Norwegian Red Hook WaterStories, a night of Bluegrass music - and history

PortSide NewYork presents
Norwegian Red Hook WaterStories
A night of bluegrass music and history

Thursday, 9/24/15, 7:00-10:30pm, $15, at Atelier Roquette, 63 Commerce Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Cash bar with beer, wine and imported sodas. BYO food or order in from great local venues. Menus will be on hand.

Buy tickets on Eventbrite here

Come nestle in a sofa or dance into the night with great bluegrass music during the NYC premiere of the band Paradise Mountain Boys from Norway - and get yourself a NY WaterStory!

Produced by PortSide NewYork as part of our ongoing Red Hook WaterStories.  You will be surrounded by projections of vintage film and photos on the brick walls as you soak up the maritime history of Norwegians in Red Hook. Norwegians were one of the major immigrant groups in Brooklyn from the late 19th to early 20th century. They were a major presence on NYC's working waterfront and on historic ship, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN.  They were first concentrated in Red Hook, Brooklyn.


This is the NYC premier of the Paradise Mountain Boys! The band plays the traditional way with all the band members around one microphone. Their six-piece acoustic outfit of mandolin, dobro, banjo, guitar and upright bass has its roots firmly planted in down-home acoustic music found in the Appalachian mountains. Traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel, with beautiful harmony singing is their thing.  

Event Schedule

The evening kicks off with speakers covering various aspects of the Norwegian New Yorker experience, then the NYC premier of the Paradise Mountain Boys, a bluegrass band from Norway! Contribute your own WaterStory at our StoryStation. Peruse paper and digital Norwegian New Yorker history at our ReadingTable.  

7:00-7:45pm 3 short history talks with slides
8:00-9:45pm  bluegrass music by Paradise Mountain Boys from Norway
9:45-10:30pm time to talk to the historians and band, read history at our ReadingTable, get interviewed at our WaterStories StoryStation, sign up to be interviewed in the future.

History program

  • Historical overview by Lars Nilsen, Co-Chair of the Norwegian Immigrant Association
  • Victor Samuelsen will talk about the first people to row across the Atlantic, two Norwegians George Harbo & Frank Samuelsen who did that in an open boat - in 1896!
  • PortSide NewYork board member John Weaver will talk about his father in law Alf Dyrland who left Norway as a cabin boy at age 13 and was captain of our ship MARY A. WHALEN from 1958 to 1978, one of many Norwegians to work on the MARY and for the two companies for which the MARY worked most of her years, Ira S. Bushey & Sons in Red Hook and Ekloff in Staten Island.
  • The 1931 silent film “Glimpses of Old New York” playing on the walls is by Engineer Michael Leirvik, shot to show Norwegians how their emigrants brethren lived in NYC and especially Brooklyn, courtesy of Norsk Film Institut, Oslo, with the permission of the Leirvik Family.
First Norwegian seaman's church in Red Hook, now Chico Macmurtie's studio

First Norwegian seaman's church in Red Hook, now Chico Macmurtie's studio

Event Partners

Norwegian Immigrant Association and Norwegian Seaman’s Church and Norsk Film Institut, Oslo 


Profuse thanks to the Paradise Mountain Boys for donating this concert.  This is another “Artists for PortSide” event where artists donate their work to PortSide NewYork.

Thanks for funding support from Councilman Carlos Menchaca  and for tech support from Hughes Media Group and Pioneer Works and venue Atelier Roquette.

The Venue  

The venue Atelier Roquette was generously donated by the dynamic duo Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson, the force behind three businesses, Atelier Roquette, home/made and Roquette Catering whose flair has converted a former forge, ice cream warehouse and espresso machine repair shop into Atelier Roquette, a cozy, airy nest for brunch, weddings and community events. The esthetic here is an exquisite balancing of flowers and rust, linen and stainless with notes of rustic wood with an eclectic mix of chairs, tables and lounge spaces. Check out the interior courtyard with blooming oranges and roses!   

Proceeds and donations from the evening support future Red Hook WaterStories programs.

Red Hook WaterStories

This event is part of PortSide NewYork’s ongoing Red Hook WaterStories project which tells the history of the Red Hook peninsula along a water theme, including early Dutch tidal mills, shipyards and ports, nature, real estate development, squatters, illness, crime, harbor connections to unexpected things, and contemporary maritime activities ashore and visible from our shore.  It tells of Red Hook’s greatness: when the port of Brooklyn was a place of international importance, and the best in the region from the mid-1800’s until the mid 1900’s, its heart was in Red Hook.  From this content, PortSide makes school programs, public programs, digital and paper Red Hook maps and guides, and the research also informs our advocacy and neighborhood promotion work.

Help us keep up the momentum!

To support PortSide NewYork programs and to get involved with our efforts, please donate, volunteer, attend our October 27 fundaiser at Hometown BarBQue, and/or see  for how to contact us.