Volunteers needed! Moving more vintage marine stuff! We need to wrap this up 11/17!

Volunteers Needed for Weekend 2

Saturday 11/15/14 9am-5pm
Sunday 11/16/14
9am-5pm
Pier 9B, Red Hook Container Terminal, Brooklyn, 11231
Thursday and Friday, depending on crew availability

Free pizza in return!

Lunch and pizza at end of day is on us. We can eat in the galley by the vintage stove or head to a local pizzeria; the work crew will vote to decide.

Location, RSVP info

Enter port gate at Hamilton Avenue, Summit and Van Brunt Streets
Photo needed to enter. TWIC card holders especially appreciated!
RSVP by emailing portsidenewyork@gmail.com or calling 917-414-0565.  If your tug is standing by and you're bored, you are welcome to tie up alongside and pitch in!

Progress so far

An INCREDIBLE amount of work has been done by POWERHOUSE  volunteers, many of them who have taken time away from their own ship projects (be they not-for-profit or for profit vessels). There was great spirit and good humor while tons of steel were moved.  Many thanks to you all!

Work done on Friday 11/7/14

Stevedore boss Sal came down the pier with other stevedores from the Pier 9B gang and hung another tire fender for us. Then, zip, zip, zip, with two forklifts they took all the stuff out of the shed that we thought we could move over the weekend. Thanks, guys!

Work done on Saturday 11/8/14

Saturday 11/8/14, we had a very experienced work crew: Matt Perricone, Paul Strubeck, Amy Bucciferro, Christine Van Lenten, Mike Abegg, David Sharps, Peter Rothenberg and me, Carolina Salguero. Shipcat Chiclet loves projects like this and kept a close eye on all human endeavors. She is no dumb bunny, so she stays away from anything raised on boom or hoist and prefers to watch rigging from the pier. Activities in the shed, such as crate inspection and lumber moving, attracted her focused attention.

What

What we were moving and saving with this big project is artifacts from several significant Red Hook maritime businesses which closed in 2005, marking the end of an era: Todd Shipyard, Cowhey Brothers, and RMC Canvas and Rope, along with some odds and ends from here and there. 

The artifacts include an array of marine hardware that will be used to explain rigging (over a span of decades) via a collection of diverse blocks, shackles, and turnbuckles. There are parts from WWII Liberty Ships, rope fenders; foundry molds, crates and crane plaques from the bridge cranes at Todd; a scale and line measuring device from Cowhey's, and more. Also, being moved are our event supplies (outdoor tables and chairs, signs, and sundry whatevers we use now and again such as Frank Hanavan's great costume version of the schooner PIONEER.)

Some large items of great importance to us include replacement parts of the engine on the MARY A. WHALEN, visible in the photo at right.

Paul Strubeck pulling out some pistons while Mike Abegg wears part of our Operation Christmas Cheer paraphinalia.

Paul Strubeck pulling out some pistons while Mike Abegg wears part of our Operation Christmas Cheer paraphinalia.

The marine business is so competitive that when the MARY A. WHALEN went out of service in 1994 due to a scored crankshaft, Eklof took the pistons, heads and rods out of the engine so that her buyers, Hughes Marine and Reinauer Transportation, dba Erie Basin Associates, could not repair the tanker and put her in competitive service. Just in case, Ekloff made them sign a covenant saying "we will not use the MARY A. WHALEN for fuel delivery service." She became their floating office, and a floating dock.

In 2008, PortSide NewYork bought spare engine parts from another Bushey tanker that had made its way to Seattle and was being scrapped there. Those parts were, unfortunately, in the shed when hurricane Sandy hit and now need some restoration work.

On Sunday, we were heartened when Nobby Peers, an engineer specializing in restoration work, told us the pistons looked really great!  A few weeks after Sandy, we had pulled all the engine parts apart, and wiped everything down very liberally with WD40, four gallons of it!

The early birds, David Sharps, Christine Van Lenten and I moved things out of the forward engine room.

Paul Strubeck and Mike Abegg led the rigging and decided to not lift things aboard via whole pallet loads. Instead, they swung stuff over in smaller units, and got the big items out of the shed with a pallet jack. Peter Rothenberg preferred the hand truck.  Amy Bucciferro assisted in moving things on the pier and on deck.

Matt Perricone's Saturday job was cutting the segment out of the deck (which will be converted into a hatch) so that we could load into one of the cargo tanks, which kept him busy a good part of the day.  All tanks were vented and inspected before the job! 

