PortSide 2018 in photos! Donate to make 2019 even better!

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Want to create the kind of satisfaction expressed in the comments below? If yes, make an end-of-year or recurring donation here.

  • “All children in New York City should have this experience”- Bed Sty librarian here on a 3rd grade field trip

  • “this training center is essential to us; it’s our only one in Brooklyn” – Local 806 training supervisor

  • “Wow. I’ve never been on a boat before.”

From Red Hook residents:

  • “this is an oasis.”

  • “We love PortSide! Important part of our community for sure”

  • “in the community for ages… doing worthy work on continuing to maintain the character of Red Hook.”

  • “Portside is a maritime treasure! I'm so happy that it found a home in my neighborhood of Red Hook. As a third generation resident I so appreciate the charm and education it has to offer. It teaches us about the past, the present, and the future regarding our relationship with the water as well as the history of our very special neighborhood. It also teaches those that visit or volunteer there what it means to be resilient and have a sense of community. I love you, Portside!”

PortSide broadens horizons for youth and adults. We show them maritime NYC, a part of their city that few people know. We help ready youth and adults for work. We show people how to learn from their harbor, NYC’s largest open space, a place to work, relax, use the city’s new ferry network. We provide lots of “first time ever” experiences AND serve repeat visitors and old salts.

Please make a year-end donation to enable PortSide to serve Red Hook and visitors in 2019. Your support will also help us expand from our historic ship MARY A. WHALEN into the adjoining warehouse as in the image below.

Conceptual rendering by ae superlab for part of the space alongside our ship, part of our business plan to expand ashore.

Conceptual rendering by ae superlab for part of the space alongside our ship, part of our business plan to expand ashore.

We are a community-based organization home-grown in Red Hook, Brooklyn. We connect New Yorkers of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds to the harbor, with a special focus on connecting disadvantaged New Yorkers, those who are not normally involved in the waterfront, and our neighbors in Red Hook.

Check out the photos below!

Highlights of 2018 at PortSide

Over 5,000 visitors came to PortSide this past year, and many more visited our growing e-museum Red Hook WaterStories.

Jenny Kane recording an oral history for Red Hook WaterStories at our local library.

Jenny Kane recording an oral history for Red Hook WaterStories at our local library.

We started a deep relationship with PS 676, the “Red Hook Neighborhood School” most of whose students live in public housing.

We provided educational experiences for a diverse array of students, from local elementary schools to international Fulbright Scholars. Many student visitors (and also many adults) get their first experience of being on a boat or seeing marine life thanks to PortSide.

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We launched an African American Maritime Heritage program to un-erase this significant part of American history and maritime history. We created 1st annual African American Maritime Heritage history challenge and hosted two visits by the ship AMISTAD.

1st annual Puerto Rican Red Hook WaterStories event to highlight that the Plymouth Rock for Puerto Ricans in NYC is Red Hook because the ships docked here.

1st annual day for Red Hook NYCHA residents below

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1st Annual MARY Art inspiration day below

We offered tours of our ship MARY A. WHALEN

We grew daytime TankerTime, adding the super-popular ArtTable, the TankerTots toy area, a kiddie pool and more books. Evening Second Sundays TankerTime expanded too. TankerTime is now established as the unofficial after-party of the East Coast Balkan Music & Dance Workshop; 15 of their musicians came to perform after the camp with Balkan circle dancing on deck. Creative whiz Nicolas Anderson introduced Maritime Jeopardy. We had our first wedding aboard!

We made great strides restoring our ship, the MARY A. WHALEN. She has a long Red Hook pedigree and is on the National Register of Historic Places. This work was accomplished in part by a union job training program, a partnership with Local 806 of District Council 9 (DC9) which uses our ship as a training site.

Our spirited crew, with Richard Evans shouldering the most, accomplished a lot with the help of volunteers and interns. What got done: painting, painting, painting! A lot of that inside (fidley and companionways), 4 skylights and 16 portlights removed for restoration at the DC9 training center, plus a lot of exterior painting, steel repairs and more. Special thanks to Matt Perricone of Lehigh Maritime and Pat Geiger for steel repairs!

And we documented and helped local wildlife! Check our critters inventory in Red Hook WaterStories here.


Our biggest celebrity visitor this year was Zayn Malik, though we have a resident celebrity in our ship cat Chiclet.

Please #GetOnBoard and donate! Thanks for your support!