
 
Red Hook Resiliency Innovations event Sat 2/22, 3-6pm

Guest speakers to include: HUD Rebuild by Design, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) and Architecture for Humanity, and others.

We also have a few newsworthy pieces from the past few months to share:

  • The Committee held its 11th meeting on Monday, February 10th in which we discussed benefits, feasibility, and considerations of possible priority resiliency projects.
  • Youth from the Red Hook Initiative/South Brooklyn Community High School film production program completed a video documenting the November 19th Public Engagement at the Miccio Center. This will be featured at the public meeting as well.
  • On December 18th, the Red Hook Planning Committee partnered with Good Shepherd’s Services at the Beacon Center to engage teens in the NY Rising program. At this event, teens brainstormed with planners and Committee representatives about resiliency challenges and solutions for Red Hook.
  • The Committee applauds the incredible news from Governor Cuomo’s Office of a $200M New York City & New York State combined commitment for the development of an integrated flood protection system in Red Hook. This announcement provides great momentum to our work and is proof that Red Hook can and will become a more resilient community.  

We hope to see everyone at the upcoming public event.
 
As always, thank you for your continued engagement in the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program.
 
Sincerely,
 
NY Rising Red Hook Planning Committee & Committee Co-Chairs
Gita Nandan
Ian Marvy

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www.stormrecovery.ny.gov

 

This Saturday-Take-FREE-Citizen-Preparedness-Training-Governor-Cuomo-launches-program

Severe weather events are becoming more frequent and extreme and to make sure that our communities are safe, we need more New Yorkers than ever to be prepared and trained to respond
— Governor Cuomo

Free Citizen Preparedness Corps training on Saturday, February 1st in Richmond and Suffolk Counties. Attendees get one free emergency kit.  Space is limited, so participants are required to register in advance. Pre-registration for the training session is available at: http://www.nyprepare.gov/aware-prepare/nysprepare/

Here is official press release from Governor Cuomo's office

For Immediate Release: January 27, 2014

GOVERNOR CUOMO LAUNCHES CITIZEN PREPAREDNESS CORPS TRAINING PROGRAM

Goal is to provide 100,000 citizens with the tools they need to be ready and able to help their families and neighbors during emergencies

Governor Cuomo: We need more New Yorkers than ever to be prepared and trained to respond


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will launch on February 1 the Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program that will train 100,000 New Yorkers during 2014 in the proper preparation for emergencies or disasters. The program seeks to provide citizens with the tools and resources to prepare for emergencies and disasters, respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.

“Severe weather events are becoming more frequent and extreme and to make sure that our communities are safe, we need more New Yorkers than ever to be prepared and trained to respond,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program will train 100,000 citizens to help provide crucial and critical assistance in their own homes or in their own communities whenever disaster strikes.”

Citizen Preparedness Corps training will begin on Saturday, February 1st in Richmond and Suffolk Counties at:

Saturday, February 1st, 2014 - Richmond County
New Dorp High School, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
465 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY 10306

Saturday, February 1st, 2014 - Suffolk County
Farmingdale State College, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Roosevelt Hall, Multipurpose Room
2350 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale, NY 11735

Space is limited, so participants are required to register in advance. Pre-registration for the training session is available at: http://www.nyprepare.gov/aware-prepare/nysprepare/

Training sessions will be led by the New York National Guard, working with experts from the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management and Office of Fire Prevention and Control. All training sessions will be coordinated with local county emergency management personnel.

Major General Patrick A. Murphy, the Adjutant General NYS Division of Military and Naval Affairs said, “The men and women of the New York Army and Air National Guard understand the value of being prepared for any emergency, since our service members are always there to assist when disaster strikes. Our Soldiers and Airmen are proud to be part of the Governor's effort to better prepare New Yorkers to handle floods, hurricanes, tornados, snowstorms or whatever nature can throw at us. We look forward to engaging our fellow New Yorkers in this important emergency preparedness training.”

Jerome M. Hauer, Commissioner, NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for taking an assertive and proactive approach on training citizens for any type of disaster. In times of emergency or extreme difficulty caused by a disaster, it is often citizens in their homes or on their residential blocks who are immediately faced with the need to respond. This training effort will better prepare them for the types of response activities they should engage in to safeguard themselves and their families and possibly their neighbors.”

The training course will provide an introduction to responding to a natural or man-made disaster. Participants will be advised on how to properly prepare for any disaster, including developing a family emergency plan and stocking up on emergency supplies. Proper preparation in the home will be emphasized with encouragement to ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, along with fire extinguishers, are all available and in proper working order. Trainers will supply information on what organizations can provide additional support; how to register for NY-Alert, the free statewide emergency alert system; and how to be aware of notifications from such sources as the Emergency Broadcast System. Participants will also be encouraged to get more involved in existing community-based emergency activities that may be organized through local schools, businesses or community-based organizations.

A key component of this training effort is the distribution of Citizen Preparedness Corps Response Kits that contain key items to assist individuals in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. As an individual, a family member, and member of their community, it is essential that citizens take a few basic steps to be prepared; their quality of life and their loved ones may depend on it. Often during an emergency, electricity, heat, air conditioning or telephone service may not work. Citizens should be prepared to make it on their own for at least 7-10 days, maybe longer. Click here for a photo of the kit.

Every training participant (one per family) will receive a free Citizen Preparedness Corps Response Starter Kit, which includes:

· Plastic drop cloth
· Light stick
· (2) D Batteries
· First Aid Kit
· Face mask
· Safety goggles
· AM/FM pocket radio with batteries
· (6) packs of drinking water
· (6) food bars
· Regular flashlight
· Emergency blanket
· Duct tape
· Work gloves
· Water bottle


As part of the training, participants will receive information about the other supplies and personal information that they should add to their personal Response Kit.

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Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov
New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@exec.ny.gov | 518.474.8418