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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!



Upcoming Meeting #3 Valentino Park Comfort Station Issue 10/9/14 7pm PS15

see January 2018 update at bottom

THURSDAY 10/9, 7:00pm at PS 15

Next Red Hook meeting about Valentino Park Comfort Station:  Note, this is a change from the originally announced date of 10/8!

People for Red Hook Public Parks (PRHPP) set up this meeting. Here is their REVISED announcement PDF

Here is Parks Department proposed comfort station

For background, see our prior blogposts:

Report on Meeting #1:  9/4/14 Meeting with Carlos Menchaca & Parks at Red Hook library

Background info: Parks Dept. proposed comfort station & the process

Report on Meeting #2:  9/24/14 PRHPP meeting at 351 Van Brunt for community members only.

Info on upcoming meeting for Thurs 10/9 from PRHPP

People for Red Hook Public Parks and City Councilman Carlos Menchaca will be holding a community meeting on Wed. October 8th at 7pm at P.S. 15, The Daly School on Sullivan Street, between Van Brunt and Richards St. in Red Hook. The meeting is the latest in a series of meetings regarding the proposed NYC New York City Department of Parks & Recreation comfort station for Valentino Park.

The Red Hook community has expressed serious concerns about this project: cost, its size location and necessity.

At a cost of $2.5 million dollars, the cost to taxpayers for this project will be over $4000 per square foot. Construction costs for a luxury condominium in Manhattan are $500 per square foot.

The proposed location, Valentino Pier Park, is a quiet community gem, treasured by the neighborhood. The proposed building will cut the park in half and occupy a large portion of open green space.

With a change in city administration, the Red Hook community is counting on a reversal of the top--‐down management style of previous administrations. In order to protect our parks and our neighborhood, we need to bring the people who make decisions together with the people those decisions impact.

So please come to the meeting and bring a friend. We wish to avoid acrimony and work towards a positive relationship between community and administration, so bring your ideas and yourself!

January 2018 update

DOT has approved a sidewalk toilet.   Red Hook, we have been heard! Remember all those meetings about a big, expensive "comfort station" proposed for our charming waterfront park Valentino Park? That concept was defeated, and a small, sidewalk toilet is coming via the DOT. Thanks to everyone for participating in public meetings, on-line discussions with us, and other modes. Community action worked! A special shout out to Anne Griepenburgwho researched the Portland Loo which presented an alternative that appealed to many and may have swung government decision around to that kind of solution.

Toilet Party any one? It has the great acronym of TP.

We hear that there is a spring installation expected, but we are still waiting on confirmation.

Help PortSide continue this kind of community reporting 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!

PortSide interview: Don Horton's WWII memories of Red Hook, recollections of a child in the merchant marine

Brother Jack and I, Circa 1943.jpg

Yesterday, Don Horton visited PortSide NewYork to give us some oral history.  PortSide has been corresponding with Don Horton since October 2013, and the last time Don Horton visited Red Hook was 1950.  

Starting in the 1940s, through the WWII period,  he was working as a child in the merchant marine - a paid worker - so the company knew what was going on.

Yes, such a class of merchant mariner existed, and Don has dedicated his retirement years to getting their service recognized by the federal government, along with the women, elderly and disabled who worked in the wartime merchant marine. All of that being a startling case of "who knew?" 

We wrote about his dogged efforts to reveal this hidden history in a prior blogpost.

Don knows conventional military service, what it is to be a vet.

He served in the Korean War, and he believes that the hundreds of thousands of merchant mariners who served during WWII deserve our nation’s acknowledgement of their service whether they were towing supplies to the European theater or moving cargo along our eastern shore where German U-boats came in close to sink their kind of vessels.

From age 10-18, Don Horton worked on barges, along with his two brothers, his sister, and his mother, all of them joining the father of the family throughout the summer.  

