Our summer at PortSide! WHSAD interns on the MARY A. WHALEN

Carlos, Ashby, and Alyson during the Cunard 75th anniversary parade

Carlos, Ashby, and Alyson during the Cunard 75th anniversary parade

PortSide NewYork is very happy with the work and team spirit of the three interns from WHSAD.  We told them that, in this era of PR and social media, they should have the learning experience of creating a blogpost about their time with us.  This is that blogpost.


scraping the teak railing 

Our experiences, interests and accomplishments throughout the summer as interns aboard the Mary A. Whalen

Written by 2015 Summer interns Ashby, Carlos, and Alyson

As interns from the Williamsburg High School of Architecture & Design, working aboard the Mary A. Whalen was a great learning experience. Not only were we part of major event, but we learned a little about the history of the boat and did restoration work. 

Our experiences and projects: 

Mary A. Whalen on Parade (7/14/15):  As part of Cunard’s 175th anniversary celebrations, we participated in the small parade of historic ships that greeted the Queen Mary 2 at dawn.  Sailing aboard the Mary, we saw the Statue of Liberty and went around Governor’s Island. Then the Tugboat Cornell, who was moving us, brought us back to the pier. Finally we got on board the ship Queen Mary 2 for a reception and tour. 

Starting on our second week we worked on scraping off all the gray weathered wood of the wheelhouse’s teak railing. After that was complete, we sanded the wood until it was like a light brown and was nice and smooth. At the end of each day, we had to cover it to protect it from rain. Some of the railing pieces wouldn’t come off, but the pieces we got off we worked on in a shaded area when it was hot outside. 

After completing the wheel house’s railings, we worked on its windows; but only two were able to be finished, because we couldn’t take out the sliding glass windows from the frames.  This was all hard work, but when all the scraping and sanding was done the results were magnificent.  The work done on the railings brings life back to the wheelhouse. 

The following week we had the pleasure of having NY 1 come and visit the Mary A. Whalen and help us communicate our goals to the public. We arrived at 6 am and set up a varnish demo for the camera crew to film. We had an amazing experience because we got to see the work that goes into making news specials. 

NY1 feature in English

NY1 Noticias feature in Spanish

During our final week of our internship, we received the correct type of varnish that had to be used on the wood railings. We set the wood up on sawhorses; and with the skills we learned the previous week during the NY1 news special, we were able to put a layer of varnish on the wood. Unfortunately due to the weather and the time that was given to us, we were not able to completely finish the varnishing.