You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Brooklyn Navy Yard’ category.

First some background . . .from  Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Chapter 24 . ..  last two paragraphs:

“If I shall ever deserve any real repute in that small but high hushed world which I might not be unreasonably ambitious of; if hereafter I shall do anything upon the whole, a man might rather have done than to have left undone; if, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious MSS. in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honor and the glory to whaling; for a whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.”

New York once used a Liberty ship as a high school . . . from the late 1940s until the early 1980s, if I understand correctly.   The photo below comes credit to Seth Tane.  Read the print on the bow.

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Here’s another photo of that school.  Click on photo to see its provenance and more.

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August 2011 . . . NYC Department of Education’s Harbor School takes possession of Privateer on long term lease from NYC Department of Transportation,  Staten Island Ferry.  It’s an ex- 46′  BUSL . . .”boat utility stern loading,” and

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here’s Privateer today, after a “learn-on-the-job” transformation in which Harbor School students participated.  Click here for a six-minute video shot mostly on the vessel used in vessel training AND oyster bed restoration.

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Photos below show the Schottel drive unit being installed in Privateer after reconditioning.

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Another one of Harbor School’s boats is Indy 7.  Indy is so-named because she was one of twelve utility boats aboard CV-62 Independence, which I visited in Bremerton, Washington a few years back.  CV-62 was a Forrestal-class carrier laid down in Brooklyn, and I’m thrilled that the tradition lives on, a government boat having a second life  training local youth.

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Thanks to Capt. Aaron Singh, waterfront director at NY Harbor School for this info and these photos.  Photo below showing the Boston Whaler named Pescador comes credit of  Captain Chris Gasiorek.  Thanks, Chris.

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If you’re reading this and you’re a graduate of Harbor School OR the SS John W. Brown School, I’d love to get a comment from you, especially about the path the school put you on.

Here and here are posts in which I’ve referred to Harbor School.

Unrelated but interesting:  a floating school in Bangladesh, a school boat bus in Washington on the Salish Sea, and finally a floating school in Nigeria.

Darell T. Gilbert took this foto . . .  a hot air balloon over the water in Red Hook around the 5th of January.  WTF?!@#@!!  Anyone know the story?

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Thanks to Sam Zapadinsky . . . can you identify this creature walking on the icy upper Hudson?  Coyote?  Here’s a post from a few years ago of eagles on the mostly frozen river.

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Sam also took this foto from the tug Frances, which

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is the forwardmost tug in this foto by Bob Dahringer.    Frances and Kathleen Turecamo move crude oil tanker Afrodite into the dock in Albany, one of many water tasks that happens whether the temperatures are 0 or 100.

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And finally, Mike Abegg took this foto of Alice Oldendorff in the Brooklyn Navy yard, taking on

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fuel.  Quantico Creek and a Dann Marine boat (either Chesapeake or Discovery Coast) assist with this operation in the ice-choked area around the docks.

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Thanks much to Darell, Sam, Bob, and Mike for these fotos.

Click here for Bob Dahringer’s YouTube videos, recently with a lot of ice.

Check this video report on USCG ice-breaking in the upper Hudson as well as this one of Ellen McAllister shifting ships safely on cold days.

Now here from Harbin, China is a completely other reaction to cold weather.

Here’s a previous post with this title.

For anyone venturing upriver, no landmark is more intriguing than Pollepel Island, 50 miles north of the Battery.  But it’s changing.   Note this difference between these fotos I’ve taken over the past decade.

2003, as seen from the Channel, looking roughly east. Notice the lower wall and the upper wall with four sides, which I’ll call west, north, and east and south sides not visible.

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earlier this August 2013 as seen from Patty Nolan from the same approximate location.  Notice that the upper structure NOW has only a west-facing wall.  Unrelated to this landmark, but you can see the photographer in the mirror.

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Here’s an August 2013 closer-up, showing the upper west wall only.

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Here are the south and east walls as seen from the land looking west in spring 2007.  The east wall is now all gone, as is a large portion of the south wall . . . here bathed in the most sunlight.

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Same vantage point… south and east walls, as seen from MetroNorth train later in the spring 2008.

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And another view of the west and north walls from fall 2008.

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The island is off limits, but you can get a tour via Bannerman Castle Trust, Inc.

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I took the tour yesterday.  Here’s the south wall.  Compare what remains of the stairs here with what you could see in the 2007 and 2008 fotos.  Click here for more before/after views.

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Closer-up of those stairs.  Notice the metal tubing near lower right side of the foto?