One of their main jobs was hauling coal from Norfolk, Virginia up north. The two boys learned fast how to repair a steam boiler, and they painted the barge. Mama (Sadie Horton) was the cook. The sister married early in the story and got off the boats. Papa seems to have liked drink too much, and brother Billy got off the barges to get away from that and went to work on a tug. The third day on the tug, at age 17, Billy was killed when Germans shelled and sank his boat.

In comparison, Don’s memories of Red Hook are more associated with fun. A stop in New York meant good times. Don recalled a trip to 42nd Street and the treat of a hot dog.  A trip to Coney Island netted a very big hot dog.

Yesterday, Don was in town to see some Senators on behalf of his cause which you can follow on Facebook and to contribute some oral history to PortSide's WaterStories cultural tourism effort.  Here is a preliminary glimpse of some gems we got from Don today.

Carolina Salguero, John Weaver and Peter Rothenberg spent several hours interviewing Don and recording video and sound files.  Don's tack-sharp memory and vivid story telling made for a great afternoon.

We started out talking over lunch in the galley of our Mary A. Whalen with Don and his darling wife Norita.

Ralston's WWII grocery, now the site of hip Baked

After lunch, we visited the site of Ralston's, a grocery store during WWII Red Hook: fruit under an awning out front, narrow aisles and a place where they preferred you give them a list of what you wanted instead of getting it from the shelf yourself, little shopping carts with wooden wheels.  

Don said boats liked to provision at Ralston’s and explained the allure: the captain's were given free liquor in the back in a private bar which ensured they would frequent the joint and then spend grub money in the store.

Ralston’s address was 294 Van Brunt Street, now BAKED.

Don said that the soda Spur was their favorite and that he and his siblings fought over the precious bottles on the barge trip to the next port, the ice blocks from Ralston's being their only refrigeration until they got there.

Here is a 1943 ad for Spur, "a cola with a walnut taste," he remembered with a smile.

Next, we took Don Horton past two once-twin tenements, one of which is at 415 Van Brunt, to see if those were the kind of buildings that matched his "never would happen now" WWII memories of a Van Brunt Street where women on hands and knees scrubbed little porches with buckets of water, a scrub brush and a big bar of Octagon soap.

YES, those were the kinds of buildings he remembered!

Don then explained that "doing laundry" on the barge was scrubbing dungarees on the wide rail of the barge and leaving them to dry there.

Sunny's Bar

From there, over to Sunny's Bar where we were thrilled to find Sunny himself lounging in bathrobe with friends at the end of lunch.

At age 80, Sunny is but 2 years younger than Don, and they shared many memories including swimming in the filthy water of the time which both cited as having lots of turds and Coney Island whitefish as Sunny called them, or rubbers in Don’s version.

Sunny cheekily got an old load off his conscience when he confessed that he'd "borrowed' someone's rowboat at one point, and on top of that lied to his Papa saying that he had not taken it, and apologized to Don who said they'd come back from Ralston's Grocery at times to find their boat gone.

Sunny Balzano, Carolina Salguero of PortSide NewYork and Don Horton

Sunny Balzano, Carolina Salguero of PortSide NewYork and Don Horton

The rowboats always came back, Don said, but delays were a big concern; because if they missed the tide, the current would be too strong to row against it in their little boat loaded with groceries.

Sunny shared memories of how, when he heard wartime air raid siren drills and knew that the war was being fought "overseas," thought that Staten Island (which was overseas for a little Red Hook boy) was under attack.

Don Horton gave us several copies of this book.

Don Horton gave us several copies of this book.

Here is what Don told us about shelling during the interview in the galley:  When he first started on the barges and saw flashes of light when they were offshore and asked Papa what they were, Papa fibbed and didn’t say it was German’s shelling the American merchant marine, he said it was lighting.

Later on, “I knew what those lights were,” said Don, “and something I don’t often say, I wet myself with fear.” The barges were old boats, unarmored with no weapons, three miles behind the tug, he clarified.

"Barge" of the sort Don Horton and his family work, dismasted wood schooner hulls.

"Barge" of the sort Don Horton and his family work, dismasted wood schooner hulls.