We threw a diverse set of tools at the job: chain falls, the ship boom, dollies, a hand truck, a pallet jack, an engine hoist, muscle and ingenuity and quite a few jokes.

By end of day, we had the overwhelming majority of things on deck, including the big items, the replacement heads and pistons for the engine in the MARY A. WHALEN. 

Work done on Sunday 11/9/14

Sunday, we had another extraordinary crew with Nobby Peers, Dan Goncharoff, David Sharps putting in a second day, Frank Hanavan, Jenny Kane who called her rigger friend Pete Betulia who joined us in the afternoon, Peter Rothenberg, and me, Carolina Salguero. Walter Dufresne and Mike Weiss were willing but the flu felled Walter and an truck break down kept Mike away.

Dan Goncharoff and Peter Rothenberg started out in the shed, trying to get the ends of the con rods and the bearings unbolted from the crankshaft in the lower engine block that was bought as a way to get another crank shaft (which sadly turned out to be damaged too).  The nuts were seized, so Peter and Dan joined the work crew outside.

Frank Hanavan, David Sharps and Jenny Kane, and later joined by Peter Rothenberg, took on the task of laying down a plank floor inside the cargo tank.  They developed their own intense cargo tank work crew. David and Peter where in the tank for a long while, and then David and Jenny became the chop saw team, with Frank the rigger running block and tackle and lowering things down most of the time.

The cargo tanks are really impressive spaces.

Nobby worked mostly alone for hours, with an occasional hand by me, until Jenny's friend Pete arrived. Nobby's mission was to get the heads and pistons into the engine room. He drilled a few holes in overhead flat bar beams in the entry companionway and in the fidley to hang two chainfalls and a come-along, and then hopscotched the heads in and down onto the engine one by one.  The heads (from a 1951 engine) are  slightly different from the original ones that would have been on the MARY, a 1938 engine.

Once Nobby was joined by Pete Betulia, the pace on the cylinder moving picked up; and sometime after dark, they started moving pistons in.  Three of those made it to the engine room where Peter Rothenberg strapped them down on top of chocks he had cut at our on-deck chopsaw station.  The last workers left around 10pm.

And then, just as I prayed would happen a few days ago, a tugboat friend arrived and tied up alongside, and I was able to get a hot shower. The plumbing on the MARY A. WHALEN is not yet restored.


PortSide Veteran's Day update on forgotten merchant mariners of WWII

Don Horton's mother on a barge during WWII

Don Horton's mother on a barge during WWII

Last Veteran's Day, we covered the subject of a class of largely-forgotten maritime veterans, the women, children, elderly and disabled mariners who served during WWII.

Below, we provide an update on the cause to finally get recognition for all of them, thanks to info provided by Don Horton who first brought this story, and cause, to our attention. Don Horton was one of those child mariners, serving on a barge with his mother, father and siblings.

Our post from Veteran's Day 2013

Our 9/15/14 interview with Don Horton during his visit to Red Hook, Brooklyn where we took him to various sites that were strongly stamped in his memory.

What you can do for this cause

You can write /call your respective US Senator and ask that they co-sponsor Senate Amendment Sa-3548.  This is the amendment that can provide the avenue to allow for alternative methods of recognition for WW II coastwise mariners.  It is a copy of S-1361, WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act.  Background and Alternative Methods of Recognition, July 2014

The following info is from Don Horton

The bills before Congress

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate offered bills in in support of these veterans, HR 1288 and S-1361, WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act.  HR 1288 was amended in to HR 4435, 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and this bill cleared the House with the amendment intact and is awaiting Senate action for comparison with the Senate  NDAA S 2410.

S -1361 was introduced by Senator Chris Murphy, D-CT back in March, 2014.

In May of 2014, Chairman Senator Levin and Ranking Member Senator Inhofe of the the Senate Committee on Armed Forces selected a large block of amendments for possible inclusion in what is commonly referred to as a Manager’s package.  This package includes certain Bills and amendments that are generally favored by specific groups or members of the Senate. S 1361 was not included within that group. 

Shortly afterward in July, Senator Murphy introduced Senate Amendment Sa-3548. but after the offering of the ”Managers Package”. 

We are awaiting the Senatorial debate on the floor to see if they will consider any more amendments or not.  With this late bit of information, we immediately set about to reach out to all cosponsors of S 1361 (5) and request they come aboard Sa-3548 as cosponsors.  Next we asked each member of the Senate Committee of Armed Forces to become Cosponsors and finally we are asking the remainder of the Senate to become cosponsors to Senator Murphy’s Amendment.

