PortSide NewYork 2014 year-in-review

We have been so busy that our communications have not kept up with all we did in 2014!  Here is a recap of the year to bring you all up to date and bring it all into focus.

 

Helping communities plan for the future

Our most sustained endeavor in this department was our eight months of work (begun in 2013) for New York State’s NY Rising resiliency planning process.  Our Director Carolina Salguero was on the Red Hook NY Rising committee, and PortSide staff and interns supported her work by creating a 17-page document of policy recommendations, and multiple blogposts and webpages with info to help the layman resident or business person make sense of the slew of resiliency plans.  Some exammples at these links:

Our Director Carolina Salguero had a strong impact on Red Hook's final NY Rising plan It was her idea to fund solar-powered emergency lights in Red Hook’s NYCHA housing, an idea that looks as if it could be adopted citywide, and much of her writing and photography is in the plan.

PortSide’s fall fundraiser was also used to help educate communities, planners, policy makers and the media by having Mary Rowe of Municipal Art Society speak (pithily) about resiliency and by highlighting the Red Hook Sandy Recovery work of three individuals and IKEA.

Photo by Dan Wiley

Photo by Dan Wiley

On BLUEspace issues harborwide, PortSide is increasingly called for advice or to speak to communities about the waterfront (video by Dan Wiley).  Our Director Carolina Salguero was asked to represent NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery at a roundtable about challenges faced by small businesses getting Sandy recovery aid. PortSide provides information about waterfront operations as well as civic and political process.  Here are some of the 2014 blogposts that capture that work:

Digital Education

During 2014, PortSide diversified and deepened our rich digital output with content to help people better understand the BLUEspace (the waterfront and waterways).

Our website delivers info about NYC's waterfront, and has extensive content about Sandy recovery and resiliency plans on several pages. 

Our blog has waterfront policy, oral history, reports on community waterfront planning meetings and in-depth descriptions of our ship restoration work.

The Facebook page for MARY A. WHALEN is set up as a person to maximize personal interaction with you! You can really feel the waterfront with multiple posts a day of images/updates about work/daily life on and around the MARY and our shipcat Chiclet.  We also share content from many friends who are mariners on workboats and historic ships and offer an insider's perspective. The Facebook page for PortSide is an organization page, so it cannot share content from the accounts of individuals and has a more formal, institutional voice. 

Our Twitter account shares some of the above and has extensive re-tweeting of content including the following hashtagged themes: #maritime, #ship, #marinelife, #oceans, #waterfront, #urbanplanning, #Sandy, #recovery, #resiliency, #RedHook.

We launched BLUEspace News in 2014, an electronic newsletter to get “news you can use” to the waterfront community (as opposed to our regular newsletters that focus more on our own activities.)  Issue one of BLUEspace News led to several offers of support and many emails and calls of appreciation. We plan to grow BLUEspace News in 2015.

Bringing culture to diverse venues & audiences

PortSide is providing editing advice, promotional support and community outreach to Jonathan Atkin’s “Hero Project,” an exquisite body of work where Jonathan photographs dancers on historic ships as a way to raise awareness of America’s maritime heritage.  We are designing events to bring youth dance programs in contact with this extraordinary body of work that says as much about dance as it does about ships.

We are furthering plans for a major 2016 performing arts event to exceed the standards, success and buzz of our 2007 endeavor.  Can’t say more yet!

Saving history

The historic ship that is our ambassador to the BLUEspace and signature asset, the MARY A. WHALEN, became the last of her kind with the scrapping of another coastal oil tanker, the JOHN B. CADDELL.  The damage done to the JOHN B. by hurricane Sandy underlined the strength of PortSide’s stewardship and good maritime skills; we kept our ship from harm in the storm. Our MARY is the only oil tanker in the world re-purposed for public programs. We thank DonJon Recycling, a business operating on Staten Island for over 50 years, for donating parts of the JOHN B CADDELL to us.

We grew our collection of NYC maritime historic artifacts in other ways.  We received donations from Gary Baum, and we curated and culled from the Cowhey collection – building on our getting their 1941 Hyster crane, which we now have, deemed eligible for National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

We renovated the galley of the MARY A. WHALEN, and we inaugurated the re-purposing of the cargo tanks of the ship, by converting tank P2 into a storage space for our collection of artifacts. The eight cargo tanks represent 2,800sq ft of space we plan to adapt for various purposes.