We need to clarify what "barges" means here. These were the old, creaky hulls of wooden schooners,  dismasted to turn them into barges.

Don said the vessels' intended life span was some 25 years and these were 50-60 years old and so frail that after being beat up in a storm, the caulk might be battered out. Then, they'd have to go to a shipyard for repairs.

The Red Hook Flats & Erie Basin

We walked out to the end of the Beard Street Pier so Don Horton could see the Red Hook flats and the entrance to Erie Basin. This prompted more memories.

Don had emailed us some great memories of the Red Hook flats last year which paint a picture of a harbor jammed with ships, tugs, barges, row boats and the "bum boat" or "speculator" a sort of scrap dealer and rag picker afloat who went from vessel to vessel buying what he could.

Yesterday, Don described how he and his brother scavenged whatever they could, lengths of tired rope, bits of metal they found or “liberated” from cargo on the occasions they were hauling metal.

"There's the cut," Don Horton said as soon as he saw the entrance to Erie Basin.

"There's the cut," Don Horton said as soon as he saw the entrance to Erie Basin.

Standing on the end of Greg O’Connell’s Beard Street Pier enabled Don to pin point geography in a way that looking at the map while seated in our galley had not, and he explained that the dinghy dock location was around the Erie Basin side of that pier.  During WWII, tugboats were jammed into the place where the New York Water Taxi homeport dock is today.

PortSide recently acquired this page from an old magazine showing a view of the Erie Basin during the era described in this interview.

PortSide recently acquired this page from an old magazine showing a view of the Erie Basin during the era described in this interview.

Don said there were often up to 50 barges at anchor "on the Red Hook flats" as he called them, and that Erie Basin was so chock full of ships and barges that his family had to find channels underneath the bow and stern rakes of the barges to row their way through the fleet.

During the interview in the Mary A Whalen galley, Don described how his father bought a lot of whiskey when he was ashore, and his mother would dump it over the side once they got back to the barge on the Red Hook flats, to the point that she said the flats must be full of whiskey bottles. Hello, bottle collecting divers!

We were all surprised to learn that Don's mother did not know how to swim and was afraid of the water but still spent every summer working the coastwise barges with her husband and children during the war.

The whole endeavor required a lot of courage by everyone in the family, and PortSide NewYork is helping to get this aspect of history, that's national history and local history, better known. 

[This and many other stories are also told in redhookwaterstories.org PortSide NewYork's  e-museum and neighborhood website. ]

PortSide NewYork "Heavy Metal" Fundraising Sale! New Items Added!

Funds raised help PortSide continue our mission to bring life to the BLUEspace of NYC’s WATERfront and our hurricane Sandy recovery.

Sunday 7/27/14, 11am to 4pm

3 tractor trailers of marine hardware for sale! Cash (or credit card) on the bollard -- this is not an auction!

Great deco items for home, loft, restaurant.  Get your souvenir red hooks here! 4-foot tall turnbuckles! Shackles of all sizes up to multi-ton lift capacity!  Blocks (pulleys), weld-on cleats, pad eyes, wire clips, 4 large bollards. Tension testing machine.  Vintage scale and wire rope measuring device. Barrels of chain.  1,400 Unislings for bagged cargo, 90 Portabulk bags.    Jet Portable folding hydraulic 2-ton hoist.  (3) jet 1-ton trolley, (1) each of Jet 1/2-ton hoist w/20 ft, Jet 2-ton pallet puller, Jet 2-ton trolley, and more! EVERYTHING MUST GO!

Riggers, this is real working hardware of industrial scale. 

New items added!