It is our hope to obtain sufficient co-sponsors to bring attention to the exhaustive efforts to have these mariners be given their promised recognition, by court order and many congressional speeches, proclaiming full and unequivocal support for our veterans.

I received an email from the Fleet Reserves that states the Senate version S 2410 of the NDAA may be brought to the floor and may allow debate and issuance of additional amendments.  This is a departure from past Senate actions and good news for us.  Congress is scheduled for convening on 12 November. I attempted to have this confirmed by Senate contacts but was unable.  They neither confirmed nor denied.  

How many mariners are we talking about?

Don Horton at work on a barge during WWII.

Don Horton at work on a barge during WWII.

No one knows either how many served or how many were lost.  GAO asked the Coast Guard to identify how many served during WW II and they could only tell them how many credentials were issued during 1939 to 1946, about 840,000, but stated they had no idea how many served in enemy contested waters.  Historians settled on about 250,000 serving who may be entitled to veteran recognition.  To date about 91,000 have been recognized as veterans.  
 
No one can state how many were lost and presumed dead.  Numbers range from around 5200 to about 9500.  We have documentation that demonstrates that New York lost about 1300 of the numbers of 5200.  That is an eye opening figure for anyone to digest.  I have provided names of those from New York who were lost and the very few who have been recognized as veterans.

Volunteers Needed! Want to use your rigging skills or learn some? Care to help move vintage maritime stuff?

Volunteers wanted!

In preparation to leave the containerport and to make way for a tenant in the shed, PortSide NewYork is clearing everything out of the Pier 9B shed. Everything must be out by 11/17!

Care to spend a nice fall day moving interesting antique marine hardware and vintage engine parts? Want to learn some rigging? Or practice the rigging you already know?  Know how to drive a forklift? We could use you this weekend!

Saturday 11/8/14 9am-5pm
Sunday 11/9/14
9am-5pm
Pier 9B, Red Hook Container Terminal, Brooklyn, 11231

Free pizza in return!

Pizza is on us afterwards.  We can eat in the galley all cozy by the vintage stove or head to a local pizzeria; the work crew will vote to decide.

Location, RSVP info

Enter port gate at Hamilton Avenue, Summit and Van Brunt Streets
Photo needed to enter. TWIC card holders especially appreciated!
RSVP by emailing portsidenewyork@gmail.com or calling 917-414-0565.

If your tug is standing by and you're bored, you are welcome to tie up alongside and pitch in!

Work plan

Saturday work will be led by Captain Matt Perricone who owns the historic tug CORNELL and other vessels and is a principal at Diamond Marine Services. He is also a licensed  marine engineer. 

Sunday work will be led by Nobby Peers, principal of Whitworth Marine Services, a world sailor and engineer who specializes in repairing and restoring vintage engines afloat and ashore.

Most stuff will come aboard the tanker MARY A. WHALEN.  Things to move include replacement parts for the engine on the tanker MARY A. WHALEN, vintage maritime hardware and artifacts for exhibits we will save, and hardware and artifacts we will sell. There is one trip to the scrapyard to finally get rid of  stuff hurricane Sandy flooded, so a volunteer with a pickup would be really appreciated!

We will use the boom from the MARY A. WHALEN to lift things onto the deck, at that point some of it heads to the engine room and most of it goes into a cargo tank. 

Saturday: Matt Perricone will cut a hole in the deck plate so we can lower in full pallet loads of stuff.  On a subsequent trip, he will make that plate a lift-able cover so that we can get in there again easily.  On Saturday, we will focus on getting things into that newly opened cargo tank.

Sunday: Nobby Peers and crew will focus on getting things into the engine room.  The engine heads will be installed on top of the cylinders in the engine room. The pistons have not yet had restoration work to revert the Sandy-damage done to them, so they will not go in the cylinders on the ship. They will be greased, wrapped and stored. 

Davits will stay on the pier. Spare cylinders, lower engine block and fuel pump are headed to another shed.

Slide show of what we are moving

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!

Mayor de Blasio announces new park equity plan & funding

Photo and caption from article today in New York Times:  Saratoga Ballfields, Brownsville, Brooklyn. Photo by    Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Photo and caption from article today in New York Times:  Saratoga Ballfields, Brownsville, Brooklyn. Photo by Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

News & Background

Park Equity News from Gotham Gazette

Park Equity News from New York Times

Valentino Park Comfort Station proposed Parks Department plan. This became so large, in part, due to FEMA requirements that a new building in coastal flood zone be elevated.

