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A big smile covers my face now.  Call me Jane (or Call me, Jane.)  Address me as “sixth borough president and historian” if you like;  I don’t cost taxpayers anything.

Three weeks ago just before I headed for work, an email popped onto my screen from Alexis Mainland.  She explained she does a NYTimes column called “New York Online” and wanted to profile “Tugster.”   The 30-minute telephone interview lasted for a fun hour, and Alexis Mainland’s good questions yielded a fine article here (already online and in the Metropolitan section of 2/20/2011 Sunday’s paper) .  If you read it online and wish to leave a comment on the Times site, please do so.

Since the article mentions some of my “offices,”  I pasted in this map; click on it anywhere to make it interactive.  You can follow Richmond Terrace starting westward  from the northeast corner of Staten Island, a locality called St. George.  The dotted lines in the water leading to St. George reflect the Staten Island Ferry route to Manhattan’s Whitehall.  Richmond Terrace offers great views of the Kill Van Kull, the curvy strip of water separating Staten Island from Bayonne, NJ.  If you follow Richmond Terrace to the west, past the Bayonne Bridge and Shooter’s Island, you see a strip of green on the Elizabethport, NJ side called Arthur Kill Park, another of my “offices.”

Seriously, the article gets it and takes the “sixth boro”  seriously, and I’m grateful for that.  I think it’s important that we be cognizant of  the seminal value of the harbor and its pivotal role in this becoming a metro area of 20 million people.  Out of 192 countries on the face of the earth today, 135 have a smaller population than metro NYC!

Last summer thanks to a passage to Philadelphia I made on Gazela, I finally read Harvey Oxenhorn’s Tuning the Rig.  Gazela fotos here and here (scroll thru).  Here’s a favorite section of the book, in which Oxenhorn describes an encounter with a Greenland family in Nuuk (Gothab), and he locks eyes with a young woman standing with her daughter and husband:

“When those eyes met mine, she realized I was staring at her.  She stared back and then began to laugh.  That got me laughing too.  My presence was a bit preposterous.  But not unwelcome; they had joy to spare.  Soon everyone picked up on the joke and joined in.  They laughed at me looking;  I laughed at their laughing while watching me laugh.  I laughed.  They laughed.  We laughed together until the reasons for the laughing were forgotten and the only thing that mattered was the pure free pleasure of it all.”

Doing this blog and getting your comments and support gives me that “pure free pleasure.”  And if you learn something from the blog, great because I learn several things every day from it as well.  And if you wish to  disagree with or add to anything I write, send a comment or a private email.  And I love it when you send along fotos or suggestions about posts.  Huzzah the NYTimes.  Huzzah the sixth boro!

I last used this title over three years ago, and every day  since then, fuel has flowed through the harbor, as blood through healthy veins.  And it will keep on doing so by an impossibly wide array of vessels.  Below, yesterday afternoon the 1934-launched ship Kristin Poling pushes over 21,000 barrels of oil in the direction of the 1931-opened Bayonne Bridge.   Kristin‘s destination COULD lead it through the ice-choked waters up the Hudson, captured here less than a month back by Paul Strubeck.  Part of what the foto below says to me is the immense care and maintenance in keeping both these harbor icons in use.

Lucy Reinauer pushes the 2008-launched RTC 83 southbound on the Arthur Kill.  Lucy was launched from Jakobson’s in Oyster Bay in 1973 and since then has borne all the following names: Texaco Diesel Chief, Star Diesel Chief, Morania No 5, May McGuirl. I’d love to see a foto of her when first launched.

Lois Ann L. Moran (2009) pushes barge  Philadelphia out toward the Newark Bay portion of the sixth boro.  The destination of the fuel beyond that I can only guess at.

As an indication of changes in scale over the decades, load capacity of barge Philadelphia is 118,000 barrels, relative to Kristin Poling‘s  . . .21,000 and a bit.

Fuels moved through the harbor have a range of users:  Vane’s Doubleskin 301 moves in to fuel container vessel NYK Delphinus even before containers start moving off the ship.

Maneuvering 301 is not a Vane tug but Dann Marine’s East Coast.

All fotos in the past 48 hours by Will Van Dorp, who is convinced that millions of dollars will go to whomever figures out how to move food and retail goods through the sixth boro to the consumer as efficiently as all our fuels already are.  All fotos were taken from Arthur Kill Park in Elizabeth, NJ.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

My Parrotlect Flickrstream

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More Photos

Seth Tane American Painting

My other blogs

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Henry's Obsession

My imaginings and bowsprite's renderings of Henry Hudson's trip through the harbor 400 years ago.

Tale of Two Marlins

Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.

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