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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.
Photographer Ralph de Sola took this shot of tug Sarah and much smaller one without a name I can find.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Here’s another shot of Fresh Kills aka DS 43 off the Bellevue Hospital. Anyone know what became of Spring Creek and Ferry Point?
Can anyone identify this 1941 tug moving coal scows eastbound into the East River off the Battery?
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.
Help me out here . . . an unidentified tug docking an unidentified ship in Erie Basin in 1940.
Meanwhile off Tottenville, here’s a fleet of US Army transports . . . mothballed from WW!?
I believe this is a different ghost fleet in roughly the same area. Notice the Outerbridge in the background. Is this where all
this debris lies today? Actually, I took this photo and the next two just “north” of the Outerbridge in August 2010.
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.
1951 departing (for where?) troopship City of Keansburg. Tug is unidentified.
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?
July 1952 . . . Carol Moran and two other tugs, near Haverstraw.
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.
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.
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?
Click here for more. What do you make of the outfit and the wheelhouse here in the late 1940s photo?
And what’s about to be reefed off DPC-15 aka Brooklyn?
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!
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.
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?
This was at my feet that same day, all arranged by tide and wind and buoyancy. And here’s more.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here just over a year ago was the release information about the documentary.
And here’s the BIG announcement: the world premiere of the documentary will happen Wednesday, May 7 at 7 pm at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema and tickets for that evening’s fare . . . including ours are now on sale. Click here for directions to Brooklyn Heights Cinema on Henry Street. If you haven’t seen the documentary, we DO turn back the clock on some of the skeletons in the yard.
Just over a week ago, I stopped to look at the yard from outside, from the muddy margins. Some photos are below. In 2011, Gary Kane and I had permission to film inside the yard from a leaky rowboat, and the footage of “beautiful ruins” comes to you directly from the leaky rowboat. By the way, I had a hand-powered bilge pump that kept our equipment dry.
Fragments with a wading bird,
disintegration with graffiti,
terminally rusted disrepair,
debris still morphing but identifiable,
ravaged whole machines juxtaposed with live ones.
Here was the 2010 end of the “graveyard” series . . . all photos shot in the ship graveyard. Use the search window to see segments 1 through 3. And here is the end of the “ghost puzzles” series, all photos I shot while we were filming the scrapyard portion of the documentary.
Unrelated to some degree, click here for my latest photos in Professional Mariner magazine.
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.
Here’s another photo of that school. Click on photo to see its provenance and more.
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
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.
Photos below show the Schottel drive unit being installed in Privateer after reconditioning.
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.
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.
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.