Moving that collection aboard brought volunteers from many other historic ship projects, a tremendous show of support since ship groups are always stretched thin.  Thanks to the following for sending personnel and telling their volunteers to help our project: the Waterfront Museum Barge, the South Street Seaport, the LILAC, the SS UNITED STATES.

We grew our WaterStories oral history collection with a day of video interviews with the compelling Don Horton, who was a young merchant mariner during WWII.  His visit to Red Hook from North Carolina included an interview with Sunny Balzano, of the famous waterfront bar “Sunny’s.”   On another day, we video interviewed Joe Cowhey, whose firm donated their final inventory to us in 2005 after some 140 years of operating in Red Hook as a firm with a harborwide reputation.

We located more “Mary Whalen alumni,” people with historic connections to the ship as crew, people who repaired her or who worked at Ira S. Bushey and Ekloff, two firms which ran the tanker and have since closed.

Educating & training both youth & adults

We became a training site for a union program. They have been working on the MARY A. WHALEN, and their labor will revolutionize this ship in 2015! We can’t say more at this point!

We completed the first year as a job site for the  CUNY Service Corps, a program where interns are paid to work a full academic year with selected sites.  We are pleased that “our CUNY’s” stay in touch, as do many of our prior interns.  We are proud to be making a difference in the lives of young people.  

We gave Air Force vet Erika Renee Stetson a crash course in steel workboat maintenance during the galley renovation, and she said that experience gave her an edge up when she started at SUNY Maritime in January

Middle School 477, the Math & Science Exploratory School, asked us to speak to several classes studying whether Brooklyn was having a renaissance. We created a place-based discussion on the Red hook waterfront.

Growing ourselves

This represents a lot of work that is hard to see but that will have such a big impact on our 2015.

Real estate negotiations – we expect to soon confirm word of a 3-year berth for the MARY A. WHALEN in Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Profuse thanks to Councilman Carlos Menchaca for getting involved and speeding the negotiations along.  A three-year berth will PortSide, for the first time, stability and the ability to make longer term plans.

During 2014, we spent considerable time reviewing internal policies preparatory to growing the board and other major changes. We talked to consultants, other non-profits, and lawyers, and overhauled our by-laws, instituted new board policies and reworked our brand language to clear up, we hope, the confusion about PortSide’s relationship to the historic ship MARY A. WHALEN. No, we are not a preservation or ship project, we are (and what do you think of this new language?) “A living lab for better urban waterways.  PortSide will create a viable model that combines the working waterfront, public access, community development and economic opportunities.”

We continued plugging away on hurricane Sandy aid paperwork, with great support from a consultant from NYS OEM, and are applying for our approved FEMA Project Worksheet funds to be used for an “Alternate Project” available to non-profits to make them more resilient (as opposed to replacing like with like). We will use the funds to adapt the MARY A. WHALEN to make her more resilient and able to dock at more communities. We recommend that all Sandy-damaged non-profits look into FEMA Alternate Projects.

We ran two successful and distinctive fundraisers, the July "Heavy Metal Sale" during which we culled the choice items from our collection of Cowhey maritime hardware, and the October event "Resiliency is our Hook" at Hometown.

At at Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce non-profit event, we proposed that a Match.com type of service to match Brooklyn non-profit organizations with new board members. This proposal was greeted enthusiastically and Rick Russo of the Chamber said that this is a project the Chamber will commence in 2015! 

And to top it all off, we had fun!













NYC EDC RFP for Red Hook Integrated Flood Protection System Feasibility Study

SIRR_BklynRdHkFldBarrier.jpg

This morning, the NYC EDC (Economic Development Corporation) released an RFP for Red Hook Integrated Flood Protection System Feasibility Study.

Here is info from their RFP announcement email:

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), on behalf of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency (ORR) and the City of New York, is seeking a consultant or consultant team to conduct a feasibility study for an integrated flood protection system for the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook

To download a copy of the solicitation documents, please visit www.nycedc.com/RFP.

The RFP is also available for in-person pick-up between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, at NYCEDC, 110 William Street, 6th floor, New York, NY (between Fulton and John Streets).

Please be aware that all potential updates and notifications will be sent via email to respondents who have accurately and completely filled out the download form or have picked up the relevant documentation.

