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Many thanks to John Skelson for sharing these photos . . .  and I’ll leave you guessing for a day or so.

Notice the vessel westbound in the background.  In the foreground, that’s Caddell’s with an Erie Lackawanna tug and a dilapidated ferry.    The mystery vessel is what’s in the background.

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The bridge needs no identification although the Bayonne shore in the background looks opener than it currently is.

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The number of tugs is just fabulous.

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And to return some color to the blog, here are Gary (right) and I sharing a beer after the show last night.  Thanks to all who attended and to the crews of five interesting documentaries.   I hope to see more of the festival Saturday and Sunday.

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Again, thanks much to John Skelson for sharing the mystery photos.  Now . .  please weigh in.

 

First the specifics . . . 70 Henry Street Brooklyn Heights Cinema tonight at 7 for reception with showing starting at 8.    After the show, stop by at Park Plaza Bar about .1 mile nearby.

So it’s appropriate to lead these NYC Municipal Archives photos off with tugboat Brooklyn.

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Next  in an icy North River  (?) . . . . . . Richmond.

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Launches  Bronx and

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Queens.

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Passenger steamer Little Silver, which ran between the Battery and Long Branch, NJ in the first decade of the 20th century.

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And finally . . . John Scully, a very classy Dialogue (Use the “find” feature to search) built built tug

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And the connection . . . here’s what boats of this vintage look like today in “disintegration experiments” in waters everywhere.  I took these in August 2011 while Gary and I filmed Graves of Arthur Kill.

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Some boats of this time, of course, still operate like Pegasus (1907) and Urger (1901)

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while others try to stave off time so that they might once again like New York Central No. 13 (1887).

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I’ve long subscribed to the notion that getting there should be as thrilling as arriving, so  . . .  let’s continue the ride backward past this 1914 post  . . . to  . . . 1910.

Below . . . it’s the Statue cruise of the day loading where it does today.  Notice a roofed Castle Clinton–formerly fort, immigration center, music hall– in the background left.

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NYC tug Manhattan . . . built 1874!  Now where do her bones lie?

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Steamer Brighton assisted by New York Tugboat Company’s Geo. K. Kirkham.

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Front and center here is Celt  (scroll through) , the yacht with many reinventions that now languishes in a creek west of Cincinnati, waiting for me . . .   There’s lots of intriguing traffic in the background.

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Thomas Willett built in 1908 by Alex Miller of Jersey City for a fortune in the amount of $335,000.

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And finally . . . a 1911 photo of a a vessel captioned as SS Momu . . . .  Tug and pier are also unidentified.  The logo on the stack should help someone.

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That’s it for today.   I hope group sourcing can teach us more about these photos.

More from the archives . . .  aerial of Pier 40 and the Holland Tunnel vent . . . photo said to be taken in 1955.

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Photo said to be “three-masted schooner” in 1937.  Clearly that’s not a schooner there with the GW Bridge in the background.  Anyone know what sailing ship that might have been?

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Photo by Sam Brody February 1938.  Ferry Hackensack foreground with Jack Frost Sugars over on the Edgewater, NJ side.

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Todd Shipyard, 1935-41 . .  .  Here’s a list of what was built there and an aerial view (you may have to scroll horizontally) of what it today is occupied by IKEA.

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SS Normandie . . . headed for the North River piers.

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City of Chattanooga December 1937.

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Brooklyn docks as seen from Brooklyn Heights, November 1937.  Here’s a Munson Lines flyer.

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Here’s the schedule–sorry for all the repetition–for Wednesday evening’s documentary portion of the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, where Graves of Arthur Kill will be shown.  Gary and I will hang for a while at Park Plaza Bar after the show. It may be mobbed?

I didn’t want to call this post “something different 19″ because clearly it wouldn’t be different from the previous days.  A pattern has emerged, and then I realized that part of the pattern is that these photos depict some of the unidentifiable vessels lost in boneyard or ship graveyards like the one focused upon in the documentary Graves of Arthur Kill.   Here they are, in their prime or at least working although forgotten.

