We have installed a "PortSide SOS Pop Up" at 145 Columbia Street where we have an office, garden and gallery space. From the latter we will de-acquisition the local maritime artifacts that would have been part of our off-ship maritime museum.

People can now walk right into PortSide's office to volunteer, sign our petition, or get information.  Many already have!  We encourage all to do so!
We moved in one day - an example of how well PortSide has learned to pop-up during six+ years without a publicly accessible home.

PortSide is very grateful for this donated space, thanks to property manager Beth Kenkel and the building owner. Beth Kenkel has lived on "this side of the highway" for 16 years, cannot imagine living anywhere else and is invested in her neighborhood. She has been supportive of community programs and local business owners over the years. She manages a building owned by a family friend, located at 145 Columbia Street, which in the past has been home to The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and The Supermovers, a moving company owned by people that also live in the neighborhood. Since both of them found new spaces that met their growing business needs, Beth has been trying to sort out how to best utilize the commercial space so that it best serves the area. That is when the owners of home/made, friends of Beth who knew about the empty storefront, mentioned it to Carolina. Carolina called Beth and we both realized what a great match the pop up museum would be on so many levels. 

PortSide would also like to thank home/made who offered the incentive of free brunch to the first ten people who offered to help us move!

We are also setting up a small maritime gallery with photography and painting in addition to the artifacts. So far, we will be selling paintings and ropework by Frank Hanavan, illustrations and fabrics by Christina Sun, paintings by Dennis Doyle (a painter and dredge crew member) and photos by Carolina Salguero. We can also display the artwork donated to support our fundraising. 

Beth Kenkel has said we can host a fundraiser on site. Here is the garden. It has a grill and fire pit too! Please come visit us soon!


NYC Historic Ships need greater and easier access to NYC piers!
Friday 3/16/12 the City Council Committee on Waterfronts held a hearing about the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) WAVES initiative.  WAVES includes this goal of the Mayor's office for 2012: 

"Create uniform landing protocol and application for City-owned properties to facilitate docking of historic vessels." 

If such a protocol were in place, PortSide would surely not be suffering our current real estate crisis. 
At th3 3/16/12 hearing, a noteworthy number of people testified solely on the theme of historic ships.

Many people mentioned PortSide's real estate crisis - we became the theme du jour - and supported having the MARY A. WHALEN get a new home fast.

The value and struggles of historic ships in NYC was affirmed by several members of the newly formed coalition of historic ships (a formal name, mission statement and website for the group are in the works).  Members of this coalition, which includes PortSide NewYork, testified in person or sent in written testimony.

Here are links to some of the testimony from that day (official City Council transcripts are not yet ready):

Carolina Salguero, Director, PortSide NewYork click

Capt. Maggie Flanagan, maritime educator & program developer click

Mary Habstritt, Museum Director, LILAC Preservation Project click

Capt. Pamela Hepburn, Director, Tug PEGASUS Preservation Project click 

David Sharps, President, Waterfront Museum Barge click

Please support our getting a new home and all historic ships in NYC by signing our petition at

For a quick summary of our programs see this video click


A photo is worth a thousand words -- sometimes.

We received an email this morning with a series of photos saying they depicted why sea turtles were endangered concluding "and it is not global warming!"
[That explanation should set off warning bells...]

The sole other caption was "Costa Rica" and the photos showed dozens of people digging a beach and loading up sacks of eggs in front of, one imagines, forlorn turtles.

Some Googling finds that the photos are true, but the message is false:

The egg collection is part of a government-run program that allows a very short stint of egg collecting (to satisfy a traditional demand for the eggs and their presumed aphrodisiac powers) while also preventing the destruction of many eggs by the turtles themselves who come back to lay in another wave.