Message to Red Hook

Dear Red Hook:

Thinking of the Valentino Park and Coffey Park discussions, above is info about citywide discussions about ‪#‎parkequity‬ to get funding to underserved neighborhoods. Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce a new plan today with $130MM in funding to go to 35 parks.

This is encouraging news in and of itself (we support more going to communities that have less) and seems like a good time to bring to citywide level one of the issues that our Valentino Comfort station has brought up, eg, how to keep costs down.

$130MM will not go far if 4 toilet stalls cost $2.4MM.

Let's find ways to engage constructively in a citywide discussion about how to improve parks for all. Better, cheaper, smaller potties for us could be the start of something bigger for all. All word play intended.

It would be good for Red Hook to bear in mind, that though many feel this community was slighted for years, by now Red Hook has revitalized so much we are NOT as underserved as places like Brownsville are.

Thanks to NYS Senator Daniel Squadron for his work on #parkequity and to Councilman Carlos Menchaca for bringing the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to the community table for meetings about waterfront parks in Red Hook and Sunset Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Future plans for last of her kind, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN

We have news.

The MARY A. WHALEN is now the last of her kind in the USA. That’s because the tanker JOHN B. CADDELL, Staten Island’s symbol of Sandy’s wrath, has been scrapped. (See slide show right.)

Hurricane Sandy put the JOHN B. CADDELL on EDC property and cost the City a lot of money in fuel spill abatement, ship removal, ship storage and legal fees before the Sherriff’s auction.

At PortSide, we are very proud that we saved our MARY A. WHALEN from Sandy damage AND from damaging the property of others by breaking loose or riding up on to the pier.

Thanks to that, the MARY A. WHALEN is now a symbol of resilience, as is PortSide NewYork! Only the tough survive eight years of operating as a pop-up while looking for a home as we have.

Future-oriented mission for our historic ship

We love our historic ship and want to make clear that we use her for a forward-looking purpose.

PortSide was founded to bring change to NYC’s waterfront and waterways, by advocacy and by the example of business and programs at a place called PortSide NewYork that we will create.  The MARY A. WHALEN is our ambassador on that mission and will come and go from that place spreading the message, and our programs.

We recently retooled our official language to make the relationship of tanker and PortSide, our present and our future clearer.  Here it is. Let us know what you think. We welcome your feedback!

PortSide is a living lab creating a vision for 21st century urban waterfronts – and waterways.  Our focus is the water part, the BLUEspace, the Sixth Borough of NYC.

Our goal is to create a place that shows how to combine the working waterfront, public access and community development.

Our education, culture, workforce development and neighborhood promotion programs - all on a water theme –bring the community afloat and the community ashore together – for the benefit of all.

Building on our Sandy recovery work - which won us an award from the White House and honors from the NYS Senate - PortSide is developing flood preparedness and resiliency programs and will curate and house a resiliency center.

We export our programs via our ambassador, the historic ship, the MARY A. WHALEN, the only oil tanker in the world delivering public programs.

Help us continue this work and grow our programs

Support our fundraiser on Tuesday 10/28/14Resiliency is our HOOK.” Buy a ticket. Become a sponsor. Join the Host Committee and help sell tickets before the event. It will be a fun event with the rollicking Dixieland jazz of the Red Hook Ramblers and the great food and casual ambiance of Hometown Bar-B-Que restaurant.  We greatly appreciate your support!   As do the people and businesses who benefit from our resiliency work!



Upcoming Meeting #3 Valentino Park Comfort Station Issue 10/9/14 7pm PS15

see January 2018 update at bottom

THURSDAY 10/9, 7:00pm at PS 15

Next Red Hook meeting about Valentino Park Comfort Station:  Note, this is a change from the originally announced date of 10/8!

People for Red Hook Public Parks (PRHPP) set up this meeting. Here is their REVISED announcement PDF

Here is Parks Department proposed comfort station

For background, see our prior blogposts:

Report on Meeting #1:  9/4/14 Meeting with Carlos Menchaca & Parks at Red Hook library

Background info: Parks Dept. proposed comfort station & the process

Report on Meeting #2:  9/24/14 PRHPP meeting at 351 Van Brunt for community members only.

Info on upcoming meeting for Thurs 10/9 from PRHPP

People for Red Hook Public Parks and City Councilman Carlos Menchaca will be holding a community meeting on Wed. October 8th at 7pm at P.S. 15, The Daly School on Sullivan Street, between Van Brunt and Richards St. in Red Hook. The meeting is the latest in a series of meetings regarding the proposed NYC New York City Department of Parks & Recreation comfort station for Valentino Park.

