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
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 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
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

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


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!

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!

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. ]

Red Hook Sandy Surge Map & How to Assess Future Flood Risk

Hurricane Sandy badly flooded Red Hook, Brooklyn in October, 2013.  One of the many terrific responses from inside the community was the map made by cartographer Jim McMahon. 

Map created by Jim McMahon. Permitted uses include educational use, emergency preparedness, resiliency planning. No commercial uses granted.

Jim McMahon works for Scholastic and lives in Red Hook.  McMahon went around Red Hook and measured the elevation above sea level at many points and recorded where there was flooding.  PortSide NewYork would like to thank him for allowing us to share this map.  It is a very useful guide for calculating the risk of Red Hook flooding in the future.  

He suggests that elevation markers be placed flood zones for future preparedness. See the DNAInfo story about why he created the map here

To calculate the risk of flooding at a location:

You need to take the height of the expected storm surge, the time it is expected, and compare that time to the tide cycle in the harbor. Places are most vulnerable at the point of high tide.  To calculate projected surge risk  at that point, you have to add the height of the incoming water to the height of the tide at that time.

There is about a 5 foot difference between high and low tide in NYC; so a 5' surge, if it comes at low tide, will not run into Red Hook.  That's why we were were spared by 2011's hurricane Irene, the surge did not hit at high tide. 

There are two high tides and two low tides each day. There is roughly six hours between high tide one and low tide, and then another six hours until the second high tide. In other words, the high tides are 12 hours apart and the low tides are 12 hours apart.  

Wind can compound the effects of rising waters in that winds from the south will push the Atlantic Ocean onto land and push the water in the Upper Bay towards Red Hook. Winds from the northeast would push the waters away from Red Hook.

Wind also has an effect on the water within the harbor in terms of creating local waves.  The big Upper Bay (between Red Hook and the Statue of Liberty and Staten Island) is a big water space which can create fetch issues if the wind is coming from west or southwest. Tide + surge + wind over water or fetch = more water hitting the shore at peak of crashing waves.  If we don't have big waves, we are at the lowest range of risk for the tide level.  Here is a definition of fetch.

An area of the water surface over which waves are generated by a wind having a constant direction and speed. Also, it is the name given to the length of the fetch area, measured in the direction of the wind from which the seas are generated. One of the ingredients for lake effect snow is the fetch of the water over which cold air can gain moisture. from http://www.weather.com/glossary/f.html

In Red Hook, there were also many underground springs, so sometimes flooding here comes from groundwater welling up and not just seawater coming in.  Add to that, the water coming from overflowing sewers, and Red Hook can have water coming in from many sides.

Due to climate change, we all need to be more aware of flooding risks, engage in emergency preparedness and resiliency planning.

Red Hook is developing a community support network to deal with disasters and emergencies. after Sandy.

Fun historical fact:  There is one spot close to the harbor which did not flood during Sandy, that is the square defined by the blocks of Dikeman, Coffey, Van Dyke Street between Conover & Ferris Street. That is where there was once a high hill near the Revolutionary War era Fort Defiance (the fort for which the local restaurant is named), a hill which was leveled to make fill. The site of that hill remains higher than the filled area near it.

You can see the hill on old maps, such as the one below.  This also shows how much of Red Hook has been filled to make the peninsula as it is today.  

PortSide NewYork creates programs that capture and explain such history; we call them WaterStories since they tell Red Hook's history along a waterfront theme.  This historical information clearly has applicability to emergency planning in addition to general education.

More on our webpage Cultural Tourism


This is from a "Ratzer map" or a map drawn by Bernard Ratzer in the 1770s. There is a story of the Ratzer map at the Brooklyn Historical Society here



English version of this is here

Querida comunidad de Red Hook,

Todos hemos estado enfocados en los efectos del huracán Sandy, ahora PortSide quisiera llamar su atención a otro asunto importante que afectará a Red Hook. Se trata del Canal de Gowanus, que define nuestra costa este y sur. 