Anti-hoax explanation webpage

Substantiated by a Costa Rican government website

Report by NPR journalist about the complex politics and economics of egg harvesting and environmental protection in a poor area on website of Sustainable Development Reporting Project (SDRP)
NPR's own website shows that Burnett did do a story in 1997 but there is no audio on line). How is it that a story by an NPR journalist is not on NPR's website but is on the SDRP one (yes, we checked),  here is the reason offered by the SDRP website:

John Burnett, NPR
"The Sustainable Development Reporting Project is a year-long endeavor to look at the most promising and important sustainable development programs in Central America. It is made possible by a grant from the Mexico City office of the Ford Foundation. The topics include sustainable forestry, ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity protection, and endangered species protection. The project is producing 10 stories to be aired on National Public Radio between August 1997 and March 1998. All stories are being rewritten in print format for UT-LANIC, the University of Texas at Austin's Latin American Network Information Center. 

The Project Director is John Burnett, for 12 years Southwest Correspondent for NPR based in Austin, Texas. Burnett took a year-long leave of absence from his regular duties covering Texas to travel in Central America, research the stories, write them and produce them."

Various Costa Rica B and B sites list the egg laying as a reason to visit.

So... please protect sea turtles and all of nature, but do not believe every action email you receive.  Always do your research!


Red Hook  has a big role in the Gowanus Canal Superfund clean up, and two opportunities to get involved this week:
  • Site visit Tues 3/20/12 5:30pm and 
  • Public meeting Thursday, March 22, 2012, 7:00 PM.  download meeting PDF here

Details on both below.

Some background on the process up until now at

Site visit Tues 3/20/12, 5:30pm

There will be a site visit Tuesday March 20th at 5:30pm of a location that looks like to play a key role in the superfund dredging.

The the property known informally in Red Hook as the Gowanus Industrial Park or the Columbia Street Grain Terminal. It is accessed from a gate opposite IKEA's entrance on Columbia Street.

The site has been discussed as a barge staging area, site where the dredge remediation plant could be installed, and a place where remediated dredged would be used as landfill (which could fill out to where Columbia Street makes the right angle turn to the SW for it's final stretch by the NYPD evidence lot).

Info on the site visit is below

From: Phaedra Thomas []
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 2:37 PM
To: Phaedra Thomas
Subject: Meeting Thursday, Site visit tomorrow

Hello Again, 

The EPA meeting is this Thursday March 22nd at 7:00pm at the MICCIO.  Sorry for any confusions.  

If possible John would like to have as many folks over to his property tomorrow, Tuesday March 20th at 5:30pm for a brief onsite review of where EPA activities could take place.  We were hoping to have EPA join us at the visit but they are otherwise busy.  We still wanted an opportunity to provide a visual perspective of what could happen, prior to Thursday's discussion.

Please let me know if you can make it tomorrow.  Very sorry about short notice.

Best -Phaedra (917) 859-2949

download PDF about meeting below here

[EPA logo here]

Meeting about Superfund plans for Gowanus
and how they may affect Red Hook
(we are a potential processing site for the toxic dredge material)
and opportunities for Red Hook to get involved

EPA invites you to a public information meeting on the GOWANUS CANAL SUPERFUND SITE
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites you to attend a public information meeting to discuss the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal and its potential impact on the residents of Red Hook. Representatives from EPA will be on hand to talk about possible clean up options to address the contamination in the Gowanus, followed by a question and answer session. The meeting will be held on:

Thursday, March 22, 2012
7:00 PM

Red Hook-Miccio Community Center
110 West 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY

Site related documents are available online at:
If you have any questions regarding the meeting or any other site related issues you can contact Natalie Loney, Community Involvement Coordinator at, (212) 637-3639 or toll-free at1-800-346-5009.


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 (
CM Gale A. Brewer (
CM Brad S. Lander (
CM Eric A. Ulrich (
CM Peter F. Vallone (

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


        < < < Be sure to include this information


2012 painting + frame donated by Frank Hanavan
PortSide NewYork is urgently seeking a new home after the deal for Atlantic Basin fell through so that we can continue to serve the public and save the historic ship tanker MARY A. WHALEN.  In the few weeks since announcing our crisis, we have received a groundswell of support from elected officials, mariners, local residents, artists, restaurants, bloggers and others.

