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Click here for my serendipitous fotos of WLV-612 under way a few months back. I traded those fotos for a tour. But the vessel immediately below is not 612 . . . it’s LV-87, 43 years older than the 612. Check out the riveted hull. Here and here are some previous posts on that Ambrose showing vintage in situ views and high and dry ones at Caddell’s last spring.
In comparison, here’s the bow of the 1950 Nantucket aka WLV-612.
The C covers a hatch which when swung outward is marked with a U so that from a distance, one would still read the name on side as Nantucket. I’m not kidding.
This is what a welded lightship stern looks like. But where is Nan, with whom I had the appointment to view the vessel?
A cellphone call brings movement to a forward portlight, and with the right password,
this hatch swung open. ”No, I’m not selling anything or giving away religion . . . I just being tugster. A tour maybe?”
Spirals still lead between decks, although I’m guessing that everything about this vessel has been redone to yacht standards. For the official site fotos of what’s below decks, click here. There are many more fotos on this listing . . for less than $7 m it can be yours. It will probably leave the sixth boro before the end of this month.
Prominently framed below, the builder’s plate. But how did WAL become WLV? Addendum #2 Here’s the answer.
This vessel was the USCG last working lightship until 1983, and it did “other tasks” until being decommissioned in March 1985.
For a PDF on many US lightships, click here. Two of them are abandoned on a riverbank in Suriname. For some haunting fotos of a similar 1910 Dutch lightship (Lichtschip Suriname-Rivier) along that same river, click here. It seems there is a restoration project underway, as filmed here in the past month . . . but in Dutch. Basically, the narrator says “don’t fall through the deck, vessel came here in 1911, here’s the washroom, the kitchen, the anchor machinery, the light tower . . . here’s the companionway heading below, yes . . . there’s water down there but we’re hoping to get her dry.” Come back when the job is done; meanwhile I am NOT going down below where some nasty critters might have settled in.
All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.
Sometimes serendipity smiles on me. Like yesterday. I’d left quite early for an event and saw this red dot on the horizon. If I hadn’t seen the vessel before, I might have thought it a phantasm. But four-plus years ago, I’d even gotten a tour of WLV-612 . . . a vessel so exquisite inside now you have to take your shoes off, not for security but just because the floors . . . are gorgeous.
This is the Norton Point Light . . . technically the Coney Island Light at Norton Point. Vessel in the distance is Rotterdam Express.
Not a rock and a hard place . . . but a bridge and a parachute jump . . . .
As if on someone’s invisible cue, the sun broke through overcast sky for about 30 seconds just
before she passed under the VZ Bridge and
crossed paths with Mediterranean Sea heading out to pick up a barge.
To repeat myself . . . if I hadn’t known Nantucket was spending winter in the sixth boro doing events, I might have questioned my perception or sanity, but
knowing that she’s around still did not diminish
the sheer joy I felt seeing her. My afternoon definitely picked up after this. Is that Pati R. Moran?
All fotos by Will Van Dorp. And truth be told, seeing this reminded me of a song I loved as a youth growing up in what today would be called an fundamentalist immigrant place. Tennesee Ernie Ford version and church version.
January 1912, a mere 1202 months ago. Ambrose at work with White Star Olympic passing in background. Olympic at this time was less than a year on the job and already suffered one collision. Four months later, of course, her younger sister ship would begin its ill-fated maiden voyage to New York.
I recall seeing this foto before I moved to New York and imagined that “channel 87″ was the means to contact the vessel. Oh well . . . live and learn, eh?
March 2012. Ambrose in her 46th year post-decommissioning after having served the USCG (and precursors) 59 years. Photo by Birk Thomas. In lower right hand corner, that’s Atlantic Salt’s Richmond Terrace mountain.
St. Peter’s neo-Romanesque sanctuary has dominated the east end of the KVK for over a century.
Structure just forward of Ambrose here is Sono’s “postcards,” a 9/11 memorial.
Many thanks to Birk for these fotos.
The first 11 fotos here come compliments of bowsprite, who was so eager to get fotos of Ambrose‘ return that she admits to running out to the East River to get these shots … in her pyjamas …! Now THAT would have been a sight to see. As evidenced by her posts here and here, she IS a devotee of lightships.
I leave most of the narrative here to her fotos, which begin here are a parade processed past the heliport along the East River.
traveling on the hip of Charles D. McAllister, whom I foto’d from seagull perspective recently.
Et voila! Guess who’s back in town . . . Ms. O, Alice . . . my first love!
The final foto above comes thanks to Mike Cohen . . . who snapped it from Brooklyn Heights.
So here’s a matter to speculate about: Ambrose‘ return attracted some of the mainstream media. Is it possible that these media are starting to pay more attention to folks’ attention paid to water and harbor and sixth boro events?
A year ago I was pessimistic and wrote a bleak post and made this offer. I have now officially passed some benjamins. Last Saturday I went back to the South Street Seaport Museum and the new life excited me. First, there’s this new blog, which I hope continues. My friend John Watson, volunteer at the museum for decades and frequent contributor on tugster, has been responsible for many of the fotos.
Then, of course, volunteer spirit at SSSM has been irrepressible. On Saturday February 18, over two dozen volunteers doing winter maintenance worked on or in four of the vessels at least. A year of idleness has allowed rust to invade everywhere, rust that needs to be busted.
Hammers, chains, power grinders . . . whatever would combine with sweat to prep for rust inhibitor and ultimately new paint was pressed into service. I even set down my camera a few hours and assaulted some areas of rust, just because I enjoyed it.