WWII Armory gun rack
Viking 10-person liferaft (distinctive kiddy pool!)
Pilots ladder
Antique Potbelly stove
Large wood crate
2-wheel welder’s trolley
vintage hand truck for moving barrels
modern Wheel barrow
Elliptical hatch frame with bolts (industrial photo frame)
Storage:

  • HUGE steel shelves
  • steel crane basket
  • Large wood bin-shelf system painted grey
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***Inventory in Word or Excel (approximate. minus a few things we culled for our ship MARY A. WHALEN) does not include the New Items above***

Sale Location: Pier 11 loading dock, south end, Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Vehicles enter at Bowne & Imlay (follow signs for Brooklyn Cruise Terminal entrance). Pedestrians and bikes can also enter from the south at a pedestrian gate at the corner of Pioneer & Conover Streets.

Funds raised help PortSide continue our mission to bring life to the BLUEspace of NYC's WATERfront and our hurricane Sandy recovery.  As of last count, our Sandy damages run about $300,000.  We protected the MARY A. WHALEN, with our offices aboard, from the storm; but Sandy got to everything off the ship on the pier. Many historic items were damaged. Some things floated away forever.  We suffer strong indirect Sandy effects. Sandy stalled the urgent search for a home we declared in 2012, since all waterfront sites with which we were negotiating were damaged and dropped negotiations for a while or for good; and we have been unable to earn money with the ship where is it now for about three years.

For scale, in photos below, yellow tape measure is extended to 12"

New Items Added!

Trailer #3

Trailer #2

Trailer #1

Red Hook flood assessment info: our watershed, sewers, buried creeks, prior shoreline & more

Amended 11/12/14 to include the following link and background about Eymund Diegel:

For related info, see our blogpost that includes Jim McMahon's Sandy flood map of Red Hook and info on how to assess your flood risk in future storms." 

More info about Eymund Diegel:

Original post:

To further support flood prevention planning in Red Hook, we offer the following information.

The data and points of view in the following bullet points are courtesy of Eymund Diegel:

  • General imagery of the Sandy Flood impacts available here
  • Base map data showing where flood waters are likely to come from next time Blue lines show general direction of drainage flows, and in reverse, the likely path of rising flood waters. Green shows the original tidal marshes. Sandy essentially flooded anyone who built on the former tidal marshes.
  • 1844 Coastal Survey showing original sand and mud banks off Red Hook whose alteration from harbor dredging is affecting how storm surges impact Red Hook
  • The reconstruction of the historic bay bottom, in particular it's now damaged and altered offshore banks, should be studied to see how reconstructing some of these protective features may help reduce Red Hook flood damage the next time.
  • I am attaching some ideas from the excellent work being done by SCAPE landscape architects, (slide show above) exploring how we remove soil from some areas (eg Red Hook Park) to recreate a better flood holding basin, and use those soils to create surge breakers further offshore. All expensive and controversial, but we need to start this dialogue as we are only going to get more flood events, and the next one will be worse than Sandy. We got off lucky because we didn't have heavy rains.
  • I did a 2013 Sandy Flood saline impacted tree survey for the Parks Department
  • The most impacted trees (London Planes and Dawn Redwoods) were typically on "topographic sinks" where salt water sat for longer, affecting soil quality and damaging non salt tolerant trees.  These "sinks" generally correspond with the location of the historic mill ponds that were landfilled and subsided.
  • The planning recommendation I made to the City is that street grading needs to be improved to allow flood waters to recede more rapidly. This recommendation will contradict some of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenways Green Infrastructure work (eg on Columbia Street) where storm water is being diverted to pond swales and holding tanks to reduce combined sewer overflows. Both (flood management and green infrastructure sewer overflow reduction are good goals and should be supported. One compromise strategy may be sluice gates, like those used by the original millers of Red Hook to better manage tide waters.
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Built up to 1902.jpg

Brooklyn Greenway Stormwater Study for West Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn includes ideas to consider

Great strides on the galley renovation! Update on "This Old-Ship-Kitchen" project

In between bouts of snow shoveling (will it ever end?!) we have been beavering away on the galley renovation.

Carolina Salguero & Paul Amico getting ready for sanding.

Carolina Salguero & Paul Amico getting ready for sanding.

As happens with renovating old things, the project got bigger as our work uncovered hidden problems which we will then fix. Thanks to this project, the MARY A. WHALEN will be stronger as well as better looking! 