Some of the offers of help we have received include:

Noted author/historian Mike Wallace and his wife Carmen Boullosa, offered to host a dinner on the Mary A. Whalen that she cooks and during which he talks about NYC's waterfront history.   

Michael Miscione, Manhattan Borough Historian is donating a tour or private history session.  

Fort Defiance
Fort Defiance bar/restaurant has offered their place for meetings and will plan a summer fundraiser for us.  

Charles Knapp, cheesemonger at the Red Hook Fairway, will run a cheese tasting fundraiser.

The band Deedle Deedle Dees will donate a concert

Maggie Flanagan, former Director of Marine Education at the old South Street Seaport Museum will run a free children's nautical event fundraiser for us.
A free cruise on the 97' luxury yacht Justine


SeaStreak ferry will let PortSide flyer their passengers and is willing to announce our cause to them.

Naima Raum print
Artists donating work:     

Bill Murphy limited edition print  
Frank Hanavan  new painting of the Mary Whalen 
Christina Sun new drawing of the the Mary Whalen
Barbara Mensch photograph
Naima Raum limited edition print

We seek:
  • Venues to take advantage of some of the offers above. Our ship is not accessible while in the Red Hook Container Terminal, so we need places for the concert, children's maritime event, cheese tasting and more.
  • A large boat for a fundraising cruise. The only way many people can see the MARY A. WHALEN is from the water.
Is there a service or place you can offer?

Crisis at PortSideCrisis at PortSide, help save us & MARY A. WHALEN

February 17, 2012 
Pier 9B
Posted by Carolina Salguero

Here is some urgent news and a call for your support so that PortSide NewYork can stay open and the tanker MARY A. WHALEN can be saved. Please read and forward this flyer about our meeting on Monday 2/27/12:

Mon 2/27, 6:30-8:30pm  directions
LICH Conference Rooms A & B
339 Hicks Street, Brooklyn NY 11201

After that, until 10:30pm at Montero's Bar
across Atlantic Ave from LICH just south of Hicks.

The Bad News:

We will not be getting a home in Atlantic Basin in time to keep us in business.  After six years of working on getting a home, and 3+ years working on Atlantic Basin, we finally need a place.

PortSide needs to have a home confirmed by April 30th, or we will close and the tanker MARY A. WHALEN will likely be scrapped, as there are few commercial uses for her.

You may wonder why we cannot continue with the MARY A. WHALEN docked in the Red Hook Containerport.  PortSide is very grateful for that berth, but the need to secure the port means there are Homeland Security regulations and Port Authority rules that prevent us from using the ship for programs or revenue generating activities there. More on that at bottom of the post.

Without a location where YOU can visit us, PortSide cannot meet its goals for the community, or earn money with the ship, and cannot continue.

Some Good News:

We have have identified several locations that we think could work for us, including some nearby.  We are fully engaged in reaching out to those places

Help us continue programs like these!:

We created the public performance in a local container port, with the TankerOpera.  We created the first cultural program in GMD shipyard in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  We introduced the Dutch Flat Bottom Fleet to Atlantic Basin and created the first public programs there including 44 events during July and August 2010 and the free sails on the Clipper City earlier in the year.  We created the first free, public, bilingual historic ship tours in NYC during Concierto Tipico, a salsa concert in Sunset Park.   

We are redesigning the BoatBox used by the Red Hook Boaters in Valentino Park to make it an amenity for the whole community.  We invented Kayak Valet, now an established harbor term.   

We created an important 9/11 exhibit about how the marine industry evacuated hundreds of thousands of people on 9/11 and went on to help NYC recover from the attacks. 

And, PortSide NewYork is the first - and only - group to save a tanker ship in the USA for public use.  We did the paperwork to have the MARY A. WHALEN deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

More good news:

PortSide does not need to be in the new home by the end of April (though that would be a blessing); we just need it confirmed to enable fundraising. 

