Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PortSide New York - Breathing Life Back Into Red Hook's Waterfront.

PortSide New York is having a "Funraiser" on July 3rd to help support their Summer "BlueSpace" programs being held on, and in conjunction with, their flagship, ex-tanker Mary A. Whalen, moored at their new summer home at Pier 11 on the historic Atlantic Basin.

Buy your tickets HERE!

PortsSide has been given a temporary permit to operate out of (what will eventually be) their permanent home at this location from July 1st to August 24th. They will be doing programs and events throughout this 55 day period, including tall ship sails (such as was done recently with "Clipper City"), ferry tours of the harbor, educational tours on the historic tug, "Cornell", youth programs, tours of the Mary Whalen, "City of Water Day" celebrations - including music, food, and and the Urban Divers EnviroMedia Mobile, there will be movies, talks, story telling, Brooklyn Greenway walks, and much more. Have a look at their entire program, HERE.

PortSide has been working over many years to create a more vibrant waterfront in Red Hook, and has had some wonderful successes with "Opera on the Tanker", and the hugely popular Dutch Flat Bottomed Boat Event. Earlier this year, they facilitated the "community sails" on the tall ship, "Clipper City", and that event may lead to the "Clipper City" operating out of the Atlantic Basin commercially this summer.

As a great advocate of more waterfront access in our neighborhood, I'm excited to see how PortSide is reinvigorating our waterfront in this way - by bringing people to it. That was also seen with the Dutch Flat Bottomed Boat event (pic at bottom, post here), where my family and I had our first chance to experience both this enriching and interesting event and the "blue space" of the Atlantic Basin that's only a few steps from where we live.

To my mind, the NYC Economic Development Corporation did a great disservice to our community when it grabbed most of Pier 11 on the historic Atlantic Basin, for what has turned out to be Phoenix Beverages recycling operations (my post here). Most of Phoenix's operations are housed in the much larger Pier 7 - that's why, despite EDC promises, the empty Phoenix (a.k.a.Long Feng) Trucks are now clanging and racing down Columbia Street. This deal was made at the expense of many of the "people friendly" elements that our residents were craving, ones that were supported by Community Board 6 and outlined in our 197a Plan, that would have balanced the uses of the Red Hook Piers and reconnected our neighborhood and its small businesses to the waterfront.

However, Carolina Salguero at PortSide, with the portion of Pier 11 and 600 foot frontage of the Atlantic Basin that will be their permanent home, is providing our community with the opportunity to get a taste of what is possible on our waterfront - how we can reconnect to it. It's our chance to get our foot in the door and to say - "We want more of this".

I hope you can get along to the Big PortSide BlueBQ Funraiser.

Here are some more details -

BBQ from 6-8:30. Guests are invited to linger later to watch the sun set over the harbor.

Food from The Good Fork, Red Hook Lobster Pound, Tom Cat Bakery and more


  • Peter Waldman, the Balloon Meister
  • Jack Putnam of South Street Seaport channelling Herman Melville
  • Live auction
  • kids wading pool, games, chalk, bubbles n balls
  • music by Smitty & more TBA

Produced by: Brooklyn Based and Brooklyn Based Kids

P.S. from Carolina at PortSide - "Atlantic Basin is open more hours than city parks even when PortSide isn't there. The vehicular gate has been open for several years from about 530am to 1130pm. PANYNJ is going to shorten the hours of that (i think making it dawn to dusk but I don't have exact hours) and will open the pedestrian gate at Pioneer and Conover for equivalent time. I don't have exact hours, but access is already there and increasing."

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