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… of course with boats, the number of “second lives” can astonish you, and (as for “last,”) see the note at the end of the post. Helen’s tenure as “tryin ta be” museum artifact at South Street was more like a fourth life* already!
Anyhow, we knew departure would happen, just not when the day was. But when I happened by minutes after nine this morning and I saw this . . . my plans for the next few hours vanished . . . .
0923 hr . . . Decker heads out to confer with Responder, who has often moved South Street vessels, including Peking four + years ago.
And I’d really enjoy hearing your comments on any experiences you’ve had in the long life of the beautiful Helen (ex-Georgetown, ex-Admiral Dewey). Does anyone have fotos to share of Helen docking vessels during 1992 OpSail?
“Last” . . . well, many boats have second, third, etc lives. Helen is headed back to the McAllister yard; SSS Museum needs to focus on fewer vessels. What comes next is as unknown as . . . tomorrow.
Related: Here was a previous significant day in SSSM involving major passages with the McAllisters.
* As to Helen’s previous lives, she was built in Port Richmond, Staten Island as Admiral Dewey for Berwind-White Coal; see p. 8 of Erin Urban’s Caddell Dry Dock: 100 Years Harborside for a foto of Admiral Dewey.
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.
The foto I posted yesterday dazzled my image of Shooter’s. Sure . . . I knew it once saw shipbuilding operations beginning with David Decker’s yard, but I never imagined the scale. And when that industry collapsed, the island was reduced to a speed bump. Obliterate it was the solution proposed by a politician half a century ago.
If I try to put myself in the head of a Standard Shipbuilding employee there 90 years ago, I imagine he would wonder how many vessels the Shooters yard would be turning out a century hence, what cargoes they’d carry, and to which ports. Possibly he also wondered what part of the operation would employ his sons. Never in his wildest dreams–I suspect–would he imagine a scene like the one passing earlier today.
He would never envisage such a ship from China with cargoes like the dominoes stack here. Click here for fotos of Shanghai a little over a century back.
Besides being a bird sanctuary, the island margins are also home to over a dozen ruins deemed “nationally significant” by the NPS Archeology Program for abandoned shipwrecks.
Indulge a bit of shameless self-promotion here: If you haven’t voted yet in the Village Voice poll upper left, please do so and ask a few of your friends to do so too. Just click on the link and then–after putting in your name etc. paste in tugster.wordpress.com in #5 (best neighborhood blog) and #24 (best photo blog). Thanks.
If you’re not familiar with AIS, click here. Play with this tracking software. Remember that not all vessels . . . especially smaller ones . . . use AIS.
Here are screen shots I’ve taken today. Doubleclick enlarges. In this snapshot from 11 am Saturday, notice the large passenger and cargo vessels like Explorer of the Seas and APL Sardonyx in port here.
By 530 pm, a line of tugs (and likely barges) had moved up to safer anchorage between the George Washington and the Tappan Zee Bridges. So had New Jersey Responder.
Furthermore, Pioneer, Lettie G. Howard, and W. O. Decker (none of which have AIS) had also moved north from the sixth boro to Kingston.
As I was told 21 years ago in the most precarious time of my life, good night and good luck to all the vessels .
Either this foto is science fiction, fotos of Eagle –which arrives on August 5 appearing on this blog already on August 4– or
vessel lining up for fotos shoots-future, a real 75-year-old barque
doing dances with a 25-year-old replica, getting ready for
Actually, I’d prefer you believe the sci-fi explanation, a narrative that allows me to believe these vessels (Peking, for example, was built at Blohm + Voss as was Eagle … ex-Horst Wessel …) are heartsick to be bound, gagged, and held hostage at these piers . . . rather than sailing and sallying forth to join the celebration.
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.”
Keeping with tradition: here’s #57. Remember, doubleclick enlarges.
Unidentified kayaks foreground, and middleground from left to right: Layla Rene, Sea Bear, dredge Florida; and background, King Dorian (misspell of durian?).
Unidentified crew boat heading away and Barbara C approaching.
W. O. Decker passes W O tanker called Sharon Sea.
Sarah Ann and unnamed blue sailboat painted almost DonJon blue.
Sorry about all the unidentified vessels today. Maybe someone can help.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.
A general thanks for people sending me fotos. Blogging allows some stupendous collaborations.
Thanks to M. McMorrow for sending. Notice the cruise ship, the Intrepid, several sizes and types of tugs, as well as the Concorde! Unfortunately, the blimp–on its way to the tennis tournament–had just escaped from the foto.
Thanks to Stephen Sisler. Any guesses who’s atop the wheelhouse?
Do you recall that Cornell struggled in a pushing contest with The Bronx? (That’s “struggled” to restrain all forward movement.) The next two fotos come compliments of Jim Levantino, who saw that struggle from The Bronx having the pleasure of getting buried
deep within Cornell‘s … er … whiskers.
Here’s my foto of the very same moment, as recorded from high atop the house.
Thanks to Elizabeth … it’s a blogger fotografing within the confines of Troy’s Federal Lock.
And going back to late August, thanks to Eric Graybill, crewman on Bold (See 6th foto down.), who sent these fotos of Gazela making
her way, motorsailing
up Delaware Bay. Recognize anyone on deck Gazela? Gazela will be returning through the sixth boro in mid-October on its way to the oysterfest. Keep your eyes peeled; this blogger will await them at the Narrows or –near the “Gate” in the East River.
All fotos as credited. Only the fifth foto by Will Van Dorp.
My last post on the Roundup is a catch-all with some video at the end. It include vessels that just happen to be in the area. Like Kathleen Turecamo (1968), docked at Port of Albany.
Cynthia of C. D. Perry. Notice the exposed engines, and
follow the vertical shaft of the drives. I’d love to see what’s below the waterline. Doubleclick enlarges most fotos.
Mame Faye actually works during the Roundup and allows no tours. I suppose what you see is there what you see. The major task she performs during the event is driving the barge that carries the pyrotechnics, always a first-rate show by Alonzo. Mame Faye got over 80 votes this year in the “people’s choice” tug contest, and I hope she wins next year.
In the yard up by Lock 3 waits the Frances
Turecamo (1957). Note the wood-grain illusion painted onto the house.
Beautiful as an old Land Rover used for agricultural work, this one is nameless and peerless, and for sale.
If it’s still for sale, you could paint it orange and call it Tiger Lily.
I love the H-bitt and deck fittings but I can’t store a boat in my current location and will have to stay
with human-powered boats. That being said, this is an eye-turner.
Push contests here include: 1. Decker bested by Gowanus Bay, 2. Gowanus Bay v. tug44 that feels like porcupine love, 3. Indignant noises raised by the Sheriff’s boat, 4. Decker getting pushed nearly to the Canadian border by The Chancellor, 5. Decker besting Atlantic Hunter who then needs the Sheriff to assist, and 6. Toot Toot treating a push-off against The Chancellor as a love-nuzzling fest and the larger boat backing off in … embarrassment?
Donjon’s Empire walks circles and other boats whistle their appreciation and Crow demonstrates its house-raising ability.
Fotos and video by Will Van Dorp.