Memorial Day Weekend: Fleet Week + Saturday Mary Whalen TankerTours

Thurs 5/26 - Mon 5/30 "Fleet Week" ship tours in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Sat 5/28 TankerTours of MARY A. WHALEN (info at bottom)

This year, Fleet Week “Celebrating The Sea Services” has three ships open to the public in the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook. This is the first time that Fleet Week has been at that cruise terminal.  There will be two Navy Destroyers and one Coast Guard cutter (see photos below):

  • Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99)
  • Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96)
  • Coast Guard USCGC Forward (WMEC 911)

Fleet Week ships visiting hours  Thurs 5/26/16 - Mon 5/30/16 from 8am to 5pm each day. Entry may be closed at 3pm each day to allow visitors aboard to cycle out.

Directions to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal  (for cars, public transit, walking, biking, ferry)

Fleet Week rules on what you can't bring & need to bring, etc. See their FAQs for what you need to have (IDs of people over 18) and can't bring aboard: strollers (leave them on the pier), bottles, cans, knives and more, and should avoid (high heels, sandals, open toed shoes and more).

Visit historic Red Hook, home to great restaurants, bars, cultural institutions and parks! Info

Sat 5/28 TANKERTOURS FOR MARY A. WHALEN

Sat 5/28/16 from 10am-5pm
Sign up for tours on-site. Groups of 20 will be admitted every 20 minutes. No tours at 1:00 & 1:20 as we break for lunch.
Can't make it? For other ways to experience the MARY, see Visitor Info

PortSide NewYork will open our ship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN in honor of her 78th birthday! She is the only oil tanker cultural center in the world.  She is the last of her kind in the USA and is listed on the National Register of historic places.  She is significant for her role in the 1975 Supreme Court legal decision U.S. vs Reliable Transfer, a major case in US maritime law. The MARY is a symbol of  resiliency because the PortSide crew rode out superstorm Sandy on the ship, and then we brought our office equipment ashore to set up and run a hurricane Sandy pop-up aid station.

The MARY A. WHALEN's story is woven into Red Hook WaterStories because she was built for the Red Hook company Ira S. Bushey & Sons and was based in Red Hook for decades as tanker and then as a floating dock and office for Hughes Marine after she went out of service in 1994. She became PortSide's flagship in 2007.

The MARY was launched May 21, 1938 at Mathis in Camden, NJ and built for Bushey's, an innovative and unusually diverse maritime company which closed in the 1980s. Bushey's was based at the foot of Court Street and ran a ship yard, fuel terminal and fuel delivery fleet of tugs, tankers and barges. Bushey's built over 200 ships for the Navy and commercial service and had ships built at other yards.  Today, the Bushey property remains an active maritime site with the fuel tanks operated by Buckeye and their fuel moved by our friends at Vane Brothers. Vane runs a fleet of tugs and fuel barges and has often towed our MARY A. WHALEN for free.  Vane also introduced us to their paint supplier International Paint who has donated all the paint to recoat the decks and house.

Please donate now to support our restoration of the MARY A. WHALEN, public programs aboard which include TankerTours, TankerTime,
and our summer preservation internships with the WHSAD high school
and programs off the ship such as
our Sandy recovery and resiliency work and  
Red Hook WaterStories which tells Red Hook maritime history over 400+ years.

Help us match a grant and raise another $20,000 for Red Hook WaterStories by the end of June and donate here!

Red Hook WaterStories is supported in part by Councilman Carlos Menchaca.

PortSide NewYork Awarded Two-Year REDC NYSCA Grant

PortSide NewYork is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a two-year New York City Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) grant for $49,500. We just commenced the contract.   The allocation comes from the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) and supports culture as economic development.  REDC grants are very competitive, and we won the first time we applied!  We also broke a glass ceiling -- maritime activity has not often been embraced as cultural activity.  

PortSide activities cited in our grant application include:

Preservation programs and internships with WHSAD, a fabulous CTE (career and technical educational) high school, what used to be called a vocational school.  Read what our summer 2015 WHSAD interns thought of it, in their own words.

Job training program with the Painters Union District Council 9 (DC9) who are the MARY A. WHALEN as a training site. 

Our WaterStories cultural programs which also include our Visiting Vessel program and TankerTours of the MARY A. WHALEN

Red Hook WaterStories a history, mapping, cultural tourism and resiliency project that tells the history of Red Hook, Brooklyn via a water theme.  In microcosm, Red Hook WaterStories tells New York City's maritime story. 

Our role on the Sunset Park Task Force, where we are represented by our President Carolina Salguero. The first job of the Task Force was helping the NYC EDC shape the RFP for South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.  Carolina advocated for maritime uses, for avoiding an RFP that had so many proscriptions it would deter respondents, and pushed to allow maritime uses that were originally not going to be allowed (ferries and historic ships).  Here is a Task Force description from the NYC EDC:

  • "Since July 2015, NYCEDC has worked with Councilmember Menchaca and community partners to establish and convene a Sunset Park Task Force, comprised of representatives from local community groups, businesses, and elected officials.  
    • The goals of the Task Force are to:
      • Maximize the potential of the Sunset Park waterfront in a sustainable and just manner to serve as an economic hub of traditional and innovating industries, including job creation and workforce development;
      • Establish and promote regional and local priorities for efficient goods movement;
      • Balance community access and needs across public and private initiatives and development; and 
      • Advocate for preserving and expanding Sunset Park's industrial, manufacturing, and maritime businesses, as well as nonprofit organizations and auxiliary/amenity businesses supporting the local community."

Our work on Red Hook's NY Rising Committee. Carolina Salguero was one of the original appointees to the committee by Governor Cuomo's office. She made significant contributions to the final plan submitted to NYS for the $3MM in funding.  We are pleased that her advocacy for maritime activation made it into the NY Rising plan and was subsequently picked up by the NYC EDC in their planning for Red Hook's IFPS (Integrated Flood Protection System). The Red Hook community strongly supporting maritime activation as a key value to ensure in any flood protection scheme: "residents said they wanted to encourage the development of the maritime industry and businesses to set up shop in the neighborhood."  Carolina's research and writing for the committee is supported by work done by PortSide staff and interns. 

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!