All the photos in this post were taken during the Great Depression, by photographers who were funded through the WPA, Works Progress Administration.  I am grateful this documentation happened.  And my caption are based on the captioning–specific or general–accompanying the photos in the archives.

Below . . . US Gypsum tug.   notice the Bayonne Bridge on the horizon near the left edge of the shot.

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Photographer Ralph de Sola took this shot of tug Sarah and much smaller one without a name I can find.

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Caption says SS Brennen May 1937.  But I believe the vessel passing Pier A is actually SS Bremen.  Assorted small boats here I can’t identify.

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I’m intrigued here by the “car float” marked “Brooklyn Jay Street Terminal . . .”  shifting rail cars from right to left.  Is that a McAllister tug on the far side?  And is that how the Staten Island ferry terminal looked in the late 1930s and what is the building on the water left side of photo where the Coast Guard Building is now located?

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Here’s an intriguing E. M. Bofinger photo dated June 1938, taken from  . . . foot of Wall Street?  If Bennett Air Service is at all related to Floyd Bennett and the now unused Floyd Bennett Field, it’s noteworthy that Floyd Bennett himself had died–age 37– in April 1938.  Click here for many more Bofinger photos.

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Another photographer of water scenes in the archives is James Suydam.  Here are piers 13 through 15, the area currently just south of South Street Seaport.  Prominent against the sky then was 70 Pine, just to the left of stepped back 120 Wall.  The other two are 40 Wall (with antenna) and 20 Exchange, south of 120 Wall.

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Here’s a photo attributed to Treistman, said to be taken from the top of Seamen’s Institute and looking over the same piers as shown in the previous photo.

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Moving back over to the other side of Manhattan, it’s SS Conte di Savoia at the pier with an unidentified steam tug to the left.  For a photo of the liner with more color, click here.

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Again, the context here . . .  Wednesday night, come see the Graves of Arthur Kill, our documentary screened at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival on tugboats and other vessels of this era and older and what became of them.

And if you’re free the night before, check out this program on salvage sponsored by Working Harbor Committee.

 

As I meander through my internal miasma, the blog stays noir–more accurately noir/blanc–with another set of screen shots from the NYC Municipal Archives, this time all 1940s  . . .Department of Sanitation tugs Spring Creek, Fresh Kills, and Ferry Point, docked in the East River.  Fresh Kills aka Miss Laura . ..  is she still operating out of Duluth?

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Here’s another shot of Fresh Kills aka DS 43 off the Bellevue Hospital.  Anyone know what became of Spring Creek and Ferry Point?

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Can anyone identify this 1941 tug moving coal scows eastbound into the East River off the Battery?

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Undated but in Erie Basin, it’s SS Waziristan next to a floating grain elevator.  It turns out that in early January 1942, SS Waziristan–bound from New York to Murmansk– was sunk by Nazi air and submarine attack off Bear Island, Norway, lost with all 47 crew.

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Help me out here . . . an unidentified tug docking an unidentified ship in Erie Basin in 1940.

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Meanwhile off Tottenville, here’s a fleet of US Army transports . . . mothballed from WW!?

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I believe this is a different ghost fleet in roughly the same area.  Notice the Outerbridge in the background.    Is this where all

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this debris lies today?  Actually, I took this photo and the next two just “north” of the Outerbridge in August 2010.

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All the vintage photos here are from the NYC Municipal Archives, where too many photos have lamentable scarcity of captioning.

 

Last May I traveled willingly into around a corner in time . . . enjoyed it, and posted the “fifth dimension” series that ended with this post.    So I toying with the idea of strolling into another.  Sadly, about all I know about these photos –other than that they show the sixth boro as it was more than half century ago–is the dates and some names.  I hope someone can add some information.

NYPD, 1949.  Launch is named for Patrolman/Boatswain’s Mate 2nd class Robert Steinberg, who died in March 1945 while serving in the Navy.

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1951 departing (for where?) troopship City of Keansburg.  Tug is unidentified.