How real estate affects funding:

Funders want to see that an organization has a stable base of operations and that programs can occur on a predictable basis.  Up until now, PortSide has been forced to negotiate permits for every event we have ever done, and we have never received permission on more than 3 weeks notice!  After months of planning, one big event, the Dutch Flat Bottom Fleet Open House of 2009, was approved only nine days in advance. Our summer 2010 permit for Atlantic Basin took 7 months to negotiate and was only cleared 20 days in advance.

PortSide has been negotiating for a publicly accessible home for almost seven years. 

As you all know, homelessness is an exhausting proposition. It makes it hard to get things done. 

I am sharing this news with you in the hope that you will support PortSide and help us bring this real estate hunt to a speedy conclusion.  PortSide needs a real home for our ship so we can deliver the programs we have promised and I keenly want to deliver.

It’s been six years and nine months since we did our business plan funded by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS).  It is four years and five months since we responded to the EDC RFEI for Atlantic Basin, and five years since we responded to an EDC RFP for Atlantic Basin.

In late 2008, the EDC announced that PortSide would have a home in Atlantic Basin. They asked us to do programs there every year, which we did, but without the security of an underlying ongoing lease agreement, we did not have the ability to apply for grants, seek major donors and conduct fundraisers based on a known schedule of programs.  Under those conditions, planning and doing programming is not sustainable and we need to get into a situation that allows for proper capacity building.

Note that Atlantic Basin is owned by the Port Authority, and the EDC leases Atlantic Basin from the Port Authority which has ultimate say about activities there.

What we did do in Atlantic Basin and all our other temporary outposts is provide a taste of what we will do when we have a place where we can flourish.  If PortSide can do as much as we have while homeless, imagine how much more we can do with a proper home!

We have plans and the capability to do more for you in the future; we just need a place to do it.   I ask you to please come to PortSide’s meeting at 6:30pm on Monday 2/27 at LICH and help PortSide by speaking up and stepping up. 

Details about why staying in the Red Hook Containerport is not viable:

For example, if you don’t have a Homeland Security ID, a TWIC card, we have to escort you five blocks from the gate to the ship. Since the onset of TWIC cards in March 2009, each card holder could only escort five visitors who did not have a TWIC. It is pretty hard to get a school group here under such circumstances; and large audiences such as attended the 2007 opera are impossible.

As of new rules effective Monday February 13, I am now the only person at PortSide NewYork who can escort any visitors at all. That means only five non-TWIC card holders can come to a meeting at our office on the ship, or tour the boat, or work on a volunteer day.

Progress! MARY WHALEN before+after photos

Pier 9B
Posted by Carolina Salguero

This post is still under construction. Some more photos coming soon!

Looking something up in our files, I happened upon an old photo of the MARY WHALEN's bow as it looked before her haul out by GMD in January-February 2007, when this blog began. The photo of her bow looking so nasty really drove home how much work has been done around here. So for encouragement's sake, here is a series of before-and-after photos.

Fall 2006, before shipyard. Note that the anchor cannot be raised and is tied off with a line, and many fenders have been burned off leaving her bow snaggle-toothed with weldments. Weldments are not a Altoid product, they are the vestiges of where things were once welded.

2007 after shipyard.  The spirket place (Charlie Deroko introduced me to that term) was repainted white based on old photos of the tanker.  Charlie even forwarded a poem using the term spirket.

2005 before purchase, she was literally in the weeds in Erie Basin. The eagle on the front of the house is not original. That was a gift to Hughes Brothers and they removed it and kept it before selling the boat.

2008, after most of the house was repainted

Main deck and boom, 2005 before purchase.  In the midst of all that deck clutter was a marine toilet, possibly one removed from the boat.  Lying on deck to the right of the photo is a spud that is for sale at time of writing.
2011 Main deck and boom in final stages of refurbishing said post as reported in blog post about shipwork and pizza

2006 galley

2009 galley

2006 Captain's Cabin
2008 Captain's Cabin

wheelhouse before purchase 2005

Wheelhouse 2011

1/12/2008 First time her house lights were working since acquisition. Thank you Ed Fanuzzi for that work!

One loss:  The brass builder's plaque was was stolen from front of the house before the boat was purchased.   
(So was a vintage safety sign from the fidley; we have no photos of that)
Here is the plaque in April 2005.   