The Red Hook community has expressed serious concerns about this project: cost, its size location and necessity.

At a cost of $2.5 million dollars, the cost to taxpayers for this project will be over $4000 per square foot. Construction costs for a luxury condominium in Manhattan are $500 per square foot.

The proposed location, Valentino Pier Park, is a quiet community gem, treasured by the neighborhood. The proposed building will cut the park in half and occupy a large portion of open green space.

With a change in city administration, the Red Hook community is counting on a reversal of the top--‐down management style of previous administrations. In order to protect our parks and our neighborhood, we need to bring the people who make decisions together with the people those decisions impact.

So please come to the meeting and bring a friend. We wish to avoid acrimony and work towards a positive relationship between community and administration, so bring your ideas and yourself!

January 2018 update

DOT has approved a sidewalk toilet.   Red Hook, we have been heard! Remember all those meetings about a big, expensive "comfort station" proposed for our charming waterfront park Valentino Park? That concept was defeated, and a small, sidewalk toilet is coming via the DOT. Thanks to everyone for participating in public meetings, on-line discussions with us, and other modes. Community action worked! A special shout out to Anne Griepenburgwho researched the Portland Loo which presented an alternative that appealed to many and may have swung government decision around to that kind of solution.

Toilet Party any one? It has the great acronym of TP.

We hear that there is a spring installation expected, but we are still waiting on confirmation.

Help PortSide continue this kind of community reporting and grow our programs

Support our fundraiser on Tuesday 10/28/14Resiliency is our HOOK.” Buy a ticket. Become a sponsor. Join the Host Committee and help sell tickets before the event. It will be a fun event with the rollicking Dixieland jazz of the Red Hook Ramblers and the great food and casual ambiance of Hometown Bar-B-Que restaurant.  We greatly appreciate your support!   As do the people and businesses who benefit from our resiliency work!

Introduction to New York City Council and the waterfront

4/25/12 Waterfronts Committee Meeting. Photo courtesy of www.JimmyVanBramer.com

4/25/12 Waterfronts Committee Meeting. Photo courtesy of www.JimmyVanBramer.com

On January 22, 2014, the City Council announced its committee and committee members.  This is PortSide NewYork’s guide to the City Council and the waterfront.

The Council has a committee dedicated to the waterfront; and, at times, waterfront matters may be taken up in hearings jointly run by committees such as Land Use,  Transportation or Sanitation and Solid Waste.  There is a new committee Recovery & Resiliency which will surely deal with waterfront matters.

The size of the committees says something about NYC priorities.  Waterfronts has only five members; Land Use has twenty-one members and three subcommittees. 

The Committee on Waterfronts consists of five members, headed by Deborah Rose. Her district includes this port’s vital stretch of working waterfront along Staten Island’s Richmond Terrace, including Mariners Harbor and the Howland Hook Marine Terminal.

The four other committee members are Chaim M. Deutsch representing the waterfront of Sheepshead Bay/Manhattan Beach/Brighton Beach, Daniel R. Garodnick representing the waterfront of Manhattan’s East Side, Corey Johnson representing the waterfront of Canal Street to West 59th Street Manhattan, and Paul Vallone representing the waterfront of North East Queens.  

According to their official Council biographies, Chaim Deutsch is the only one listing some waterfront experience which was hurricane Sandy.  He mobilized community-based volunteers and coordinated with the Flatbush Shomrim to help evacuate residents, he helped in actual evacuations; coordinating with government and aid organizations, and helped distribute aid.

The City Council has a Progressive Caucus of which the Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is a member.  The Progressive Caucus released a 13 point plan for change. We were pleased to see “Waterfront” listed in point # 3 "Smart Economic Development- Reduce inequality through smart and accountable economic development."  Click on that to find:

“Strengthen the city’s core blue-collar and middle-income sectors by focusing subsidies in diversified economic clusters. Invest in more balanced, innovative, mixed-use development to meet a broader range of goals developed with community stakeholders, such as preserving and strengthening manufacturing and small businesses, creative use of waterfronts, and the community infrastructure needed to sustain growth and share its benefits (e.g. schools, child care, open space, etc.)”

Their "creative use of waterfronts"  certainly describes PortSide NewYork!  We hope this means that the Progressive Caucus will embrace the PortSide cause and help us speedily find a home, and we hope that we can work with the Progressive Caucus and the Waterfronts committee and share our waterfront expertise and further our goal of bringing NYC's Sixth Borough BlueSpace to life!