As also happens with an educational institution like PortSide, renovation has strong components of historical research and becomes a program, an opportunity to teach you the reader, our December volunteer, and even us!

If you are joining the story here, this galley project kicked off when someone got in touch out of the blue to volunteer 40+ hours a week throughout December. That hero was Erika Stetson, an Air Force vet who was going to benefit by getting a crash course in ship maintenance to better prepare her for entering SUNY Maritime College in January. 

Working with Erika had a double benefit for PortSide NewYork: it enabled us to fulfill our mission to use the MARY A. WHALEN for maritime training AND get a lot of renovation done.

According to Erika her stint with us helped her!  In early January she emailed to say “I was named the honor cadet (top cadet) in my section. I also got chosen for a program with only 18 spots. It allows me to live aboard the ship full time as well as work aboard for about 20 hours per week. This gives me the chance to get a lot more shipwork experience on my resume over the next three years, a lot more mentorship from the mates, and eliminates my housing costs.”  She feels that getting familiar with air tools and the like aboard Mary Whalen probably helped her application for the berthing.

Painting is about to start. We could use volunteers! Get in touch if you want to help.

Renovation update

Erika Stetson was a December powerhouse of paint removal with HEAVY of work on chipping hammer and needlegun. She was joined over the Christmas holidays by Steve Swift, the ex-Engineer of ERNESTINA who helped us stabilize the Sandy damage to our replacement engine parts over Christmas 2012. Thank you, Steve, two years running!

Peter Rothenberg and others followed up with grinders. All paint has come off the rudder post, the exterior of the cabinets and the steel bulkhead by the stove, the skylight area, overhead beams and other spots.

The plate rack and two shelves were removed for stripping at East End Wood Strippers (recently of Union Street in Gowanus) who are donating their labor to this project.

131221 original green (5).JPG
131228 TeapotandPaint.JPG

As paint layers came off, we are tryig to suss out the original color scheme. Amidst many layers of paint, we find a soft apple green (a 1930s hue revived by Martha Stewart) on the bulkheads wrapping around the curve of the space.  The color matches a vintage teapot (at right) donated to us by John Weaver, son-in-law of MARY A. WHALEN Captain Alf Dryland.  The cabinets under sink and counter were always white, as was the rudder post and the overhead.  The forward bulkhead near the stove went through many colors, and we find the green by the stove. It was always white underneath the skylight, with the white there helping to bounce the sunlight into the space.

After Erika, Peter Rothenberg and the CUNY crew went after the detail work

We gave ourselves a lull in dust-production between the needle gunning and the sanding.  Three of our four CUNY Service Corps students Joshua Washington, Trevor Colliton and Chris  Zoupanitiotis stepped in to handle the delicate job of stripping paint off the Monel metal and the tiles on the floor with chemical stripper. They never worked in the dust. The fourth "CUNY" Renee Fayzimatova was off during January break.

The "CUNYs" were reversing the work of someone crazy for painting back in the day – some black floor tile was painted black and much of the decorative metal was painted-- the Monel porthole surrounds, plate rack and stove hood.  Getting the paint off the bronze portholes is very hard by hand, so the plan is to remove them completely and take them to the Paint Strippers Company along with the shelves.

Needle gunning inside the cabinets exposed a weakness related to MARY’s good looks.

The sides of the MARY’s house lean slightly inward which gives her lines greater grace; but that means that if portholes are not closed perfectly tight, the water running down the outside of the ship will run right into the boat.

What that means is rust from the inside.  As someone said “these old boats rot from the inside out.” Add to that sink leaks (but not our watch!) which evaporated near the hot galley stove and condensed over by the rudder post.  The galley cabinets had no air holes, so the space became a humid terrarium with cycles of evaporation and condensation.  (We will be installing cabinet vents on the sides where they will not change the look of the space.)

As a result of 75 years of the "terrarium effect," we found wasted steel: Carolina Salguero holed the exterior steel while needle gunning (though well above the waterline!), and Erika went through some of the cabinet steel near the sink.