Reward for retun of the plaque; no questions asked!  

The MARY A. WHALEN began life as the S.T. KIDDOO, named for Solomon Thomas Kiddoo, then the Treasurer of Fairbanks Morse. Ira S. Bushey & Sons who had the tanker built, distributed Fairbanks Morse engine parts, and this boat has one of their engines.

Portrait of Carolina Salguero in NYC Waterfront book "New York" by MARE Verlag

A portrait of PortSide NewYork Founder and Director Carolina Salguero is included in the coffeetable book "New York" recently issued by MARE, an innovative and award-winning German publishing house specializing in maritime themes (as we do!).

The luscious and often surprsing book features images of the city by renowned Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin and portraits by acclaimed photographer Stefan Pielow of New Yorkers whose lived are defined by the water.

Photo (c) Stefan Pielo

A captain who stayed with his ship, Captain Kurt Carlsen, FLYING ENTERPRISE

Pier 9B
Posted by Carolina Salguero

The story of the Italian cruise ship COSTA CONCORDIA has had me chirping away on Twitter and posting on Facebook.  Maybe I'll consolidate those posts here at some point ...

In the meantime, on the subject of stricken vessels, we got word that PBS was looking to interview a captain who stayed with his stricken vessel. I asked PortSide's admiralty lawyer, the wonderfully named Charlie Brown of SNR Denton, if he knew any cases. He said the best was an old one, the captain of the FLYING ENTERPRISE.  

His heroism netted him a ticker tape parade in NYC in the 1950's.

Can you imagine a ship captain getting any kind of attention like that in NYC now?! 
Meet Captain  Kurt Carlsen of the FLYING ENTERPRISE.

The ship was hit by one rogue wave and damaged, and then hit by a second. He ordered crew and passengers off and stayed with his stricken vessel for 13 days, manning her alone, so that a growing fleet of salvage vessels could not lay claim to her. A rescue tug, astoundingly named TURMOIL came to tow her to safety, and the mate joined Carlsen on the FLYING ENTERPRISE.  A storm hit them, and they had to abandon ship. She sank soon thereafter. 

Vintage newsreels  here and  here

"He was offered $250,000 for his story by the British Daily Express newspaper, a half million dollars by Hollywood. Endorsement offers also came in. With riches his for the asking, Carlsen declined all offers. He said "I don't want a seaman's honest attempt to save his ship used for any commercial purpose." After honours from his king and a ticker tape parade in New York, Carlsen returned to the sea where he spent the rest of his career. He died, unnoticed, in 1989."

When he died years later in 1989, he was buried at sea over the wreck of the vessel at his request.

The book about it all "Simple Courage" is on Amazon. The review has more details of the story:

"Carlson stayed aboard, used a makeshift radio and his skills as a ham radio operator to communicate with the armada of ships that had gathered, and continued to run his disabled ship single-handedly for over a week. He risked his life moving about the listing boat, scavenged what little food and drink there was, wrote it all down in the store log, and maintained the ship's log and kept her 'legal.' As long as he was captain and on board, nobody could claim salvage. He arranged for a contract to be negotiated to get Flying Enterprise towed to port, all of this over a period of days in which she could have gone down at any minute. When the tug Turmoil arrived, after a day of trying to get a line to the lone captain in a large swell, Kenneth Dancy sprinted across the tug's deck and jumped across to Flying Enterprise to help Carlson secure the tow line. Dancy became First Mate and he saw the horrendous and terrifying conditions that Carlson had been living in, where some walls had become sloping floors, some walls had become sloping roofs, and sea water and diesel and oil was everywhere. Carlson had been working, eating, and sleeping in the middle of all this and remained calm and professional throughout."

85 pages of the book visible on line here

History compiled by a shipwreck blogger here

Report from a diver of the wreck here

First snow day of 2012 on MARY WHALEN, Chiclet asks for help shovelling the deck!

Pier 9B
Posted by Carolina Salguero

That's Chiclet coming in this morning after a night off the boat.