Mediante un proceso que ha estado en marcha por aproximadamente dos años, la EPA (Agencia de Protección Ambiental) ha declarado al Canal de Gowanus como sitio Superfund (uno de los lugares más tóxicos del país). Este es un tema complejo que requiere gran consideración y, lamentablemente, mucha investigación para entenderlo. Véase un mapa interactivo de Gowanus en la página del EPA, aquí.

Infórmese y/o participe en las reuniones importantes relacionadas con el proyecto Superfund de la EPA durante el miércoles 23 y el jueves 24 de enero de 2013. (Véase mas detalles abajo)

La EPA tienes planes de dragar (eliminar) los materiales tóxicos del canal, y Red Hook ha sido identificado como una posible ubicación donde colocar el material removido, a ser remediado en una “establecimiento de almacenamiento confinado” o CDF. 

En simple español, material remediado quiere decir que el material removido o dragado ha recibido tratamiento, de manera que el nivel de toxicidad ha sido reducido considerablemente. 

La EPA y otras “entidades responsables” (empresas y entidades gubernamentales alrededor del Gowanus) invertirán cerca de medio billón de dólares en la remediación, por lo que este proceso Superfund representa una gran oportunidad para el desarrollo económico local, además de la limpieza del medio ambiente. 

Las reuniones se llevarán a cabo:

Miércoles, 23 de enero de 2013, 6:30-9:00pm: P.S. 58, Carroll Gardens
Jueves, 24 de enero de 2013, 7:00-9:00pm: PAL Miccio Center, Red Hook**
(**Traducción simultánea estará disponible**)

Los folletos de las reuniones estan disponibles en

El plan de la EPA esta disponible aquí

El periodo de comentarios para el Plan Propuesto del Canal Gowanus se cerrara el 28 de marzo de 2013. Los comentarios podran ser enviados a GowanusCanalComments.Region2@epa.gov.
Para mas informacion o consultas, puede comunicarse con
Natalie Loney
Community Involvement Coordinator
Tel 212-637-3639
Fax 212-637-4445

Puede obtener copias impresas de la documentacion e investigacion en:

Carroll Gardens Library
396 Clinton St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Joseph Miccio Community Center
110 West 9th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

EPA-Region II
Superfund Records Center
290 Broadway, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10007-1866

PortSide quiere alentar a la comunidad de Red Hook a involucrarse mas.
De las comunidades a lo largo del Canal Gowanus y la Bahia de Gowanus, Red Hook ha tenido menos participacion en este proceso. Le animamos a buscar un grupo de la comunidad local, al “Community Advisory Group”del Supetfund (CAG), cuyos miembros tienen una gran cantidad de conocimiento sobre los aspectos tecnicos y ambientales, ademas del proceso politico. El CAG esta abierto a cualquier persona y podria ser un recurso para la comunidad de Red Hook según avanza el proceso. 

Existe otro sitio Superfund en Nueva York, Newtown Creek. El grupo comunitario “Newtown Creek Alliance” esta muy comprometido con el proceso de Superfund en el area. La pagina web del Superfund CAG de Newtown Creek esta disponible aquí.


Photo by Will Van Dorp of Tugster

Spring 2013 internships at PortSide NewYork

Event planning… fundraising…community outreach… graphic design… social media… research…
Help change NYC’s waterfront!  Help us transition to a new home!  Work on a ship!
download this listing click

Join the innovative non-profit PortSide NewYork, a leader in waterfront advocacy and programming.

Our programs are a mix of maritime, preservation, forward-thinking urban planning, arts, education and community revitalization.

During the first month after hurricane Sandy, PortSide ran a pop-up Red Hook aid center, and we plan to have our cultural tourism programs support the area’s recovery from the storm.
PortSide’s offices are on a historic ship the MARY A. WHALEN, which we use as a museum, mobile cultural platform and teaching tool.  The only oil tanker cultural center in the world, the MARY A. WHALEN is on the National Register of Historic Places and is docked in the Red Hook, Brooklyn container port.  Late December, PortSide announced that our seven-year search for a site looks to be ending with a prospective home at GBX•Gowanus Bay Terminal across Columbia Street from IKEA. Map See our program video below
With the transition to a new home in 2013, PortSide will create fundraiser events, launch an on-line campaign, and engage in community outreach.  Interns will wear many hats during this exciting time.