Thanks to the wonders of the wonders of pricey Splash Zone epoxy, metal screen and self tapping screws and Paul Amico cramming himself into the small cabinet, small patches were screwed to fill the holes, with the patches to be finished off with Marine Tex epoxy.  Corroseal or Ospho (more pricey stuff, time to donate, Dear Reader) rust converter stops the rust dead before we repaint.

At one point, Paul couldn’t back out from under the sink and had to pull himself around through most of the cabinets!  That show (below) really fascinated Chiclet who comes in to inspect whenever power tools are not running.

We also learned are that the cabinet drawers are probably not original, thanks to Paul Amico who explains,

"The existing galley drawers are fabricated from electrogalvanized sheet metal. This process was in its commercial infancy in the 1930's and wasn't truly perfected until the 1960's. It is commonly used in duct work and rarely used where it would have abrasive contact of any sort, such as where drawers rub on the rails. This contact would wear out the thin protective film of zinc which would nullify its true intention.  That, along with the fact that I haven't witnessed any other electrogalvanized metal on board, leads me to believe these are not original."

We now believe a large fan was bolted to this shelf.  Once we did some heavy sanding of this shelf, we found the outlines of two circular items which had been bolted on it over the years.

We now believe a large fan was bolted to this shelf.  Once we did some heavy sanding of this shelf, we found the outlines of two circular items which had been bolted on it over the years.

We presume the first drawers rusted out (leaks from the counter and portholes), and we're sure the current cabinet hardware is not original.  Once the cabinet paint was removed, we found the holes and marks of earlier hardware and are looking for 1930s latches that resemble the pattern of the holes. 

Conferring with the helpful folks on the tugboatinformation group of Facebook, which includes several former crew members of the MARY WHALEN or their sons, we think we have determined that one wood shelf held a large fan, and that another fan was bolted to the forward bulkhead right underneath the skylight. 

We’ll be looking for vintage fans to fit those footprints left behind in decades of paint.  We have also acquired some 1930 kitchen implements, appliances and housewares ads to give a sense of shipboard cooking at the time the MARY was launched. 

A fun and easy way to support the educational end of this project

A fun way to get involved is to buy original 1930s ads for food, appliances, housewares and kitchens on eBay for us.  Plenty of them only cost around $10!  Search "1930s kitchen"' for starters.  To give you an idea, we have ads for Brillo, Land-O-Lakes butter and a few more.  We would display the collection of ads in a binder during tours of the ship.  We have found that the galley is of great interest to people; and the fact that we have the original cast iron stove (and use it) and a wood paneled fridge and freezer, make the galley a good place for explaining food, dietary and domestic history.  We would also welcome more 1930s kitchenware and appliances, but please get in touch before you get any of those so we don't have redundancies!

Note: This blogpost lags about two weeks behind the work accomplished. Stay tuned for more!

Red Hook NY Rising CRP Resiliency Open House Sat 2/22 & Sun 2/23 11am – 6pm

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Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program
Open House
Realty Collective, 351 Van Brunt St
Sat 2/22 & Sun 2/23
11am – 6pm

Where you are going:  351 Van Brunt while it was PortSide's Sandy aid center November 2012

Where you are going:  351 Van Brunt while it was PortSide's Sandy aid center November 2012

Only a few months of planning remain in the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program and the Committee is excited to engage the Red Hook community in the critical final phase of the program. The upcoming public meeting will be an important opportunity to gather community input on the top Priority Projects that may be recommended for funding with Red Hook’s $3M CDBG-DR allocation. We encourage everyone to attend this event and have your voice heard. At this event the Red Hook Committee will share ideas that its members have heard from you to date and answer questions you may have about the program and possible resiliency projects. Details for the event are on the attached flyer and as follows:
 
Experts will be on hand to discuss specific topics on Saturday and Sunday at the following times:
12pm-1pm: Infrastructure & Coastal Resiliency
1pm-2pm: Social Resiliency & Economic Development
 
Red Hook Resiliency Innovations event Sat 2/22, 3-6pm

Guest speakers to include: HUD Rebuild by Design, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) and Architecture for Humanity, and others.

