On the 7th anniversary of hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2019, PortSide NewYork unveiled a Sandy High Water Mark sign at the pedestrian entrance to Atlantic Basin/NYC Ferry/Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
PortSide’s role in the creation of the Sandy High Water Mark FEMA/OEM program
Creating Sandy high water mark signs was a PortSide proposal at the White House event where we received our Champions of Change award for Sandy work. The structure of the award event was to put all the honorees on a panel and pepper us with questions to harvest ideas. The senior Federal Disaster Recovery team sought a follow-up with PortSide and come to meet us for many hours aboard the MARY WHALEN. According to Ken Curtin, the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator FEMA for Sandy in NY (see his video below), PortSide was the first to propose such a sign program. FEMA executed the idea and created the Sandy High Water Mark program, and NYC Emergency Management is now involved in the program.
PortSide also unveiled a banner with a map of Red Hook Sandy flooding made by a local cartographer Jim McMahon. See a copy in our e-museum here.
Press Release Unveiling of Atlantic Basin Sandy High Water Mark sign Red Hook Sandy Flood Map:
Tues 10/29, 3:15-3:45pm
Unveiling of Atlantic Basin Sandy High Water Mark sign Red Hook Sandy Flood Map
Pedestrian gate to Atlantic Basin/NYC Ferry/Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
West end of Pioneer Street at Conover Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY 11231
>Followed by 4pm Barnacle Parade which musters at Pioneer and Van Brunt, one block away.
On the 7th anniversary of hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2019, the nonprofit PortSide NewYork will unveil a Sandy High Water Mark sign at the pedestrian entrance to Atlantic Basin/NYC Ferry/Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook, Brooklyn. This sign is an official program of FEMA and NYC Emergency Management. Sandy’s surge was 5.75 feet high at this location.
PortSide will also unveil a banner with a map of Red Hook Sandy flooding made by a local cartographer Jim McMahon. See a copy in our e-museum at https://redhookwaterstories.org/items/show/919.
Immediately after the unveiling, joins us in Red Hook’s Barnacle Parade that kicks off at 4:00pm half a block up Pioneer Street and proceeds to pass the new signs. This parade is the way Red Hook memorializes Sandy since 2013 on the “Sandyversary” of 10/29.
Carolina Salguero, Founder and Executive Director of PortSide says “After riding out hurricane Sandy on our ship to protect her from the storm, I and our Historian/Curator Peter Rothenberg came ashore to Red Hook. I was heartbroken to find the condition of our community. I told the PortSide crew that we’re going to try and help. Our first move was to set up a pop-up aid station at Realty Collective which we ran the month of October. PortSide has worked since that time, in many ways, to help Red Hook recover and become more resilient and to help foster resiliency for New York as a whole. Understanding the potential of our waterways is the crux of PortSide’s mission, and Sandy amplified our mission to include understanding marine weather and the destructive potential of water. This year, PortSide’s resiliency work includes the installation of this Sandy High Water Mark sign, and next to it, the Red Hook Sandy flood map created by Jim McMahon that shows where Sandy flooded Red Hook and land elevation around our beloved but vulnerable peninsula. I hope that these signs will help educate students and adults and help them prepare for future floods.”
The unveiling of these signs sign is another phase in PortSide’s recovery and resiliency planning work since hurricane Sandy. PortSide received a “Champions of Change” award from the Obama White House for Sandy prevention work (protection the MARY A. WHALEN) and Sandy recovery work for Red Hook.
The New York State Senate also honored PortSide for their Sandy recovery work.
PortSide founder Carolina Salguero was appointed by the Governor’s office to the NY Rising committee (the precursor to Resilient Red Hook) that created a resiliency plan for Red Hook. For further information about Sandy and resiliency planning, visit PortSide’s e-museum Red Hook WaterStories (RHWS) www.redhookwaterstories.org
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY):
“Today, seven years to the day Superstorm Sandy hit, we remember the damage our entire community endured and how we came together to help one another. This high-water mark sign sends a message that we must all continue to build community resiliency and fight climate change. I would also like to recognize PortSide NewYork’s role in Sandy recovery for which it received the White House ‘Champions of Change’ award in 2013. PortSide dreamed up a project like High Water Mark Initiative which FEMA created and NYC Emergency Management has been implementing here and around the city. This program helps alert residents and visitors alike to the dangers of storm surge and the need to be ready with a plan for the next storm. For my part, I will keep working with officials at all levels of government to promote Red Hook and our City’s resiliency and sustainability.”
New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery says, "The Barnacle Parade represents the strength of Red Hook in the wake of super storm Sandy and serves as a reminder to all of us how climate change impacts our communities more and more each year. I am proud to represent Red Hook residents and organizations like PortSide New York who took this as a call to action and have been working tirelessly to build a more resilient community."
Councilman Carlos Menchaca says, "Red Hook’s water mark sign is a reminder of our community's resilience and how much more is needed to prepare for the next storm. The symbolic gesture must force us all to take seriously the urgency of this moment, and to do everything in our power to protect our most vulnerable neighbors from the worst effects of climate change. Thankfully, we have organizations like PortSide New York to keep us laser focused on this threat while celebrating what we've accomplished."
NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell: “This High Water Mark sign is a reminder of the life-threatening risks associated with storm surge. It also highlights the strength of the Red Hook community, and serves to educate individuals about the importance of preparing for a coastal storm,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell. “Through this and other initiatives, we remain dedicated to working closely with community leaders to build a culture of preparedness through stronger, more resilient neighborhoods.”
Ken Curtin, formerly of FEMA says “I was the FEMA Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Sandy in NY. We came to meet the PortSide team in Red Hook since we were impressed with the recovery and resiliency ideas that they shared at the White House ceremony where they won a Sandy recovery award. Their ideas were practical, actionable and common sense, except that common sense is not so common any more. PortSide proposed that signs be installed to mark Sandy flood levels to help communities prepare for future floods. I’m glad that this program was implemented by FEMA and then adopted by NYC Emergency Management.”
Gita Nandan, co-chair of Resilient Red Hook says, “We are thrilled about the installation of the high water mark sign. Having a physical marker in remembrance of Super Storm Sandy helps keep the memory alive of this turning point in Red Hook. As a waterfront community, Red Hook is on the forefront of climate change, and this will help keep us activated to ensure we build a resilient community for future generations.” Resilient Red Hook is made up of concerned residents working together to steer the future of Red Hook. More at https://www.resilientredhook.org/
Michael Racioppo, District Manager, Brooklyn Community Board 6 says, “The high water mark high of Superstorm Sandy is something that should remind us throughout the year, not just during Halloween week, how scary the impact of climate change is. Reminding us to be vigilant in order to maintain great waterfront, and great waterfront neighborhoods, is the continuation of the work PortSide does.”
About PortSide NewYork www.portsidenewyork.org & www.redhookwaterstories.org
PortSide is a living lab for better urban waterways. PortSide connects New Yorkers to the benefits of our waterways and ports. PortSide produces WaterStories programs on and off the historic ship MARY A. WHALEN in education, culture, resiliency and job training.