Soon after that, I sent an email blast out to volunteers for help shoveling at 3pm.  Chiclet asks for help!

I did that rather last minute, I know, but I wasn’t on the ball vis a vis work yesterday. It was my birthday and day 13 of a cold, two different excuses for being a dingbat.

Before shoveling, I'm relishing the cozy delights of snow day: Irish oatmeal with currants on the diesel stove.

Chiclet snoozing on her galley tuffet. 

Snowy light on silver polished by Jenny Kane for a Supper Club dinner; thank you Jenny!    

WBGO Rhythm Revue streaming. Dave Black, thanks for introducing me to that!

Here’s a snow day shot from 3 years ago, a stove multi-tasking, heating up the shovel so I can wax it and warming soup at the same time.  

This is also a sign of progress! In 2008, the fidley deck had not been repainted yet (note the peeling paint on floor) and we were using an old shovel with a taped handle (it was a classic though), and now we have mod Canadian shovels with plastic blades and carbon fiber handles. Come use one today! Stevedores will start plowing the pier next to the ship sometime after 1pm and deck shoveling starts at 3pm!

After that, I've invited people to join me at Montero's Bar at 6pm and raise a glass in honor of bar founder Pilar Montero who passed away at 90 this week and celebrate her and the great place she created.


73 Atlantic Ave @ Hicks

Brooklyn Heights

Comments on Bowery Boys Red Hook history podcast

Pier 9B, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Posted by Carolina Salguero

A recent podcast on the site THE BOWERY BOYS covers Red Hook history with a strong focus on gangs and crime. 

There is much good about the piece, but it also has some errors, and in dwelling on crime so much, it skews the area's history.  I wrote the creators; and in order to facilitate getting the word out, I post my email to them below.  

In an idea world, I'd have time to upload supporting data, but I don't. I did add a link about the Carnegie Library in the version below.

You can write them yourself at the following email addresses;, and/or post a comment here.

Dear Greg and Tom:

I am glad that you love Red Hook and chose to dedicate time to the place, your piece reflects that love; but your history has considerable errors. 

I'm the Founder and Director of PortSide NewYork a waterfront-themed non-profit here in Red Hook.  We are based on the oil tanker MARY A. WHALEN docked in the Red Hook Container Terminal.   

One of our missions has been to research Red Hook history on a water theme and produce related cultural tourism products.  More here

I don't have the time to write out a detailed correction of all the errors in your podcast and so will just rattle off some observations.
It was Norwegians first, not Irish.  Planners did lay out grid for the streets in the early mid 1800's, but large parts of eastern Red Hook remained watery through the late 1880s.  
Though Red Hook had gangs, as you describe; well before Red Hook was known as the crack capital of the USA, the neighborhood was also home to huge industry and many lower middle class and middle class residents and a booming retail corridor.   

There was a Carnegie library, wealthy people using the Hamilton Avenue Ferry, built to facilitate access to Green-Wood Cemetary and soon used by commuters from what we now call Carroll Gardens to go to work in lower Manhattan's business district.  

In short, Red Hook housed great poverty, but for decades was more mixed economically than your focus on gangland stories describes.  Personally, I find what is most distinctive about Red Hook over the years is the capacity of this small place to hold AT THE SAME TIME a striking economic range in its residents and a striking range of land use from major industry to residences.

Also, residents of Carroll Gardens did not drive the name change of their area, it was real estate brokers who changed the name, my mother being one of them. It was a technique to attract buyers (and lenders) for brownstones who might be dissuaded by the name of Red Hook, which by the 1960s was associated with things dark.  

Your most significant error is to say that the movie "On the Waterfront" is based on Red Hook. That is an easy error to make as that is oft repeated here. I myself made the mistake of writing so in one of our early Red Hook guides.
After additional research, I can confirm that this is not so, nor was Elia Kazan's movie of that name based on Arthur Miller's script.  

In a zeigeist way, a number of people were likely focusing on dockland stories at that time, the issues having been recently been outed by a long expose series in the press. 