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1952.  Lehigh Valley Victor.  Notice the Woolworth Building near the left margin of the photo and the Singer Building –demolished 1968– near the center.  Is Victor considered a tug?

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July 1952 . . . Carol Moran and two other tugs, near Haverstraw.

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1953.  East River  . .  . tugboat is Manhattan, floating property of the Department of Docks but I’ve found nothing else.  The building partially shown along the left is 70 Pine–I think, and the building in the center of the photo is 120 Wall.

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Photo taken by Allen Baker in April 2014 . . . last week . . . of a USS Slater,  launched and patrolling the oceans before the photos in this post were taken.  Obviously, I’d love to know more about all these vessels.

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All these photos can be found in the NYC Municipal Collections.

Oh . .  if you recognize the “corner in time”reference in the first line . . . here’s the music, one of my all time favorites.

Doing research on some city-owned vessel. . . I stumbled onto this photo below dated September 1934.  Recognize the sledgehammer-wielding politician about to do some major reefing off the side of the boat?

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Click here for more.  What do you make of the outfit and the wheelhouse here in the late 1940s photo?

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And what’s about to be reefed off DPC-15 aka Brooklyn?

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To get the caption on the photo below, click on the photo.  It appears city employees did a lot of ocean dumping back in those days.  DPC expands to Defense Plant Corporation, and it appears that DPC-15 herself–aka Brooklyn– was dumped into the ocean . . . well, reefed in 2001!

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The NYC Visual Archives can entertain you for hours on a rainy day.  And back from the same time period, a film noir called Port of New York.

It turns out that tug Tilly, recently in the news here and elsewhere and currently unintentionally reefed was DPC-86.

Do check out the archives.  Now I’ guess I have to go to NYPL to find what I started out looking for.

Happy Earth Day.  Well . .  every day should be that, and although I recall and participated in the very first one in 1970, I’m no longer so enamored of the name.  Planet Day would be better, and of course every day should be that as well.  Actually . .. I’m rather more attracted to declaring this and every day Sea Day.   Actually, every day already is, with a parade of random vessels making their way past the KV buoy every day all day.

See that random stuff floating in the foreground on KVK waters?

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This was at my feet that same day, all arranged by tide and wind and buoyancy.  And here’s more.

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Some these pics I took a month ago, a day I’d just heard about the search for the tragic Malaysian Flight 370.  What struck me as strange was the reporter’s reference to “sea junk” …  a term that seemed to suggest the sea was responsible for debris of all sorts floating there.

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Calling it “our junk” would make more sense.

Today is also the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair.  If you don’t think the world has changed much in a half century, watch The Magic Bus, a video about a journey from California to the World’s Fair.

Go back a century . . . 1914 was also the year of opening the Panama Canal, the Cape Cod Canal . . . and more.

OK . . . let’s go back to today.  I got work to do.  Look at this desk junk . . . my desk.  Note the logo on cup and guarded by the feline.

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Let mer see . . . happy see day.

 

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.

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April 12, 2014.  Photo by Justin Zizes.

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Feb 23, 2014.

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Jan 21, 2014 . . . Lettie G. Howard returns.

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Sept 20, 2013.  This is the last photo I ever took FROM the upper balcony of Pier 17.

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Sept 12, 2013.

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July 2012.  A fire had broken out on the pier, and Shark was the first on scene responder.   Damage was minimal, despite appearances here.

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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.

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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.

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Lettie G. Howard hauled out in 2009.

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2009. The Floating Hospital . .  . was never part of the SSSM collection.

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2009.  Maj. Gen. Hart aka John A. Lynch aka Harlem.

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Helen McAllister with Peking and Wavertree.   Portion of bow of Marion M along Helen‘s starboard.

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Mathilda posing with W. O. Decker in Kingston.  2009.

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Moshulu now in Philadelphia.

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2005, I believe.  Spuyten Duyvil (not a SSSM vessel) and Pioneer.

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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.

 

 

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My job . . . Summer 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

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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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