We seek dependable, organized workers for a small and social office. Enthusiasm for PortSide’s mission, and good research and writing skills are essential.  Familiarity with Photoshop, Illustrator and/or InDesign and website/blog maintenance is highly desirable.  A knowledge of boats or waterfront issues is a decided plus, but not required.

Positions are unpaid.  Send resume and availability via email.

The ideal candidates will be able to contribute to several of the tasks outlined below.

Fundraising and program planning 

As we transition to a new home, fundraising and capacity building will be our priorities, but we will be looking to create programs that can comfortably be executed during this period of institutional growth.  Interns will help plan events and execute outreach to potential new supporters, sponsors, program partners and venues; help launch a fundraising committee; be a liaison between all participants, set up meetings and conference calls; and help put out PR blasts about events and breaking news.

Interns need to be organized and capable of tracking communication between many people over time.

Programs are likely to include regular ship tours, some cultural events, and the creation of a new guide to Red Hook in both hard copy and web versions.

Design Intern:

Our 2013 transition to a new home and related fundraising means we will produce a lot of news, flyers, brochure updates and invitations.  We seek a graphic designer to make those and to create a new version of our guide to Red Hook (PDF) which will aid Red Hook’s recovery from Sandy.  An essential project is to help transition our website to an on-line design platform such as WordPress or Squarespace with better integration of our blog and Twitter feed.

Social Media 

Intern will do pre-production work to help maintain PortSide’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter by researching some content, distributing Sandy recovery updates from the Mayor’s office, downloading and resizing photos.  We would love an intern who has advanced Twitter skills.  Intern will do some maintenance of our constituent database on Constant Contact.

Grant Research and Applications

Tasks include research sources of funding for general support for PortSide (funding for capital, program and operating costs) conservation of MARY WHALEN logbooks, and our BoatBox project; updating our extant grant list; assisting staff in completing funding applications.


As of late February 2013 this is updated as info comes in and time allows.

We would appreciate funding to support this effort and our other Sandy refief efforts. To support this, see our webpage DONATE.

Short link for this page http://bit.ly/RHSandy  (case senstive)
more about PortSide at www.portsidenewyork.org

video about Red Hook Recovery and our role see     

Deadline to apply for FEMA aid extended to 3/29/13

FEMA Spanish 
FEMA Arabic 
FEMA Chinese
FEMA Haitian
FEMA Hebrew
FEMA Korean
FEMA Russian
FEMA Tagalog
FEMA Vietnamese

FEMA “Help After Disaster Guide” in many languages at http://www.fema.gov/help-after-disaster

Services at 351 Van Brunt Our walk-in aid center has been closed.  The back room behind the partition is still available for Sandy recovery meetings; if you want it, send an emailWe continue to provide new info here and our Twitter feed at @PortSideNewYork.

PortSide's home, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN weathered hurricane Sandy with minimal damage.  Not so our neighbors ashore in Red Hook. In response, PortSide set up a Sandy recovery station at 351 Van Brunt Street. Thanks to Realty Collective for 351's space, internet, electricity. Thanks to their tenant Gallery Brooklyn for sharing the space!

IMPORTANT If your heat is still not back on due to Sandy, please see this video to avoid starting a fire if you are using space heaters.

