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First, if you’re free today and within travel distance of Lower Manhattan, do yourself a favor and attend this event, 4 p. m., a book signing by Dr. James M. Lindgren. His new book is a much needed complement to Peter Stanford’s A Dream of Tall Ships, reviewed here a few months ago. Details in Preserving South Street Seaport cover almost a half century and will enthrall anyone who’s ever volunteered at, donated to, been employed by, or attended any events of South Street Seaport Museum. Lindgren laments SSSM’s absence of institutional memory saying, “Discontinuity instead defined the Seaport’s administration.” Amen . . as a volunteer I wanted to know the historical context for what seemed to me to be museum administrations’ repeated squandering of hope despite herculean efforts on the part of volunteers and staff I knew.
As my contribution to creation of memory, I offer these photos and I’d ask again for some pooling of photos about the myriad efforts of this museum over the years.
Pier 17. April 17, 2014. According to Lindgren, this mall opened on Sept 11, 1985 with a fireworks show. Its demise may by this week’s end be complete.
April 12, 2014. Photo by Justin Zizes.
Feb 23, 2014.
Jan 21, 2014 . . . Lettie G. Howard returns.
Sept 20, 2013. This is the last photo I ever took FROM the upper balcony of Pier 17.
Sept 12, 2013.
July 2012. A fire had broken out on the pier, and Shark was the first on scene responder. Damage was minimal, despite appearances here.
Now for some photos of vessels that have docked in the South Street area in the past half century.
July 2012 . . . Helen McAllister departs, assisted by W. O. Decker and McAllister Responder.
June 2012. Departure of Marion M as seen from house of W. O. Decker. Photo by Jonathan Boulware. The last I knew, Marion M is being restored on the Chesapeake by a former SSSM volunteer.
Lettie G. Howard hauled out in 2009.
2009. The Floating Hospital . . . was never part of the SSSM collection.
2009. Maj. Gen. Hart aka John A. Lynch aka Harlem.
Helen McAllister with Peking and Wavertree. Portion of bow of Marion M along Helen‘s starboard.
Mathilda posing with W. O. Decker in Kingston. 2009.
Moshulu now in Philadelphia.
2005, I believe. Spuyten Duyvil (not a SSSM vessel) and Pioneer.
Thanks to Justin and Jonathan for use of their photos. All others by Will Van Dorp. For many stories on these vessels, that mall, and so much more, pick up or download these books and read them asap.
Is Marion M (Greenport, NY 1932) on her own power projecting that potentially gorgeous deck before her? Might she be?
I’ll be straightforward for once: Marion M has been moved away from South Street because the museum needs space. She is for sale. You/your organization can get information on purchasing her by contacting Captain Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum. His tele and email are: 212.748.8772 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some specifics on her history accompany bowsprite’s rendering here. Wooden tugboat W. O. Decker (1930) demonstrates that she has the stuff still in her. Decker stays at South Street Seaport Museum. Here and here are two of my many favorite bowsprite illustrations of Decker.
Again, Marion M can be yours. Contact Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum 212.748.8772 email@example.com I’m told she’s listed in WoodenBoat‘s “Save a Classic” section, but I haven’t seen that yet.
I’d love to see her gussied up to 1932 standards. I’d even put greenbacks and sweat equity in the project. I’m reminded of what the “crazy farmers of Villiersdorp” managed to do . . . or the Onrust project in Rotterdam Junction.
Unrelated but NYTimes article about resurgence: Cross-harbor rail about to expand exponentially on the sixth boro!!
Since I woke up this May morning from a dream about attending a meditation session, the logical choice is to start my day writing a post that reflects upon–well–preservation. Two weeks ago I wrote about the Alwyn Vincent project. To quote the site, “she’s finally out,” and on the steel wheels ‘n rails of a synchrolift.
She was getting her “haircut and a shave” even before she stopped moving. When all logistical arrangements converge, the late 1950s tug will travel over-the-road 60 or so miles to its new life, as a functioning steam tug on a freshwater reservoir.
To support the self-described ‘Bunch of Crazy Farmers’ (personified by Andy, in orange below) who now own the tug, the Alwyn website says they “selling space for banners of about 1 metre square, at R5 000 ($US 639.30). The advertisements are mostly in connection with agricultural products and services, partly because everybody knows who are responsible for saving this historic vessel! Partly also, it’s because those are the firms we know, support and can ask!”
I suppose they’d accept US sponsors as well; book your space on the hull! Contact Elma on firstname.lastname@example.org
told some of the story. A sister vessel–New York Central #16–was saved only to end tragically at the Bourne Bridge rotary in Massachusetts, just six years ago.