In addition to downloading the RFP, you may also be interested in signing up to be listed as a potential subcontractor or supplier for companies responding to our development and procurement opportunities.

Additional Info provided by PortSide NewYork

PortSide webpage summarizing various City, State, Federal post-Sandy resiliency plans here

Analysis of the SIRR report proposals for Red Hook coastal protection by City Atlas

NYC's full SIRR report here

Donate to support PortSide NewYork reporting like this

Please consider making a year-end donation to support PortSide NewYork. Click the donate button to send a contribution via PayPal or visit our DONATE page for info on other ways to donate.

 

Good BLUEspace News! Ferry Service in Red Hook expands via New York Water Taxi!

PortSide New York was pleased to part of the team sharing good BLUEspace news at a press conference today at 1pm at Hometown Bar-B-Que.  Ferry service is expanding significantly in Red Hook with more New York Water Taxi service!

press release

Our Director Carolina Salguero made some remarks at the event and PortSide has a quote in the press release which said "As a living lab for better urban waterways, PortSide NewYork celebrates expanded ferry service for Red Hook as good policy for the city and great for everyone who lives, works, plays and shops in Red Hook," said PortSide New York Director Carolina Salguero.  "Expanded ferry service fulfills our contributions to Red Hook’s NY Rising plan, and aligns with PortSide’s model for combining the working waterfront, public access, community development and economic opportunities."

FAQs

Questions by PortSide. Answers from Councilman Carlos Menchaca's office

What does expanded service mean?
Instead of just landing at the Van Brunt Street Dock on the IKEA boat during the summer, we are expanding service to that location 365 days a years. This is made possible by the collaboration between NY Water Taxi and IKEA. And people can see that schedule here:  With this people will be able to ride to Van Brunt or Lower Manhattan for $5 each way.

Additionally, we are adding Van Brunt Street as a stop on our All Day Access Loop and introducing a one stop pricing structure. With the new pricing structure, people will be able to get to midtown (West 39th Street) 365 days a year for $9. That schedule is here:

Is it commuter service? Evenings only? Weekends only (like the Red Hook Summer Ferry)?
We will not run during morning rush hour, but based on the schedule it is available during afternoon rush hour.

Where is the stop(s)?
In Red Hook, we will land at Van Brunt Street and will connect people to Pier 11 (Wall Street) in Lower Manhattan and Pier 79 (West 39th Street) in Midtown West.

Who is financing this?
This is being funded by NY Water Taxi with collaboration from IKEA on that service. There is no subsidy for this expansion.

Ticket price?
$5 each way from Pier 11 to Van Brunt Street and $9 from Van Brunt to Pier 79 (the boat does not go directly from Pier 79 to Van Brunt)

Additional Info from Brooklyn Paper article
 

Brooklyn Paper article

re: schedule "Only one boat will make each round trip, so the ferry will swing by Fairway every 90 minutes between 10 am and 10 pm. But McCabe said that when temperatures warm in the spring and demand increases the trips could increase to a boat leaving every 30 minutes."

re: ferry subsidy/ticket price  "Ikea started subsidizing ferry service to its dock since 2008, but it soon grew tired of non-shoppers mooching free rides, and the following year started requiring receipts showing purchases of $10 or more to be reimbursed for the price of a boat trip. The new service is entirely funded by New York Water Taxi, but Menchaca said he and other pols are looking into sources of public funding to bring prices down."

Donate to support PortSide NewYork reporting like this

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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

Success & good times at PortSide NewYork "Resiliency is our HOOK" Fundraiser

Profuse thanks to everyone who made our October 28 fundraiser a big success and lots of fun!  Below are photos and videos of the event. We were told that the speeches were by turns "hilarious, in that Red Hook way, and moving." 

PortSide sought to celebrate positive actors, deeds and lessons associated with Sandy, and the laughter and happy vibe said we nailed it.

The event brought together old friends, new friends, and many people from outside Red Hook who joined with the locals to create a strong feeling of community in the room.  The crying two-year old Ruby was quieted by being invited on stage before our first speaker, so yes, it was a family affair.

PortSide invited Mary Rowe, Director of Urban Livability and Resiliency at the prestigious Municipal Art Society to share her resiliency wisdom accumulated since  post-Katrina work in New Orleans.  

