PortSide NewYork 2015 year in review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please donate now and support our momentum!  

 

 

Education

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

WaterStories cultural programs

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

Ship restoration:

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

History: research, acquisitions & programs

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

Inspiring artists

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

Policy/Planning

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

Capacity Building - great progress undergirds all the above!

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

Please donate now and support our momentum!  





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

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

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

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

Buy tickets on Eventbrite here

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

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

BIO OF BAND PARADISE MOUNTAIN BOYS

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

Event Schedule

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

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

History program

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

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

Event Partners

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

Thanks

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

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

The Venue  

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

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

Red Hook WaterStories

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

Help us keep up the momentum!

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