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Here’s that metal tubing, remnants of a drawbridge.

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More of the south side.  Bannerman saw architectural cannonballs as his logo, and they are everywhere.

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Balls and balls and more balls.

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Here are closer-ups of the north and west walls.   Scaffolding will soon appear here, as attempts are made to keep these facades from crumbling as well.

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More cannonballs.

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Reportedly, these “balls” are cementaceous orbs stuck onto surplus bayonets embedded in the brick.  I can’t verify this story, but Bannermans business was Army/Navy surplus, which his father started while the family lived near the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Click here to see a six-minute video of their 1927 catalog;  if you generally click on no  links in this blog, this one is worth it.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who plans at least another Bannermans Island psot soon.

Previously I’ve alluded to growing up on a working dairy farm, and the aging farm boy in me immediately recognizes the bundles there as some quite weathered straw.  Cut the twine holding them together and there’s still some serviceable bedding in there for cows.  But what structure is this?

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Can straw and hay be a product of transshipment through the sixth boro . . . transferred by those cranes?  Don’t those cranes look like the ones in the Brooklyn Navy Yard?

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Surely this would be the largest hay barn I’ve ever seen.  What’s going on here?

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Falconia works in the livestock trade.  Click on the link in the previous sentence to see her itinerary.  Here and here are previous posts I’ve done on this enterprise.  And this particular vessel, I first saw in the Port of Wilmington back in mid-October;  whatever was happening, she entered the sixth boro over a month ago under tow, as captured here by John Watson.

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The white-red-blue flag here is the banner of the aptly-named Corral Line.   Search around that link a bit and you’ll find views of the interior of the vessels, scenes I’d love to see.

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Falconia is the saltwater version of the Amazonian livestock carriers pictured here . . . fotos 11 and 12.

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My uninformed guess is that the 1973 Norway-built  Falconia is here with propulsion issues.  Click here for what may be a fairly new foto of the vessel.

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Click here for many fotos of livestock vessels.   Meanwhile, I’ve got to get to the movie Life of Pi, which–if the book is any indication–has scenes of a ship transporting a zoo, unsuccessfully.

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All fotos here by Will Van Dorp, who still has many fotos from the Mississippi Valley.

Think of the sixth boro as a destination/origin as well as a crossroads.  WMEC-905 Spencer anchored in that point of convergence as of midday.

In points not far from Spencer and the Statue, cargo destined for/originating in this port was moving only if it could transfer in the harbor, petroleum liquid, like here, congress happened between barges powered by Pati T Moran and Sassafras as Meagan Ann passes by with a scow.  For debris?

Kimberly Turecamo stands by with Long Island itself . . . well,  a fuel barge by that name. The spirit is greatly willing to move fuel to faltering consumers on the shore, but the distribution system is broken, for now.

Nicole Leigh Reinauer awaits the green light.

St Andrews with barge on this side and Kimberly Poling on the other . . . like thirsty twins on their mother, Glory Express.

Traversing the sixth boro . . .  Marion Moran pushes LaFarge barge Adelaide to points south.

Supply boat ABC-1 passes tanker Favola.

Diane B waits with a barge.  A problem is that debris like blowaway and sunken containers may lurk unseen at the transfer docks.

Doris Moran, with another LaFarge barge, makes a power turn from the North River into the East River.

A cluster of DonJon vessels–tugs Mary Alice, Thomas D. Witte, and Brian Nicholas–attend to crane barges Columbia NY and Raritan Bay on some “unwatering” project just west of the Battery Coast Guard station.

Transiting the sixth boro from south to North is Apollo Bulker.  More fotos of her later.  She may be headed to Albany.

Ken’s Booming & Boat Service tug Durham passes the “seeing boat” Circle Line Manhattan.

Over by the Brooklyn Navy Yard, schooner Lynx heads for the Sound, past an East River ferry.

And–this just in–as of 1900 hrs tonight, APL Sardonyx became the first container ship to enter Port Elizabeth,

escorted in by McAllister Sisters and Barbara McAllister.   Interestingly, see the foto here of her as one of the first into the port post-Irene!!  Here’s another shot almost exactly two years ago of  APL Sardonyx.

And a bit later, APL Coral came in, escorted by  Elizabeth and Ellen McAllister.

Outside the Narrows waits USS Wasp, recently here five months ago for Fleet Week.   A pulse has been re-established.

I am mindful that many residents of the area are hurting.  My prayers go out for relief for them soon.  Folks who suffered through post-Katrina are also sending along their prayers and encouragement, their solidarity with Sandy-afflicted.