Gotham Gazette's article on City Council committee appointments includes links at the bottom with summaries of the major activities of each committee last session, predictions about its upcoming role, and stipends paid to the councilmembers.

The first "hearing" of the Waterfronts committee is a tour of Brooklyn Bridge Park Friday, 2/28/14 at 10am.  These meetings are open to the public.

Feb 2-8 2014 Red Hook resliency events including free architect advice for building owners

Red Hook "Sandy Helpdesk"  Feb 8-10, 2014 - pick a time slot on one of the three days and free resiliency, rebuilding advice from architects and building trades professionals. See page 2 of flyer

Feb 8-10, 2014 Asesora acerca de códigos de construcción zonificación y diseño en vecindarios afectados por Sandy para propietarios de edificios  mas Informacion 

Red Hook resiliency workshop Thurs 2/6/14 7pm at Hometown BBQ "to talk more generally about building innovative resiliency approaches people are developing in Red Hook."

Volunteer building trades professionals wanted in general (not just for Sandy Helpdesk). Please get involved! 

This information comes from an email from Pratt which we copy below.

Background info

Pratt Center is working with Architecture for Humanity, Enterprise, the NY chapter of the AIA, and also with City agencies and with local partners (Margert Community Development Corp. in Rockaway; Fifth Avenue Committee and Red Hook Volunteers in Red Hook) to pilot the Sandy Design Helpdesk. The Helpdesk offers free consultations with architects and other professionals to residents, business owners, and building owners on Sandy-related design, code, and zoning issues – we’re also adding other experts based on what we hear from local partners, so in Red Hook there will also be insurance and mortgage advisors available.

Obviously with a one-time consult, the volunteer architects can’t provide much more than suggested design solutions to code/zoning/insurance problems, and maybe a freehand sketch – but we’re finding that this can be pretty helpful, especially for people who aren’t eligible for major assistance like Build it Back, or who are trying to figure out their options while they wait to find out where they stand.

So the Red Hook Help Desk will be February 8-10 (a flyer is attached)– but in Red Hook, there’s been so much thinking done (about the many local and challenging problems) that we are adding a workshop that will take place before the Help Desk, to talk more generally about building innovative resiliency approaches people are developing in Red Hook. The workshop event will take place on Thursday Feb 6th, at 7pm at HomeTown

We’re also interested in adding to our volunteer pool. Volunteers get free training from NYC Department of Buildings and Department of City Planning staff on post-Sandy zoning and building code changes (and probably continuing education credits via the AIA); they are also covered by Architecture for Humanity’s liability insurance and it’s pretty-well-tested waiver. People who volunteered in Rockaway last October found it to be informative and rewarding, so if you’re willing to forward the Volunteer poster along to anyone in your professional networks, we’d much appreciate that too.

Joan Byron
Director of Policy
Pratt Center for Community Development
718-636-3468 (office)
www.prattcenter.net

World-war-II-merchant-mariners-still-seek-recognition

Request to Veterans affairs Committees of Senate and House regarding bills HR 2189 & S 1361

Women, children and disabled WWII merchant mariners

Friday, 10/18/13, out of the blue, PortSide received an email from Don Horton looking for help acknowledging the work of women, children, and elderly handicapped seamen who he says served on tugs and barges along the coast under threat of attacks by German U-boats. Don Horton, a retired Director of Occupational Safety & Health for the Department of Defense, is seeking urgent support for two bills before the US Congress which would recognize the service of these mariners. Recognition honors recipients and gives them the status of US veteran with benefits limited to medals and burial benefits.

The Senate is likely to vote on October 30th, and the House could vote at any time.

[see 10/29 and 10/30 updates about Congressional votes and 11/2/13 MoveOn.org petition at bottom]

He seeks letters of support to the congressmen on the Veterans Affairs Committees. Horton says the seamen, whose records were destroyed by government order, are another category seeking recognition. Able-bodied, adult, male seamen were recognized in 1988. The Senate is likely to vote on October 30th, and the House could vote at any time. The extraordinary story of these mariners also shines a light on the waterfront history of Red Hook, of Brooklyn and of the port of New York as a whole.

Horton was one of those children who served on tugs and barges along the coast under threat of attacks by German U-boats. Don Horton is originally from Pennsylvania and now lives in North Carolina.  He began working on a coastwise barge as a ten-year-old alongside his family in 1942; and his mother was one of those women.

Read Don Horton's vivid WWII memories of anchoring off Red Hook, Brooklyn and rowing into Erie Basin to shop on Van Brunt Street.