"On the Waterfront" is based on another script by Budd Schulberg and based an actual person Father Pete Corridan who was facing issues on the docks on the westside of Manhattan and Union County, New Jersey, not Red Hook.  Note that the Red Hook docks were by then controlled by ethnic Italians and not Irish.  

A full length book, based on in-depth academic research, was recently published about the dockworker issues and the movie.  The book is called "On the Irish Waterfront."  It is a corrective to much popular misunderstand about how the famous movie came to be and the conventional interpretation of the movie as being an Elia Kazan apologia for testifying before HUAC.  

I can put you in touch with the professor Jim Fisher of Fordham who wrote the book. His blog has information about the book, though lately it has veered into more personal terrain, so try this post.  

The book's Amazon listing is here

If you do follow ups or corrections, feel free to get in touch.

I may publish the content of this email in some form as a blogpost to facilitate these corrections being available to a wider audience which may be misled by your history.


Carolina Salguero
Founder + Director

PortSide NewYorkBringing NYC's BlueSpace to life

Boom! meets Pizza!

Pier 9B, Red Hook, Brooklyn
Posted by Carolina Salguero
Photos by Carolina Salguero unless otherwise indicated.

The first volunteer day of 2012, Saturday, was blessed with GLORIOUS weather with temps hovering around 50 degrees and the sun mostly out all day.  Project Boom! is in its final stages. Mike I-love-rigging Abegg tweaked the cable running through the boom's refurbished blocks, attached a block to the end of the boom, running its line through the fair leads used during the MARY WHALEN's days of carrying fuel hose.  We'll use that block instead of  the boom chainfall (so key for gangway tending) to do things like lift pallet loads of hard coal. We'll be getting 2 tons of coal once the boom is back up. Time to play Break Bulk! Better that than Break Back from carrying eighty 50-pound bags of coal up the gangway...

Today's goals:  get shipwork work done, have fun (as always) and learn to make pizza to feed the crew.  It's cold enough to want something warm at the end of the day, and deep inside the container terminal TWIC zone as we are, no take-out deliveries are possible.  Today, we received a donated pizza stone from by A Cook's Companion - thank you! - picked up by John Weaver and Karen Dyrland who popped by to deliver my new used Leica digital camera (photos here may improve) and put in an hour of work.  Before the volunteers arrived Smitty, a wizard musician on the steel guitar, came and donated to the firewood pile, walnut offcuts from his cabinetry work.
Today's work list was aspirationally long; but hey, Mike Abegg says to make a bigger list than we can do!

First thing I did before shipwork was make the sauce for the pizza. Time for a shout out here to thank Scott Pfaffman and Molly Blieden for donating a stack of saucepans after their tenant restaurant O'Barone closed. This is one of the big ones. So great!
Sauce is being cooked on our Webb Perfection diesel pot-burner stove, a design patented in 1918.
Diesel simply piddles down the pipe, turns right and then heads towards the back and into the "pot," aka a Valjean Burner. The holes allow oxygen to enter.  The overflow safety cutoff is the little chain dangling to the right of the down-sticking overflow pipe. If the pot floods, the extra diesel spills down that pipe and into a cup. Once that cup get heavy (you have to calibrate that), it pulls down on the chain and cuts off the intake. Originally there was a round-bottomed brass cup. Now, we have a bean can with a dead padlock to give it heft. If someone knows where to get such a Webb brass cup, we'd love to know.
First volunteer in, Peter Rothenberg, nets the day's Best Dressed Award.  Pete is painting the boom mast fully and his shirt not very much.
Mike Abegg where he likes to go, up the ladder and into what little rigging an oil tanker has to offer. Photo by Karen Dyrland.

Though the South Street Seaport is rising like a phoenix and has reactivated their volunteer program, our Save Our Seaport friends are still around.  After spending the morning volunteering on the Seaport fleet, Mike Cohen, Nelson Chin and Linda Beal spend their afternoon at PortSide. Here they're pitching in on final stages of Mike Abegg's boom project.