We went through a “reboot” here 14 months ago, but this one is going to be much tougher.

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Actually that title captures 98% of this blog’s +1800 posts.  And just as elsewhere in Gotham or anywhere else, so on the sixth boro what work you see depends entirely on your station.  And my station this particular day was Tchefuncte River’s  Equitable Equipment‘s hull # 1428, delivered in August 1966 as Red Star Towing‘s New Haven.  Now she’s Freddie K. Miller;  I took the foto below just over five years ago when she was Stapleton Service.    I use this foto here because a downside of being on the tow is my inability to get a foto OF the tow.

At 0520 hrs, dawn was sweetest and coolest, from this point a mile south of Miller’s Launch.  When I reported at 0530, the Miller’s yard was already busy.

The crew of Freddie K Miller’s had a job: pick up Weeks Crane Barge 552 and its crew and proceed to the East River ConEd.  By 0615, crew was making the tow.

0645 we were crossing west to east across the Upper Bay.  Buchanan 1 was towing a scow  and

Douglas B. Gurion headed west for passengers.  The ferry is named for a victim of September 11.

0715 . ..  near Red Hook container port, we passed this ex-MSC vessel Transatlantic.  I will post more MSC soon.

0730 . . . we had passed under the Brooklyn Bridge and now could feast on this potpourri of  Manhattan skyline.  Side by side on the right are Gehry’s flowing-facade 8 Spruce (2011) and Gilbert’s spiky-tower (1913).

0745 . . . we pass GMD Shipyard, where morning shift has already started its work on Massachusetts Maritime’s TS Kennedy  (1967).

0815 . . . the crew have tied to the ConEd dock and Weeks’ crew has begun setting the spuds, for stability as the load is transferred.  My very general understanding of this load is that ConEd purchased equipment from  Manufacturer M.  Company A trucked it to the Weeks yard because installation by land (by Company B) was less feasible than installation from water.  Miller’s job was to move equipment on crane barge to ConEd so that Weeks–with collaboration from Company B–could set equipment exactly where it will be used.

0915 . . . first equipment is lifted and rotated over the East River counterclockwise to avoid obstacles on land, and at

0920 . . .  crew guides unit into exact location.  If half an inch off, then lift and get it right.

1010 . . . next piece of equipment is moved.   While the tug stands by with the crane barge, Miller crew does fine carpentry work in wheelhouse.

Since my self-appointed job is to record details, check out Carolina IV, sailing westbound on the East river . . . hailing from Stockholm,  Yes, sailing!  and  . . . yes . . . that Stockholm while

eastbound are Gage Paul Thornton and a floatplane.

1115 . . . heavy-duty pipe elbow gets lifted into place. Tower protruding from the building just right of MetLife is Chrysler Building.

1215 . . . the spuds are up,  the crane boom lowered and secured, Freddie K Miller has spun off the dock and now heads back westbound for the Weeks yard.  If the grayish vessel in the foreground is locally known as a “honey boat,” then this has to be one of the sweetest scenes possible in these parts.

1300 . . . as we approach the Weeks yard we cross Buchanan 12 towing three stone scows, possibly headed for a quarry up the Hudson.

1330 . . . Freddy K Miller is now “light,” having left the barge at the Weeks yard.  Ever Decent is outbound for sea, and by this writing is southbound off Cape Hatteras.

Meanwhile, close to Manhattan, Asphalt Star takes on bunker fuel from a Vane barge.  That black hose . . . that’s like the hose at the pump where you fill your car tank.

By 1400, I’ve said my thanks to the crew of Freddy K Miller —who await their next job on this or another vessel–and the dispatcher, and take a break to examine a familiar sight:  Alice, she who inspired my first ever blogpost!!

Back on the bank and before heading home, I get another shot;  she’s loaded deep with her Canadian aggregates.

Imagine my delight, then, later that day getting a foto from Mike C. of Alice Oldendorff north of the Navy Yard self-unloading her cargo of crushed stone.

Many thanks to all the folks at Miller’s Launch.  Also, thank you Mike for sending along this last foto.  All other fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Some previous posts with lighthouses can be seen here,  here and here, but  more hide in the archives of this blog.

Question:  any guesses what/where this structure is?  Answer follows.

Dry Tortugas Light on Loggerhead Key–three miles from Fort Jefferson– first illuminated navigators in 1858, this month 143 years ago.