It’s no simple cliche that rust never sleeps, and big projects like Wavertree require huge infusions of cash and effort to hold off the ravages of time. But the spirit of volunteerism is also indispensible.This googlemap view shows where all the current museum vessels used to park. Can you name them all? Some may still go to better places.
Ambrose and Lettie G. Howard often docked in the open space here; they are off-site for repair and refurbishing before they return.What really impressed me was inside Schermerhorn Row. Floor 3 has “Super Models,” ship replicas from the collection, smartly displayed.
On the way back down, stop again on Floor 3 for a set of Edward Burtynsky‘s stunning fotos of shipbreaking in Bangladesh.
But don’t take my word for any of this. There’s more than I describe here. And more to come . . . like the re-opening of some form of research library . . . . Become a member. Come and visit. Stop by and bust rust. The barge name here describes what’s happening at the Museum.
I’d planned something different for today, but then my inbox started to fill. And it makes me happy to feel a community building here. So . . . thanks all for reading and sending fotos and links. I wanted to go out taking fotos, but a pile of tasks told me to stay home.
First, Ann O’Nymous sent me a link to Tugboat Tales, a fabulous documentary made by the late Bart Lawson back in 1991. This first-rate documentary is divided into parts one, two, and three. A click gets you to youtube.
Next, harbor photographer extraordinaire John Watson went to check progress on Ambrose, and discovered the drydock had been floated out and reoriented 180 degrees, with the lightship on board. That would have been a sight to behold.
Next, from Allen Baker, this foto of a lightship undergoing restoration two hundred miles . . . downeast . . . well, in Boston. It’s LV-112, which last appeared in this blog almost two years ago. That info back in 2010 was passed along by Matt of Soundbounder. Check this link (Thanks to Rick) for many more fotos of LV-112.
As I said, I stayed inside this morning, chomping at the bit because Orange Star was headed out. Had I realized that her sister vessel was coming in and that they’d cross not far from the Narrows, I would have “busted out.” Nothing could have kept me inside. Then, I got an email from bowsprite informing me that Orange
Babe Wave had come into port, and I was beside myself. At which point . . . .
I got an email from John Skelson, with attached fotos of Orange Wave!!! If you’re new to this blog, I’m a self-professed orangejuiceaholic. Here, thanks to A. Steven Toby is a link to the technology of these juice ships.
And since this post has become a gallery of other people’s fotos, here’s another from Allen Baker. A little self-disclosure here: I moved to the Boston area in the mid-1980s. One day in 1986, I was walking near the Science Museum and saw two very tired tugboats there, Luna and Venus. The sad sight drew me in. To see these beauties in such an utter state of disintegration broke my heart. I thought both were doomed. Venus was clawed into matchsticks in 1995, and Luna very narrowly escaped the same fate. Read the much nuanced story here. Luna dates from 1930, the same year as W. O. Decker. I hope to see Luna again soon; too bad I didn’t carry a camera around back in 1986.
And Decker brings the post to South Street Seaport, which I’m thrilled isexperiencing early springtime, frigid temperatures notwithstanding. Also, if you’ve been in NYC recently, you know it’s been a snowless winter so far; this foto was taken last year. I’ve always know the vessel below as Helen McAllister, but now I’m embarrassed to note that she’s also the ex-Admiral Dewey and Georgetown. I’d never realized that. Further, she came off the ways into the KVK in 1900, built at the same yard that produced Kristin Poling! And this raises two questions: is Helen McAllister that last power vessel of that yard still extant? And, does anyone know of fotos of Helen McAllister that show her working during OpSail 1992. Which raises the question . . . am I the only one NOT hearing talk of planning for OpSail 2012 New York?
Both Ambrose and Admiral Dewey/Georgetown/Helen McAllister are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It’s cold outside and tomorrow should be colder, so you could click on every link above and drink some hot tea. Did I complete many of my tasks today? No, but I had a ball with these fotos. Watching all three parts of Tug Tales will take about a half hour, but it is well worth the time.
Thanks to Ann, John, Allen, bowsprite, Steven, and John for fotos and info.
Birk took these waterside fotos the better part of a week ago. It took me a while to figure out the “color” of the mushroom anchor at the bow.
From this NPS Maritime Heritage Program link, I learned that Ambrose was launched in 1907 and originally wore straw colored paint–with her name in black–not the white lettering on red hull she’s sported since the 1930s. Oh . . . the folks in the red suits around her in this shot . . . they must belong to some secret society of the Nacirema.
Just in case you’ve forgotten how Ambrose looked last week, here’s then . . . and
here’s today. These fotos come from John Watson, who has been photographing the sixth boro for almost 40 years! Here are his fotos of Ambrose from late December.
If you’re unfamiliar with floating drydocks . . . they are sunk to allow the vessel to enter and position itself inside; then, the dock is deballasted and raised, lifting that vessel high and dry. Check the wiki explanation. Click here to see a submarine launched via a floating drydock. Here’s a video I made about two years back of Pegasus being refloated at the very same facility, Caddell Dry Dock and Repair.
Ambrose may float again later this week.
And the answer to the Ambrose Channel question is . . . John Wolfe Ambrose.
Many thanks to John Watson for these fotos.
In my personal life, the beginning of a calendar year seems the best time for maintenance, new starts, re-evaluations. Today I cleared out and organized a tool closet, tossing out with gusto and energy what I hadn’t been able to . . . in “cleaning” attempts for the past few years.
Lou Rosenberg sent this foto; even QM2 needs touch-ups. Here are some fotos I took of QM2 arriving in the sixth boro for the first time in April 2004.
Finally, Captain Thalassic sent some fotos from up on the Erie Canal, Lock 28A, where Erie Canal boats Emita II (1953) and Colonial Belle dry out their hulls over the winter, as does