Somehow Linda Beal seems to get involved in projects stretching things out on the pier. This time she handles it without Chiclet's assistance. Chiclet punked out this work day and did not supervise.

Me, setting off to cut firewood on the pier. Photo by Nelson Chin.

Linda Beal and Mike Cohen wire brushing the boom guy wires. Heckuva job! I wrote the guy wires off as badly rusted; but after Linda and Mike's diligent brushing, the wire rope looked really good!
Me, cutting wood offcuts donated by Ralph Gorham of Brooklyn Farm Table and Red Hook Lobster Pound. That's so Red Hook... that kind of range out of one person. I'm sorry to burn such wonderful old timbers and set aside a few for Mike Abegg who is also a cabinetmaker (what was I saying about people with diverse skill sets...). The axe here is a wanna be. I swung it twice and concluded that my shoulder is NOT healed after being hit by a truck on 1/14/11, so it's a good thing that I'm switching the fidley stove from wood burning to coal burning... I'll need much less wood this winter, just enough to start the coal fires...
Speaking of fuel. Here, passing us is the kind of 2nd generation equipment that replaced the MARY A. WHALEN. The first generation after coastal oil tankers was fuel barges pushed by harbor tugs. Now there are these huge "pin boats," ATB (articulated tug and barge units) whose tugs are pinned to double hulled fuel barges.  The MARY is an old single hull. She carried 8,019 barrels.  That's Reinauer equipment passing us, and their bigger barges carry 100,000 barrels and more, all of which constitutes a heads up as to how much fuel consumption has soared from 1938 when the MARY WHALEN was built until now.  Photo by Karen Dyrland. Her father was captain of the MARY A. WHALEN from 1958 to 1978.

The wind really came up by the end of the day; and here Mike Cohen is wrastling the wheelhouse window tarps back into place. They came down for New Years Eve fireworks viewing....

Pizza #4. What you can't see here was the learning curve from Pizza #1, the pizza that was a lesson in corn meal or semolina flour. eg, without it scattered on your pizza peel, you're not getting your pizza off the peel! A nimble committee lept into action and helped me drag deformed Pizza 1 onto the Pizza stone. 

Nelson Chin cutting pizza, Mike Cohen and Mike Abegg  to the right of him.

Matt Perricone of the Tug Cornell and Amy Bucciferro arrived in time for Pizza #4. Matt was in to pick up two old radar monitors that were donated to us.  We're trading them for work time from Matt.  We all laughed about Lessons of Shipwork, The Shopvac Episodes.  My tale covered why not to use one to vacuum out a diesel stove--clogs your filter in minutes, and there is  no way to clean that off without getting blackened like a coal  miner.   Matt said "never use one without a filter; because if  you do, what was over there, just goes zzzzip over to here."  Matt described cleaning out the MARY WHALEN's boiler chimney on New Year's day. He removed about 15 gallons of rust scale and one dead pigeon.  Minus the bird and friends, could we finally get the boiler to work? Wouldn't central heat be grand....

And with that, I'll leave you with the Shop Vac Song

Boom! and other shipwork projects

More coming soon about more restoration work on the cargo boom, galley stove, fidley stove and more!

Amy Bucciferro priming parts of the block from the cargo boom. Mike Abegg took all the blocks apart for servicing and we're replacing all the wire in the running and standing rigging.
Mike Cohen (L) and Mike Abegg (R) both of the Save Our Seaport group, giving the gangway some TLC

Hugh McCallion working on galley stove chimney

Hugh McCallion servicing the galley stove.

Carolina Salguero in forepeak removing last of ballast water put in for Hurricane Irene. After 2 pumps burned out, the last bit went out in buckets. Care to donate more pumps anyone?

Dirty forepeak mucking crew Frank Hanavan (L), Carolina Salguero (R) and Mike Abegg who popped by our project (center)

Ben Paolino on top of the wheelhouse capping the tankerman's cabin vent for the winter

Hugh McCallion tackles the stove in the fidley this time, swapping out stove pipe

Our 2009 intern from Germany Yolanda Rother popped by for a surprise visit and jumped right in

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