TEXT Needs/Damages to (347)778-0570
Format TEXT as Need @ Your Location

(i.e. "Gas, Water Pump @ Van Brundt and Pioneer Brooklyn")
TEXT Needs/Damages to (347)778-0570
Format TEXT as Need @ Your Location

(i.e. "Gas, Water Pump @ Van Brundt and Pioneer Brooklyn")
TEXT Needs/Damages to (347)778-0570
Format TEXT as Need @ Your Location

(i.e. "Gas, Water Pump @ Van Brundt and Pioneer Brooklyn")

Red Hook Sandy volunteers
  • Fri Sat Sun 10am-4pm walk-in sign-up at 360 Van Brunt Street opposite the school playground.
  • Mon-Thur contact redhookvolunteers.org 718-306-9149, redhookvolunteers@gmail.com 
Educate yourself about future risk of flooding
See our blogpost with Jim McMahon's map of Red Hook Sandy flooding which shows land elevations (height above sea water) and PortSide instructions on how to calculate tide + surge to determine possible flood levels near you.

Red Hook Sandy Meetings + Workshops
Fri 3/1/13 10am-6pm NYS Department of Financial Services Mobil Command Center (MCC) will be located at 402 Van Brunt Street this Friday, March 1st from 10am – 6pm.  Flyer   Bring all relevant documents with you when you visit the MCC, such as correspondence with your insurer or bank. If you can’t visit the MCC in person, get help with insurance issues or file complaints via the NYS Disaster Relief site www.nyinsure.ny.gov or by calling the Disaster Relief Hotline at 1-800-339-1759 Mon to Fri, 8am to 8pm; Sat and Sun, 10am to 5pm.

Fri 3/1/13 Red Hook Fairway re-opens. Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Miss America are attending. No word on when or if Fine Fare supermarket opposite the NYCHA housing will re-open.
Fri 3/1/13 10am-12pm at Red Hook Initiative. Lawyers Alliance of New York Workshop and individual consultation for non-profits and faith-based organizations, in recognition of how they stepped up to serve after Sandy.  "Now it is time to mobilize in support of Red Hook's nonprofit and faith-based organizations and to examine what these organizations will need to recover from the storm and support long-term rebuilding efforts. RSVP and details here

Wed 11/14/12  5pm Community Meeting at PS 27  Minutes

Thurs 11/8/12 6:30pm architect Jim Garrison advised building owners about how to rebuild, negotiate FEMA process etc. info  We will post follow-up info 

Recovery guides
Advice on health issues caused by Sandy info

NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery highly recommended March 2013 guide to new National Flood Maps & National Flood insurance.  See pg 4

NYS Senator Velmanette Montgomery Older recovery guide

New York City Bar guide for residents and businesses 46 page guide

Start Small Think Big Start Small Think Big builds small businesses and grows financial empowerment in NYC's most underserved communities. Thanks to Sandy, PortSide is helping to bring them into Red Hook. Their guide

General Recovery info:

Deadline to apply for FEMA aid extended to 3/29/13 

FEMA en Espanol

NYC Housing Recovery office (new since Sandy) website and on Twitter @NYCHousingRecov

SIRR (NYC Special Initiative for Rebuilding + Resiliency) is a special long-term effort to plan for resilient (more storm-proof) rebuilding after Sandy. The SIRR office itself is a short-term project which works with existing city, state and federal agencies and has the deadline of creating a rebuilding and resilience report by May.  That report will shape how the federal Sandy funds coming to NYC will be allocated and will shape NYC policy about rebuilding over a longer term. SIRR asks for community input.  It is time to step up and speak up everyone!!!  As of 2/27/13 SIRR has no website up yet, so keep coming back here for info until www.nycsirr.org goes live.

Thurs 3/7/13 7:30pm SIRR meeting for Red Hook, Gowanus, and Sunset Park***  P.S. 58, 330 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 RSVP requested! Get RSVP info and more here.   

