PortSide-seeks-free-storefront-for-April-2012


Want to help a great non-profit?

Can you find PortSide NewYork a space that we could use for an office for one month?   We would also like to use this to sell off a collection of maritime artifacts, part of our fundraising endeavors. We cannot do that from the port where we are not accessible on a walk-up basis.

For owners/brokers of vacant storefronts:  it is easier to rent a space that is in use (that's why there are so many pop-up cultural centers).   Having PortSide in a space attract a lot of visitors, blog buzz, good press, and good kharma! We always return any space cleaner than we found it.  It would be a office for 3-4 people and visiting volunteers.  If you have a space or lead on a space, please email us at portsidenewyork(at)gmail.com or call 917-414-0565. 

We are looking for a temporary office because tightened Port Authority security regs (as of 2/13) are severely blocking volunteers trying to help us at a time we really need help (see our petition here)  Our office is on the historic ship MARY A. WHALEN in a Port Authority containerport where Homeland Security TWIC cards are needed to enter.

As of 2/13, our Director Carolina Salguero is the only PortSide person who can escort guests without TWIC cards to the tanker MARY A. WHALENOther PortSide holders of TWIC cards no longer have escort priveledges (including our Shipwork Volunteer Coordinator).  

This is a new Port Authority ruleTWIC cards cost about $135, a federal background check and about 2 weeks to get, so we cannot get TWICs for all visitors or volunteers.  

So... this means that if Carolina Salguero is out of the office on PortSide business (visiting a potential pier, attending a meeting or conference) all the volunteers offering to help during our crisis have to get out of the office.  Last week, Carolina was out of the office almost four days on business.  

If Carolina is here, it means that her day is interrupted by biking back and forth six blocks to the gate to get volunteers or visitors coming for appointments.

Carolina can't leave a non-TWIC card holder alone on the boat (even though there are other TWIC card holders in the office), so if we have a guest coming after the first one, she has to take the 1st guest out with her to collect the 2nd guest, etc.  

In short, if PortSide had a publicly accessible office right now it would help HUGELY.  We don't need phone lines.  We run the office on cellphones. We need electricity to power computers and internet access.

If you have a space or lead on a space, please email us at portsidenewyork(at)gmail.com or call 917-414-0565.

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.

Summer friends return

from www.richard-seaman.com/Birds/USA/VoloBog/index.html
Returned to port 1145 tonight.

Another of the larger container ships on Pier 10, fueling barge already alongside. The port is ever busier.

Heard first croak of a night heron this calendar year.  Had it just returned from migration? I look forward to the cheerful chuffling of the swallows. They live under the pier. Clearly, they haven't read the DEC policy on shading, otherwise they would know they couldn't live there.

Fun fact: A group of herons has many collective nouns, including a "battery", "hedge", "pose", "rookery", and "scattering" of herons.