This National Park Service pdf about Loggerhead Key details its interesting history since the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty, when La Florida was transformed Spanish to United States territory.
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The first light in the Dry Tortugas-a place to stock up on turtle meat-was first lit in 1826, but according to the tour guide, that brick light tower was razed in 1877 because its location too often directed approaching vessels over reefs to their doom.

Fort Jefferson-the unfinished coastal fortress also known as the second largest masonry structure on Earth (after the Great Wall of China)–would never have been started if the US government had heeded the 1825 recommendation of US Navy Commodore David Porter (adoptive father of the future Admiral David G. Farragut!!) because of its lack of fresh water and stable bedrock for foundations.  Four years later, the US government accepted the recommendation of the next Commodore–John Rodgers–and began construction of the structure that failed in the ways Porter predicted and was obsolete before it approached completion.

By the way, Porter had an intriguing career, including being prisoner of both the Barbary pirates (1803-5)  and the British Navy (1814) but also  Captain of US naval vessels, court-martialee after his unauthorized invasion of Fajardo, commander-in-chief of the Mexican Navy (1826-29),   and US ambassador to the Barbary States and Turkey.  Imagine someone trying to do those things in that order today.

In the foto below, notice the different colored bricks.

The iron light tower  built into a wall of Fort Jefferson served from 1877 until 1912.

The bricks of different colors reflect the origin of the brick:  again . . . according to the tour guide, bricks produced in the South before the Civil War have resisted time well.  After 1861, bricks came here from Maine (!) and have fared less well in this climate.

If you imagine you see window air conditioners where guns should be, you are NOT imagining that.  National Park Service employees live inside the Fort and have added contemporary creature comforts.

Dry Tortugas is 70 miles west of Key West; only six miles out is Sand Key Light, shimmering astern of Western Union beyond the green buoy.

Key West Light–through various remodelings– has stood here since 1847.

Less than a block away is the house where Hemingway lived in the 1930s.

You might call it a “cat house” today, where the dozens of poly-toed cats have names like Picasso and Dickinson and Truman . . .

A mariner who shall remain nameless claims to have briefly sat in Hemingway’s chair and typed on his keys.  Well, be advised . . . that’s just not possible any more.

Time for a few Hemingway quotes?    “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”    And   “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

But check out this title!   I’d imagined he’d say something like “There is no way to make good pictures . . . the best way to make them is  . . . to make them.”

At least Hemingway had taste in naming his boat . . . which I hope to see some day, not easy to do because Pilar is at Finca Vigia in  Cuba.  More fotos here.  Pilar was once in Brooklyn!  Brooklyn’s Wheeler Shipyard (I believe it was in or near the Navy Yard) made out a bill of sale to the writer on April 18, 1934 for a “38-foot twin cabin Playmate cruiser” with “one [75 hp] Chrysler Crown reduction gear engine” and “4-cylinder Lycoming straight drive engine” for trolling for a grand total of $7455.  For a thread on a discussion board related to Pilar, click here.    Pilar was Hemingway’s q-boat.

My question is this:  How did Pilar get from Brooklyn to Key West?  Did someone make a delivery by water?  Ship?  Train?   And does anyone know if Valhalla, Pilar’s sistership, has been restored after its accidental sinking in 2007?

So that first building . . . here’s the rest of it as seen from Jacksonville Beach.  It’s the 1946-built Art Deco life saving station, not a lighthouse at all.  A beauty though.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Really random . . . starts with this foto thanks to Maureen Cassidy-Geiger.  More of hers to come, fotos of other waters directly accessible FROM the sixth boro of NY and NJ.  This foto of unidentified cruiser and tug was off Livorno, Italia.   Hmmmm . . . maybe we need a new government agency with initials SBNYNJ . . . another place to get permits from and provide studies for . . . hmmm   NAH!!

Here’s a closer up.  Might it be the tug  seen in this youtube?  Here’s an article about some new Robert Allan designed tugs in that port.

Next two fotos from Bill Whateley showing a tug delivering a crane barge off the island of

Spinalonga east of Iraklion, Crete.  Bill usually blogs about the South Devon coast.

Moving into the waters that ARE the sixth boro . . . Elk River and Peter F Gellatly cater to the needs of Carnival Glory at the Manhattan passenger terminal.

McKinley Sea pushes northbound along the Manhattan from the GW, and

–a foto thanks to Captain Zizes–Ross Sea eastbound towards the disused Manhattan banana piers on the East River aka tidal strait, and in roughly the same location,

Beaufort Sea yesterday headed under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and into the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and

Margaret Moran southbound last week headed southbound after assisting Universal Amsterdam with raw cane crystals for my “unprocessed”  friend “sugar,”  while

a miniscule white ball line (?) tug pushes Islip tug Barbara Ann in the Harlem River recently, and

Atlantic Salvor was tailed by a sailboat when Blue Marlin lingered in pre-load mode.