Mary Rowe  praised Red Hook's inventive recovery energies, underlined the need for local-level resiliency because big engineering systems fail and got very real when she pointed to the need to get past a standard recovery stage "where we really can't stand each other." She concluded by asking  "how do we keep ourselves really ambitious about what can be Red Hook not only for Red Hook" but for the borough, the city, the region. MORE

Our three honorees (Victoria Hagman, Danny Schneider, Peter Rothenberg) where moved by receiving their awards, to the point that Danny Schneider bounded back on stage to make some remarks.  

More about the generous recovery work of those three including videos of them receiving their awards, here...

PortSide NewYork presented a surprise "good neighbor" award to IKEA for their diverse, inventive and sustained recovery work. More... 

The elected officials who attended were Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, NYS Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, Councilman Brad Lander and Councilman Carlos Menchaca.

The elected officials who spoke (Felix, Brad, Carlos) had warm praise for PortSide and also contributed some laugh lines to the evening.  Nydia was under the weather and bowed out early.

Thank you Hometown Bar-B-Que for the fab BBQ praised by many.

Thank you Red Hook Ramblers for the great jazz also praised by many.  

Thank you Marsha Trattner of She-Weld for creating the fantastic awards (see photo below), and thanks to Red Hook Initiative for the youth who shot the videos of the event.  

Thanks to our great host committee for the support that brought so many guests and new friends to PortSide at this event.

Thanks to our old and new friends who were the event sponsors!


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.

Sandy aid (grant & loan) for homeowner repairs

Van Brunt at Pioneer Street, image courtesy of Erinmelina, from Gotham Gazette, used under Creative Commons license.

Van Brunt at Pioneer Street, image courtesy of Erinmelina, from Gotham Gazette, used under Creative Commons license.

Sandy aid for Homeowner Repairs

Combo of $15,000 loan for 5 years at 2% and $15,000 grant = $30,000 with both.

We heard that the deadline for this is approaching. If you know or find out when it is, please post that as a comment!

Thank you Andrea Sansom for providing this info!

Authorization for Credit Report (Non-Borrower)

ER loan grant package

Contact person:

Raquel Colon, Senior Housing Counselor

Asian Americans for Equality CDF

111 Division Street

New York, N.Y. 10002

Tel: 212 964-2288

Fax: 212 964-6003

email: raquel@aafecdf.org

www.aafecdf.org

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Boats block the view" & other odd & boat-unfriendly NYC concepts

PortSide was founded to bring change to NYC’s waterfront, to make the waterways better used, to bring boats to communities, to change NYC policy. 

Via our visiting vessel program, and by inventing Kayak Valet, we have brought many boats to Brooklyn, but getting the permits and the access was crushingly tough (except for Kayak Valet which was a breeze, and we are thrilled that the term and practice is now common in NYC.)

Thanks to our eight-year real estate search to create a place called PortSide NewYork, a home for our MARY A. WHALEN and visting vessels of all types, we have studied and/or negotiated with over 20 sites in NYC.  This means we know where the opportunities - and the obstacles - are.  We are funneling what we’ve learned to policy makers, and will soon start a public awareness campaign.

The city has piers that are designated for boats that were not built well for boats.  The city has rules that add other layers of impediments. 

Did you know that historic houses in NYC Parks have resident housekeepers, but New York City policy often prohibits resident shipkeepers who would similarly protect and maintain historic ships?

Did you know that NYC has a policy that states “boats block the view”? Buildings face no such absolute prohibition. Building zoning is calibrated to building function, size, location.  “Boats block the view” has kept our MARY A. WHALEN off several piers. We’re out to change that rule, and others.

NYC has a reputation on the eastern seaboard for being a boat-unfriendly town. The thrust of NYC's first 20 years of waterfront revitalization, before Vision 2020, was getting people to the water's edge NOT onto, into or using the water itself.

The impediments prevent non-profit and commercial marine operators alike. They prevent major maritime festivals and single historic ships from visiting NYC, and prevent NYC's own historic ships from easily moving around the city to serve the public.  Such impediments limit dinner, charter and excursion boat options, community sailing programs, marinas, kayaking programs and the workboat sector of the industrial waterfront.

Would you like more boats in your community? Summer ship camp? After school programs afloat?  More maritime jobs? The chance to take a dinner cruise or leave on fly fishing cruise from your own neighborhood?  Activity on a dormant pier in your neighborhood?  Do you have a boat, boating program or business looking for a space in NYC?  Leave us a comment below to let us know.

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!

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!