 Dear Fellow Mariners,

Once again I am reaching out to my fellow seafarers in hopes of finding some who may be interested in helping us find those few remaining mariners from WW II. Many of those mariners were women, some were schoolchildren that stood up for this country and also helped to lay the foundation for women seafarers around the world.
We now have a bill in both sides of congress.  It has taken over 5 years and three sessions of congress and this may be our last chance to bring recognition to these few remaining mariners.  The setup is rather complicated and far from me to truly understand.
 
If you recall we started out with a stand alone bill HR 1288 but during the process it was incorporated into another one 2086 headed up by Tina Titus of NV.  Within a week it was incorporated into still another HR 2189 that deals with problems within the VA.  This bill is headed up by Jeff Miller of FL who also is the Chair of the House Vets Committee and has cleared the subcommittee and is at the floor level waiting hearings. S-1361 is heading for hearing in the Committee late this month.  Both bills have few cosponsors and I have no idea if that is good or not.  I had 94 cosponsors on HR 1288 and was incorporated into 2086 that had only 12 and then into 2189 with only 4. I have added 4 more to 2189 but have hit a snag.  Seems that most of our leaders in congress may say they reach out across party lines but when it get down to doing it the lines grow silent.
 
In any case we are farther along than ever before but need some help.  As I recall in my email of last year I indicated we needed letters sent out to the various members of congress asking for their support either by cosponsoring these two bills or having the VSO write letters of support to the two committees saying the same.  We need similar help and I am again reaching out to you for help in helping those that came before you.  Will you help me? I have submitted some testimony to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs that provides some light on how I see picture and asked it be submitted for the record.  They have acknowledged receipt and mention they will review.  I have attached it to share with you in hopes you can find enough info to assist in sending some good ole letters or make some calls.
 
Will you help us?  The time is very short as the Senate meeting is scheduled for the last of this month.  The House vote can be at any time.  Please let me know if you can help.  Thanking you in Advance.
 
Good luck at your meeting also at the end of the Month.
 
My very Best Regards,
 
Don...

 
J. Don Horton,
President WWII Coastwise Merchant Mariners
104 Riverview Ave, Camden, NC 27921
252 336 5553

Peterson. BELOW: The tug “Margaret Sheridan”, of the D.T Sheridan Co., hauls a company tow eastward through Cap Cod Canal in the late 1940’s. The barges are empty with tow lines shortened up for the tow through the canal. The lead barge was undoubtedly at onetime a schooner barge and probably had three masts.
Photo courtesy of Roy Eliassen

Horton's older brother Billy was working on the tugboat Menominee when it was shelled and sunk nine miles off the coast of Virginia on 31 March, 1942 by German U-boat 754. 

Letters of support: 

Association of the United States Navy 

Disabled American Veterans Department of North Carolina 

Italian American War Veterans of the U.S 

Military Officers Association of America 

U.S.N Armed Guard WWII Veterans Association 

U.S Department of Veterans Affairs 

11/2/13 MoveOn.org petition


0/30 update from Don Horton

RESULTS FROM US SENATE VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HEARING ON 30 OCT. 2013 for S-1361 "WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act"

Military Officers of America Association: Supports S 1361

Disabled American Veterans: DAV does not have a resolution on this issue and takes no position on 1361. Note NC DAV approved a state resolution but National turned it down, essentially turning its back on WW I merchant mariners.

Department of Veterans Affairs: VA defers to the Views of the DHS regarding Section 3 of this bill.

Vietnam Veterans of America: VVA has favored such legislation conferring full veteran status on these individuals for almost thirty years, and now urges swift passage of this measure before all of them of dead and gone.

Veteran of Foreign Wars: Did not make a statement on S-1361.

NEXT STEP IS UNKNOWN. WILL ADVISE ALL WHEN APPRISED.

 

October 29 update from Don Horton

Dear F/B fans. Yesterday we were successful in having the US House vote and pass HR 2189. This bill had an amendment within, HR 1288 “WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act. It received an overwhelming majority vote of 404 to 1 in favor and the bill is now on its way to the Senate.

The next step is: tomorrow the US Senate will conduct Hearings on S 1361 “WW II Merchant Mariners Service Act”, an identical bill to HR 1288 that was amended into HR 2189. It is scheduled for 2 PM and can be viewed on C-span if anyone desires to watch. We have come a long way to correct a travesty ongoing for over 70 years.

Many thanks to all the cosponsors of HR 1288 for staying the course and seeing this bill through the House and on to the Senate. I owe you a debt of gratitude.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed to see this one also hit out of the park. Thanks for all your help.

