Home “Mariners’ Response to 9/11”

“Mariners’ Response to 9/11”

PortSide NewYork, a waterfront-themed non-profit organization, is mounting a multi-media exhibit and presentation about the extraordinary and little-known role that mariners played in the aftermath of  the September 11th attacks, from evacuation to rubble removal.

To bring home the point, the exhibit will be mounted on a ship docked at a pier from which Ground Zero rubble was removed.  PortSide will mount the exhibit on the former U.S. Lighthouse Tender Lilac, at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25, at North Moore Street, New York City in partnership with the non-profit Lilac Preservation Project

The exhibit will include photography and oral history by the award-winning photojournalist Carolina Salguero, who went on to found PortSide NewYork, plus contributions from vessel crews, and other institutions.

Related Talk

A related talk will be given by Carolina Salguero (www.carolinasalguero.com) and journalist Jessica DuLong (www.jessicadulong.com), author of the critically acclaimed My River Chronicles: Rediscovering the Work That Built America, and chief engineer of retired New York City Fireboat John J. Harvey (www.fireboat.org), which was called back into service to supply firefighters with Hudson River water—the only water available for days following the towers’ collapse. DuLong and her Fireboat Harvey crewmates were recognized in the Congressional Record for valor in aiding FDNY’s rescue efforts, and appear as characters in Maira Kalman’s award-winning children’s book FIREBOAT: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey.

“As a ship-based museum, our role is to educate New Yorkers about our maritime heritage, and the story of the heroic role of mariners in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks has received little attention,” said Lilac’s Museum Director, Mary Habstritt.  “We are really honored to help recognize their contributions and to share this story on board a ship, at Pier 25, which itself played a role as a shipping point for debris removal.”

Carolina Salguero, Founder & Director of PortSide NewYork said “I was really concerned that the story of the 9/11 maritime evacuation was so overlooked. That was one of the things that prompted me to found PortSide NewYork as a way to bring attention to the waterways. Doing this exhibit is a way to both commemorate what happened ten years ago and to help the city move forward with its new waterfront plan Vision 2020.  PortSide hopes, that by illuminating how those boats worked ten years ago—and the impediments they found—we can help the city better plan its future waterfront for both good days and bad.”

“It’s an honor to help share the largely untold story of the maritime community’s contribution in New York City’s hour of greatest need,” said Jessica DuLong, chief engineer Fireboat John J. Harvey and author My River Chronicles, “The spontaneous mobilization was truly remarkable, but for mariners it’s just a part of the job. Among those who work on the water the notion that panic leads to peril is as deeply ingrained as the tradition of helping those in need.”

The exhibit includes:

Photography of the maritime evacuation:

  • featuring the work of Carolina Salguero, Founder & Director of PortSide NewYork and an award-winning photojournalist. More about Salguero’s reporting from ground zero in this video
  • Photographs from Rich Naruszewicz, captain of the New York Fast Ferry “Finest” evacuating people during 9/11
  • Photographs from crew of the retired fireboat John J. Harvey www.fireboat.org which served at ground zero.
  • Photographs by Carolin
  • a Salguero of the rubble removal on Pier 25, North River and Pier 11, East River.
  • Oral history gathered by Carolina Salguero of tug crews who evacuated people and removed rubble.


  • MARAD video “Rescue at Water’s Edge” is a 10th anniversary tribute to the Merchant Mariners who sailed directly into harm’s way on September 11 and evacuated more 300,000 people by water.
  • Center for National Policy’s new video “Boatlift” the story of the armada of civilian watercraft that came together with no prior planning to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people from lower Manhattan on 9/11.  It was the largest sealift ever – even greater than at Dunkirk during World War II.
  • Video by Mike Mazzei, dockbuilder who worked at 9/11 rubble removal site on Pier 25
  • More about PortSide NewYork www.portsidenewyork.org


Sep 14 2011


7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


U.S. Lighthouse Tender Lilac
Hudson River Park’s Pier 25, New York, NY


PortSide NewYork

Other Organizers

Lilac Preservation Project
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