***Sit tight, Williamsburg, DUMBO and Greenpoint; your meeting will be the following week.
NYCHA rent abatement info

NYCHA Sandy Recovery Jobs Immediate temp jobs avail in NYCHA  developments. Individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy strongly encouraged to apply.  Recruitment Event, Mon 12/10/12 9am-12:30pm Red Hook PAL Miccio Community Center,110 W 9th Street, info
NYS Dept. of Labor Sandy Clean-Up Jobs Call 1-888-469-7365 or www.labor.ny.gov/sandyjobs or visit a Restoration Center (see below). You must be unemployed to be eligible. Pay is around $15/hour to work on cleaning and repair projects in declared disaster areas. info

NYLAG "NYLAG provides free civil legal services to New Yorkers who cannot afford a private attorney" Storm line 212-584-3365 info 

FEMA application advice for non-profits (via Mayor's office)
briefing sessions Fri 11/16 10am-2pm and 2pm-4pm
Mon 11/19 10am to 12pm and 2pm-4pm Info *** FEMA non-profit deadline extended to 12/31/12 apply to NYS OEM http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/recovery/  OR fax forms to 518-322-4984

NYC Rapid Repair Program Provides contractors to building owners (this spares you risk of contractor fraud**) and costs are paid directly by FEMA. If approved, you will NOT need to pay upfront for repairs and wait for reimbursement. Note Electricity must be on first.  Contractors, to sign up to work, call 311.
  1. First, you need to register with FEMA + get FEMA ID. Do that via  DisasterAssistance.gov, calling 1-800-621-3362 or go to the IKEA Red Hook restaurant to see FEMA there.
  2. Call 311 or go to NYC.gov with your FEMA ID number.
  3. You will be contacted withing 48 hours by a inspector/contractor
  4. If who want to know "when is my area scheduled?" Call 311 or Visit a Restoration Center.
  5. For other types of questions (missed appointment, question about the kind of work being done, etc): call 1 866-210-8084 
  6. If you have a question about work completed by Rapid Repairs, call  (212) 615-8366 or email: RapidRepairsCare@recovery.nyc.gov
Rapid Repairs team promises to will work closely with City agencies, including the Department  of Buildings, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to make sure that necessary inspections and certifications are done quickly.

** doing repairs on your own/suspect contractor fraud?  File complaints with Dept of Stat 800-697-1220 dos.ny.gov  http://bit.ly/11CEcKP

NYC suspending water bills until 6/1/13 for customers whose properties were severely damaged by Sandy.

NYC offering property tax relief for Sandy damaged buildings:interest-free extension on the next property tax bill for owners whose homes damaged beyond repair or need “extensive structural repairs before they can be re-inhabited." press release and analysis by Crains

National Grid is providing a $150 rebate when gas is reconnected.
Sales tax exemptions on purchases of rebuilding materials and  equipment for businesses info

Homeowner re-occupancy guidelines info
Gowanus Canal water toxicity concerns EPA sampling results

Food Stamps  
NEW Disaster Food Stamps (D-SNAP) for Sandy victims application period has closed.

Alternative housing

Airbnb free housing in other people's homes info

Short-term apartment listings 

Family to Family program sign up to provide a space or say you need one info

Wall Street Journal suggests there is available space in FEMA-paid hotels info

Replacing lost documents (SS card; ID cards, birth certificates). Scroll down two screenloads for tips from the Gov. Cuomo's office info 

Aid for Artists
Joe's Pub list of resources  
Park Avenue Armory temp space for artists info

PEN grants for writers affected by Hurricane Sandy info 

Red Hook Small Business update
Support Red Hook and shop the following stores re-opened: Brooklyn Crab, Steve's Key Lime Pie, Baked, Fort Defiance, Hope+Anchor, home/made, The Good Fork, Botta DiVino, Dry Dock (moved north to Van Brunt+Wolcott), Metal+Thread, Foxy+Winston, Erie Basin, Cute Bicycle Shop, Bait+Tackle, Ice House, Wen Gee Chinese Food. Support revival of our small retail businesses by donating to ReStore Red Hook

Tiburon closing 1/27/13 due to rent increase by landlord.

Many businesses are running their own fundraising. Links posted as we get 'em!

NYC EDC aid to businesses various forms of support info printable form here

Gallery Brooklyn, co-host with Realty Collective of PortSide's 351 Van Brunt Sandy aid center, gave 10% of the proceeds from the show up during Sandy to Red Hook recovery.