Thanks to Maureen, Bill, and Justin for some of these fotos.  All others by Will Van Dorp.  If you wish to share what you spot in exotic places–all accessible from the sixth boro because of the miracle of water–I’m happy to post.

Off topic:  last night northbound near Haverstraw Bay, I crossed path with –I believe–southbound steam yacht Cangarda.  Meeting this vessel around midnight in a wide, dark, calm part of the river almost seemed like an encounter in a dream, a pleasant hallucination.   Has anyone spotted her southbound on the Hudson this week?  If so, I’d love to put up your fotos;  grainy fotos I don’t like to use. . . . sorry.  Here’s a TV news report from last week about Cangarda.

Remember, if you’re in NYC and free tonight . . .  Working Harbor Committee is presenting movie and panel:  Women at Sea.  If I didn’t have to work, I’d be there.

I’ve posted a set of fotos about this vessel here before, but still been unable to learn anything about it.  It lies where Westchester Creek (In fact, click on the link and you’ll see another foto of the same grounded vessel!)  flows into the East River west of the Whitestone Bridge.  And not that I haven’t looked, though it’s clear that my searches have focused on the wrong places.  Uncorroborated stories are these:  it was coming from South America, the owner abandoned a plan to turn Christina or Cristina into a floating restaurant . .  possibly in Philadelphia, it was dropped off there to mark a shoal.  A search of NYTimes archives from 1920 until 1980 turns up nothing about either this grounded vessel or

this one, not far away.

When spring actually gets here and work slows down, I plan to put a human powered vessel in this area and look around more.  Thanks to Robert Apuzzo for these fotos.

But . . . as often happens, I found some interesting info on other groundings in the harbor in the past 80 years . . . yes, one happened in the East River less than two weeks ago, as of this writing.  Some of these include:

May 1927  dreadnought Colorado Diamond Reef*  (between Governors Island and southeastern tip of the  Battery)

Dec 1936  freighter Malang Roosevelt Island, then Welfare Island

Aug 1951 battleship Wisconsin (actually North River near NJ across from 79th Street)

Oct 1955 battleship Wisconsin Diamond Reef

Feb 1970  tanker Desert Princess (ex-Hoegh Grace, 664′)   Mill Rock

Dec 1972  tanker Vitta (659′)  south of Ward Island, spilling 150 tons of oil

April 1979  tanker Algol East River off 10th Street.  If you have a NYTimes subscription, you can read the article here, telling that six Moran tugs came to the assistance of Algol in sprite of the strike then happening.

Apr 28 2005, a gasoline barge struck Diamond Reef, with some spillage.  See here.

Meanwhile, if I don’t find some info on that top wreck, I’ll succumb to all the imagined histories, maybe even embroider them a bit, and call it fiction.  Not so bad, eh?

Unrelated:  Check out this site dedicated to the waterway leading from Rotterdam to the North Sea . . .Maasmond (mouth of the Maas River) Maritime.

Question:  PT 109, where is it today and what was its life span?  Answer below.

At my last count, Kingston, NY was home to four World War II PT boats.  In milder weather than today, PT 728 travels the river with passengers;  the occasion for  this foto, taken in November 2009, was the arrival in the sixth boro of USS NewYork.  PT 728 was built in Annapolis, but others were built in New Orleans and in the sixth boro’s own Bayonne, NJ.

A few days ago I stumbled onto video 1 of 3 of ELCO manufacturing in Bayonne.  Enjoy it here. More manufacturing here.   This clip shows a group of PT boats heading up the Hudson and traversing locks in the Erie and Welland Canals;  great short brief glimpses of locking and of at least one 1945 tug, passenger vessel, and commercial shipping in the Welland Canal.    Finally, here’s a brief report on a New Orleans-built PT boat restoration project.

Thanks to Ken’s comment, I went in search of info on the most famous of PT boats, the 109, associated with the president who was sworn in exactly half century ago yesterday.  PT 109 was an ELCO, launched into Newark Bay on June 20, 1942 and fitted out at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Anyone have any fotos?

Answer:  1200′ below the surface in the Solomon Islands.  Its service life was barely one year, sinking on August 2, 1943.

Foto above by Will Van Dorp, who needs to get more PT boat fotos.

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My job . . . Summer AND Fall 2014

Graves of Arthur Kill

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

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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