We also have a few newsworthy pieces from the past few months to share:

  • The Committee held its 11th meeting on Monday, February 10th in which we discussed benefits, feasibility, and considerations of possible priority resiliency projects.
  • Youth from the Red Hook Initiative/South Brooklyn Community High School film production program completed a video documenting the November 19th Public Engagement at the Miccio Center. This will be featured at the public meeting as well.
  • On December 18th, the Red Hook Planning Committee partnered with Good Shepherd’s Services at the Beacon Center to engage teens in the NY Rising program. At this event, teens brainstormed with planners and Committee representatives about resiliency challenges and solutions for Red Hook.
  • The Committee applauds the incredible news from Governor Cuomo’s Office of a $200M New York City & New York State combined commitment for the development of an integrated flood protection system in Red Hook. This announcement provides great momentum to our work and is proof that Red Hook can and will become a more resilient community.  

We hope to see everyone at the upcoming public event.
 
As always, thank you for your continued engagement in the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program.
 
Sincerely,
 
NY Rising Red Hook Planning Committee & Committee Co-Chairs
Gita Nandan
Ian Marvy

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nystormrecovery

Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NYStormRecovery

www.stormrecovery.ny.gov

 

Feb 2-8 2014 Red Hook resliency events including free architect advice for building owners

Red Hook "Sandy Helpdesk"  Feb 8-10, 2014 - pick a time slot on one of the three days and free resiliency, rebuilding advice from architects and building trades professionals. See page 2 of flyer

Feb 8-10, 2014 Asesora acerca de códigos de construcción zonificación y diseño en vecindarios afectados por Sandy para propietarios de edificios  mas Informacion 

Red Hook resiliency workshop Thurs 2/6/14 7pm at Hometown BBQ "to talk more generally about building innovative resiliency approaches people are developing in Red Hook."

Volunteer building trades professionals wanted in general (not just for Sandy Helpdesk). Please get involved! 

This information comes from an email from Pratt which we copy below.

Background info

Pratt Center is working with Architecture for Humanity, Enterprise, the NY chapter of the AIA, and also with City agencies and with local partners (Margert Community Development Corp. in Rockaway; Fifth Avenue Committee and Red Hook Volunteers in Red Hook) to pilot the Sandy Design Helpdesk. The Helpdesk offers free consultations with architects and other professionals to residents, business owners, and building owners on Sandy-related design, code, and zoning issues – we’re also adding other experts based on what we hear from local partners, so in Red Hook there will also be insurance and mortgage advisors available.

Obviously with a one-time consult, the volunteer architects can’t provide much more than suggested design solutions to code/zoning/insurance problems, and maybe a freehand sketch – but we’re finding that this can be pretty helpful, especially for people who aren’t eligible for major assistance like Build it Back, or who are trying to figure out their options while they wait to find out where they stand.

So the Red Hook Help Desk will be February 8-10 (a flyer is attached)– but in Red Hook, there’s been so much thinking done (about the many local and challenging problems) that we are adding a workshop that will take place before the Help Desk, to talk more generally about building innovative resiliency approaches people are developing in Red Hook. The workshop event will take place on Thursday Feb 6th, at 7pm at HomeTown

We’re also interested in adding to our volunteer pool. Volunteers get free training from NYC Department of Buildings and Department of City Planning staff on post-Sandy zoning and building code changes (and probably continuing education credits via the AIA); they are also covered by Architecture for Humanity’s liability insurance and it’s pretty-well-tested waiver. People who volunteered in Rockaway last October found it to be informative and rewarding, so if you’re willing to forward the Volunteer poster along to anyone in your professional networks, we’d much appreciate that too.

Joan Byron
Director of Policy
Pratt Center for Community Development
718-636-3468 (office)
www.prattcenter.net