New ReStore Red Hook Fund to support Sandy recovery of the small businesses so essential to serving Red Hook, sustaining the vibe and making us a destination info  See their moving video

Brooklyn Recovery Fund, a joint effort of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Brooklyn Borough President, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce created a pooled fund to support Brooklyn non-profits working in areas most affected by Sandy. Text ‘Brooklyn’ to 25383 to donate $10 to this fund.  11/30/12 Red Hook has received a Community Collaborative Grant $100,000 grant from this fund! info
Past Fundraisers - listed so you can find and still support these causes
Sat 12/1- Sun 12/2 fundraising workshop for She-Weld art forge run by Marsha Trattner. She-Weld was featured in BRIC video about artists affected by Sandy. Try blacksmithing yourself and make holiday presents with visiting master Blacksmith Charles Cooper from San Antonio. info   

Sat 12/1, 6-12pm “Flooded Art” fundraiser, Kidd Yellin Gallery, Imlay Street, Red Hook. Buy storm damaged art to raise money for artists hurt by Sandy. info Wall Street Journal article

Sat 12/1, 6-12pm 7pm - 11 pm Fundraiser for Sunny's Bar, Hamilton Gallery Theater, 498 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (between Luquer + Nelson).  Sunny's was huge in making the new Red Hook. Back in the day, his was the only place open to the public at night (as opposed to the VFW and K of C). Open only one night a week (Friday) and operating as a private club, busloads would come in from Williamsburg to mingle with harbor workers, old-timers and the pioneers of the new Red Hook. The bar was our town hall, open for meetings of all sorts. Please help Sunny's! info

Buy a bike jersey fundraiser - Order by 12/1/12 short or long sleeved Red Hook jersey: Red Hook Criterium + race sponsor Castelli teamed up to make this fundraiser jersey. info

Tues 11/27/12 7:30-9:30pm BrooklynBased and Work It Brooklyn offer a night of food, beer, and stories about kitchen mishaps and surviving Sandy with Brooklyn chefs, followed by Work It Brooklyn's signature speed networking sessions for food professionals. Food and raffle giveaways. Raffle and ticket sales will benefit ReStore Red Hook

Wed 11/21/12 7pm Jalopy Theatre + Friends Musical Extravaganza starring Rosanne Cash plus Alex Battles and the Whisky Spitter Rebellion and screening "B6" A film by Michael Buscemi. Supports ReStore Red Hook Tickets $30 info

Wed 11/14 Literary Benefit Wed 11/14 proceeds go to RestoreRedHook.org

Mon 11/12 Brooklyn Greenway held a fundraiser where 100% of funds will be donated to Brooklyn Recovery Fund. Thank you BGI!  

ANIMAL ISSUES - Thanks to Red Hook Dog Rescue for getting us this info
  • ASPCA. The ASPCA is helping rescue stranded pets as well as giving pet food to those in need. They have a dedicated emergency pet rescue hotline and have been going door to door looking for abandoned animals.
  • Sean Casey Animal Rescue. This group has been taking in a lot of rescued and abandoned pets, especially dogs, from the shore areas of Brooklyn, which were hit particularly hard. But they also have taken in turtles, birds, cats and snakes. See moving BRIC video about them here
  • Alley Cat Allies. This group has been all over NY + NJ feeding feral cats who survived storm, including the famous outdoor cats of the Atlantic City boardwalk, most of whom miraculously survived Sandy.
  • Help with pets 347-573-1561.  Pet food is at Visitation Church. 

Past Mayor's Office Updates:
  • 11/26/12 (Mayor announces that landlords must make repairs or face enforcement proceedings)
  • 11/20/12
  • 11/18/12 (a lot info on building condemnation, green + reg tags)
  • 11/16/12

Buy a building and think of us!

Buy a building and think of us!

