Open Access

Historic Ship Mary A. Whalen

Red Hook, Brooklyn

historic ship
Credit: Emma Stoll

Sun, October 23rd, 2022

12:00pm — 5:00pm

The MARY A. WHALEN, last-of-her-kind coastal oil tanker, is home to the nonprofit PortSide NewYork, and is the only oil tanker in the world repurposed for public education and culture. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the MARY was built for the Red Hook, Brooklyn-based company Ira S. Bushey & Sons in 1938.

Hear about the techniques used to build the MARY and her uniquely surviving on-board communications system, her key role in setting maritime law, and how her varied work life reflects the history of fuel consumption in the U.S. Visitors can tour the full interior of the ship from wheelhouse to engine room and learn about the ongoing restoration projects.

PortSide NewYork works to connect New Yorkers to the potential of our waterfront, with a special focus on equity and inclusion. Their work includes economic, community, and workforce development, education, and environmental resiliency. The PortSide crew earned a White House award in 2013 for its recovery work following Hurricane Sandy: they rode out the hurricane on the ship, and then brought their office equipment ashore to run an aid station in the hard-hit Red Hook neighborhood.

Closed-toe, rubber-sold shoes are strongly recommended, as the ship’s deck can be slippery and some interior surfaces are metal grating. It is possible, although difficult, for people using walkers or wheelchairs to cross the gangway to the deck, but accessing the interior requires the use of stairs. The available restrooms are portasans.

Additional information about visiting the Mary A. Whalen can be found at

This experience is offered during OHNY Weekend as a part of Sandy + 10, a series exploring projects fostering recovery and resilience in the 10-year wake of Hurricane Sandy. Nearly $18 billion in federal funds have been invested in New York City's resilience, and this series aims to engage the public in what has been accomplished and where future investment is needed. Sandy + 10 is presented in partnership with Columbia University’s Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes.

It is also part of the "Building Capital: Value of Place" series showcasing places that play a vital role fostering community connections and local culture, telling the story of how the space was designed, built, and financed, how it’s being used, and how they contribute to the financial security and well-being of residents. Building Capital is the latest installment of OHNY’s Urban Systems program and is presented in partnership with Bloomberg Connects


Mary A. Whalen, Pier 11, Atlantic Basin
Brooklyn, NY 11231