The late Don Sutherland told of spending the last night aboard #16 . . . I wish I’d recorded his telling that story. I have recorded Norman Brouwer telling the story of buying this pierside house from #16 from the late John J. Witte, and I hope to share details of that project soon.
Not everything can be preserved . . . On Friday I caught Cheyenne –a current Witte (officially DonJon Marine) tug–heading from the East River into the Upper Bay pushing a load of (I believe) fine scrap, chopped up pieces bound for recycling. Just a week ago, Cheyenne was pushing some preserved vintage jets.
Some valuable artifacts might not be saved much longer unless dreams convert into reality and $$; others like Liemba and Yavari seem to live way beyond their expected lifespans in spite of their being out of the spotlight.
Which brings up this part of a dream: Partners in Preservation is dangling cash $US 3 million, and . . .<<<Tug Pegasus (1907) and Waterfront Museum Barge aka Lehigh Valley 79 (1914) have teamed up in a grant application for $$ for preservation work each vessel needs. As a component of the decision-making about who gets the $$, Partners in Preservation have a “socialmedia-meter” running from now until May 21. To help Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79 register high on this “meter,” you can do two things from wherever on the planet you may be: 1) befriend them on Facebook and get dozens of your friends to befriend them as well, and 2) vote DAILY here. DAILY! Seems like a crazy way to run an election, but . . . that’s social media and in this case, the cause is worthy.>>>
And later this afternoon–1300–1700h I’ll be down on Pier 25 minding the plank between 79 and Pegasus, as part of Partners in Preservation “open house” weekend.
Thanks to Colin Syndercombe for the Cape Town fotos; all others by Will Van Dorp.
Sort of related, here’s a “tale of two projects” post from about a year ago.
Just a quick update: I’ve heard from 11 people–some on email–willing to put up some money. I intended this as pledging a la Public Radio/Television. I had imagined that once a sizeable amount of money was pledged and a goal for the money was agreed upon, we could collect the money. May Day–the seasonal one–arrives soon. The dire one I hope never arrives. To fuel the discussion, I’m putting up fotos never before (I think) never posted here. Like Peking,
I’m offering to give away a Benjamin Franklin, or a half dozen. And I’ll do it before May Day!! See the end of the post.
The foto below–never posted here before–comes from 2005 and shows “the schooners,” a handsome Pioneer (1885) and elegant Lettie G. Howard (1893), 244 years of sailing between them. On a personal note, I logged in over 600 hours as a volunteer on these two boats as well as on W. O. Decker between 2004–2006. That means winter maintenance as well as summer sailing.
Such nautical treasures are these vessels (left to right: Marion M, Wavertree, W. O. Decker, and Peking) and so many fine folks, volunteers as well as professional crew, did I meet during this time . . that
When word on the street says Museum administration is looking to “send its working ships to ports elsewhere for long-term storage” and otherwise declining comment on the crumbling state of affairs, I hope to hear that these same administrators abdicate their positions. These vessels are no white elephants. These are no “floating paperweights.”
During my years as an active volunteer, I knew this place could be much more than a red barn with seven masts sticking up above it.
Conditions of giving away my Benjamins: current Museum president Mary Pelzer resign effective immediately and a committee focused on the vessels be installed forthwith. And, I’d like 1000 people (former volunteers, boat fans, former professional crew members, just plain fans of these vessels, or friends and friends of friends of any of the above) to pledge at least a Benjamin each to be deposited with a trustworthy and maricentric steward by May 1, 2011. This could be the “seaport spring.” Let’s not let this go to May Day.
See the selection below from yesterday’s New York Post. Here’s info on a “Save our Ships” meeting for April 28. All fotos above by Will Van Dorp.
“Abandoning ships: City’s old vessels lost in fog of debt, neglect,” New York Post, April 25. “Rotting wood covers their decks, their masts are flaked with rust, and their hulls are corroding.
New York’s last tall ships — once-proud symbols of the Big Apple’s rise to greatness — are in a shameful state of disrepair as the museum that’s supposed to care for them sinks in a Bermuda Triangle of debt and bad management. Seaport Museum New York has closed its landside galleries and is looking to send its working ships to ports elsewhere for long-term storage.
The museum’s stationary ships — Peking, one of the biggest sailing ships ever built, Wavertree, a three-masted cargo ship, and Ambrose, a lightship that a century ago guided sailors into New York harbor — face an unknown fate. ‘Those ships, which are emblematic of our heritage on the waterfront, are almost being left to rot,’ said Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of nonprofit groups. . . . The museum declined comment, except to say it is ‘exploring various options’ to maintain its vessels.”