 

Vote-for-tug-Pegasus-&-Museum-Barge-to-win-big!



Vote to fund the only boats in the $3MM grant competition from American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation that will fund sites in NYC!  
 
Vote for PortSide's friends and partners,the Tug Pegasus & Waterfront Museum Barge! 

Vote early and often!  Seriously! 

Vote every day from April 26 through May 21 at www.partnersinpreservation.com so that these two great historic ships can win a share of the grant money.

To make it easier to remember to vote AND to be eligible to win a July 4th fireworks cruise for two on the tug Tugboat Pegasus, visit the website of either the Tug Pegasus Preservation Project or the Waterfront Museum barge and sign-up to receive a daily reminder to vote and you will automatically be entered into the raffle. 

David Sharps (L) of Museum Barge,
Pam Hepburn (R) of Tug Pegasus
Support NYC’s floating cultural heritage. Vote for historic ships!  Let American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation know that boats count!  

The fine print:
  • American Express, partnering with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is committing $3 million in preservation grants to historic places in New York City through its community-based program, Partners in Preservation. 
  • From April 26 May 21, 2012, the public is invited to vote for its favorite historic places from a diverse slate of 40 sites in the New York City area. Everyone is invited to vote (one vote per person per day)
  • Guaranteed funding of $250,000 goes to the top three places, so get voting!  The tug and barge have been selected for this competition after a LONG process, so let's make it pay off!
  • Additional grants will be awarded to a number of the other sites after review by American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and an advisory committee composed of New York civic and preservation leaders. 
School group visiting the Museum Barge


 
Teens from Chinese American Planning Council during
Maritime Adventure Program on the tug Pegasus
 
 




Historic-ships-letter-to-NYC-Council-Committee-on-Waterfronts

PortSide has a crisis: we have looked for a home for 6+ years and had a real estate agreement fall through after 3+ years of work.   

We need a home confirmed by April 30th or we close and our historic ship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN would likely be scrapped as there are few commercial uses for her.

Please help us by writing City Council members who are reviewing a city initiative that is supposed to make docking easier for historic ships.

The Mayor's office has declared a 2012 goal to created a uniform docking protocol for historic ships. This goal is embeded in the Economic Development Corporation’s Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES).

Friday, 3/16/12, the City Council Committee on Waterfronts will be holding a hearing on at 1:00 pm, 14th Floor Committee Room, 250 Broadway, Manhattan.  Please attend and testify if you can; but PLEASE write the committee at the following email addresses:

Chair, CM Michael C. Nelson (mnelson1@council.nyc.gov)
CM Gale A. Brewer (gbrewer@council.nyc.gov)
CM Brad S. Lander (lander@council.nyc.gov)
CM Eric A. Ulrich (eulrich@council.nyc.gov)
CM Peter F. Vallone (pvallonejr@council.nyc.gov



For inspiration, here is a sample letter 

< < < Date

re:  March 16, 2012 Council Committee on Waterfronts hearing

The plight of the non-profit PortSide NewYork and their home, the historic tanker MARY A. WHALEN is of particular concern to me.  I want to see the PortSide’s innovative waterfront-themed programs survive and grow and ensure that the MARY A. WHALEN is saved from being scrapped. PortSide NewYork needs to get a homeport secured immediately for these to happen.

I strongly urge you to help improve docking options for historic ships in NYC by creating a uniform landing protocol -- this will help PortSide and the MARY A. WHALEN.    

Without a clear set of rules and procedures that reflect the needs and operations of vessels, historic ships will continue to have difficulty finding usable berths and will be forced out of our waterfront.

I am writing now because there is a City Council Committee on Waterfronts hearing on March 16 to follow-up on the Waterfront Action Agenda (WAVES) of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).  One goal of WAVES is: “Create uniform landing protocol and application for City-owned properties to facilitate docking of historic vessels (Mayor’s Office, 2012).”  

NYC’s historic ships offer a diverse range of experiences I value:  they teach about the past of this port and waterfront city, they offer great recreational, educational and workforce training opportunities for youth, they run wonderful cultural programs for people of all ages. Ships offer the most exciting and easy staycation options in New York City; being afloat is like nothing else!  Historic ships move around, linking and servicing service communities and boroughs in ways that land-based museums cannot.  

Please make piers easier for historic ships to use in NYC and historic ships to bring NYC’s revitalizing waterfront to life!  They are THE embodiment of “Vision 2020,” the city’s new waterfront plan.

< < < Add Any Additional Comments Here

Sincerely,

NAME
        < < < Be sure to include this information
ADDRESS