PortSide NewYork is one of five non-profits eligible to benefit from the Realty Collective's pledge to donate 10% of broker fees in May.

Brooklyn Brokerage Realty Collective to Sponsor ethikus “Shop Your Values Week”
May 3-10th NYC-Wide Event Connects Committed Consumers with Sustainable Business
NEW YORK – April 18, 2012 – Realty Collective announced it will be sponsoring ethikus “Shop Your Values Week,” offering sustainable-dedicated consumers the opportunity to support charity with the Brooklyn-based real estate brokerage’s pledge to donate 10% of their broker fees. Spanning New York City, the “do good” event will connect thousands of conscientious consumers with hundreds of ethical and sustainable businesses in the five boroughs from May 3rd - 10th, 2012, by offering free samples, discounts, and special events to promote a healthier, happier NYC. Participants and sustainable businesses can visit www.ShopYourValuesWeek.com for learn more to get involved.

After Realty Collective wrote about ethikus’ work on its Brooklyn lifestyle blog, ethikus checked out the brokerage’s efforts to share space, compost, hire from within and “every day commitment” to donate 10% of profits to charity, and, finding them in sync with “Shop Your Values Week” mission of engaging with the community, supporting employees, addressing environmental impact and responsible sourcing of products/services, asked RC to participate as one of the 2012 sponsors.

“Realty Collective believes strongly in building a sustainable community, within an ethical world, and we understand better than anyone how this idea extends into the real estate market. We see our business as an opportunity to help people build communities from their ideals - from placing tenants in happy homes to finding the right spaces for small businesses to flourish. Our team strives to live our beliefs and ethikus ‘Shop Your Values Week,’ is one important step to raise awareness. We hope this business style becomes the norm,” said Victoria Hagman, Founder, Realty Collective.

To show the strength of Realty Collective’s support, the brokerage will extend the time period of the charitable contribution of 10% of broker fees generated through “Shop Your Values Week” clients beyond May 3-10th, throughout the entire month of May. Clients who qualify can select which charity they wish their participation to benefit, from a pre-approved and thoroughly vetted list.
In order to participate, individuals will sign an online pledge at ShopYourValues.com to support businesses that “do good” with their everyday practices. By signing the pledge, participants agree to the following:

  1. Pledge to shop locally, ethically, & sustainably from May 3rd - 10th in NYC
  2. Search our database of participating businesses and their incentives
  3. Feel good about contributing to a NYC economy that you believe in!
Shop Your Values Week is a city-wide event created by a collaboration of local non-profits, community organizers, small business groups and business improvement districts brought together by the Silicon Alley startup ethikus, which connects people with ethical and sustainable businesses across New York City. The ultimate mission for Shop Your Values Week is to create support for ethical, local, and sustainable economies in NYC.

About Realty Collective
Brooklyn-based real estate brokerage Realty Collective, http://realtycollective.com/, was founded in 2005 by agents who believed that dedicated professionals can have a creative life outside of their residential and commercial real estate careers, and that brokers with this kind of connection to their own creativity can, in turn, better serve their clientele. Like many Brooklynites, Realty Collective's agents are sculptors, dancers, producers, photographers, musicians, filmmakers, writers, and so much more. The business strategy for major firms has for too long been that of transactional volume. At Realty Collective, the strategy is different. The RC team passionately strives to maintain a hands-on approach, and to create a successful - but personal - atmosphere, not to attempt to achieve an ever-increasing sales goal, but instead, a consistent 100% rate of satisfaction. And in fact, many of the Realty Collective clients arrive through referrals from past customers.

About ethikus
Ethikus surveys and maintains a database of local NYC establishments based on their day-to-day practices in community engagement, employee care, product sourcing and environmental mitigation. With ethikus, conscientious consumers can find and choose local businesses that share their values, from composting to energy efficiency, employee healthcare to community donations, and more. The intention of ethikus is to inspire a movement towards sustainable consumption on a large scale by removing the primary barriers to better purchasing decisions, lack of information, perceived higher prices and complacency.

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.