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It’s the summer station boat and a training platform for pilot apprentices.  Recognize the location?


The station boat is on the East River just east of Hell Gate.   From near to far, the bridges are the Hell Gate and then the RFK.


Here she passes the Astoria Generating Station on its way to the channel



between the Brothers.


Frequent contributor Ashley Hutto caught the No. 2 westbound later in the day, here passing the bridge I’d be happy to sell you.


Click here for a story of a visit to the No. 2 station boat by Kristina Fiore.

Thanks to Ashley for the bottom photo.   All others by Will Van Dorp, who took photos of Peacock–an unusual pilot boat here not quite a year ago.

More Seth Tane fotos.

Foto #1.  It’s 1979, 34 years ago.  What I see is no structure on Pier 17 Manhattan, lots of covered warehouses and a ship on the Brooklyn side.   Extreme lower right of foto . . . is that the floating hospital?  There’s another large white vessel to the left of lightship Ambrose.  There’s a vacant lot just to the south of the Brooklyn side access to the Bridge.  And a large ATB looking tug in the Navy Yard.   What have I missed?


Foto #2.  W. O. Decker–in my posts here and here and many other places–comes to pick up a tow, Poling #16.   Digression:  if you do Facebook, here’s the Marion M (shown in the second Decker link there) updates site with fotos.    Lots of intriguing details in the background of the Navy yard here.



Foto #3  Driving Decker here is most likely Geo Matteson, author of Tugboats of New York.  A 2013 “reshoot” of this cityscape is a “must do.”


Foto #4.  Tied up at Pier 17, Decker remakes the tow to get the tanker alongside.


All fotos by Seth Tane.

If you’re interested in collaborating in a documentation of the changing harbor, particularly the evolving articulation between the sixth boro and the other five, please contact me.  See address upper left side.

Actually that title captures 98% of this blog’s +1800 posts.  And just as elsewhere in Gotham or anywhere else, so on the sixth boro what work you see depends entirely on your station.  And my station this particular day was Tchefuncte River’s  Equitable Equipment‘s hull # 1428, delivered in August 1966 as Red Star Towing‘s New Haven.  Now she’s Freddie K. Miller;  I took the foto below just over five years ago when she was Stapleton Service.    I use this foto here because a downside of being on the tow is my inability to get a foto OF the tow.

At 0520 hrs, dawn was sweetest and coolest, from this point a mile south of Miller’s Launch.  When I reported at 0530, the Miller’s yard was already busy.

The crew of Freddie K Miller’s had a job: pick up Weeks Crane Barge 552 and its crew and proceed to the East River ConEd.  By 0615, crew was making the tow.

0645 we were crossing west to east across the Upper Bay.  Buchanan 1 was towing a scow  and

Douglas B. Gurion headed west for passengers.  The ferry is named for a victim of September 11.

0715 . ..  near Red Hook container port, we passed this ex-MSC vessel Transatlantic.  I will post more MSC soon.

0730 . . . we had passed under the Brooklyn Bridge and now could feast on this potpourri of  Manhattan skyline.  Side by side on the right are Gehry’s flowing-facade 8 Spruce (2011) and Gilbert’s spiky-tower (1913).

0745 . . . we pass GMD Shipyard, where morning shift has already started its work on Massachusetts Maritime’s TS Kennedy  (1967).

0815 . . . the crew have tied to the ConEd dock and Weeks’ crew has begun setting the spuds, for stability as the load is transferred.  My very general understanding of this load is that ConEd purchased equipment from  Manufacturer M.  Company A trucked it to the Weeks yard because installation by land (by Company B) was less feasible than installation from water.  Miller’s job was to move equipment on crane barge to ConEd so that Weeks–with collaboration from Company B–could set equipment exactly where it will be used.

0915 . . . first equipment is lifted and rotated over the East River counterclockwise to avoid obstacles on land, and at

0920 . . .  crew guides unit into exact location.  If half an inch off, then lift and get it right.

1010 . . . next piece of equipment is moved.   While the tug stands by with the crane barge, Miller crew does fine carpentry work in wheelhouse.

Since my self-appointed job is to record details, check out Carolina IV, sailing westbound on the East river . . . hailing from Stockholm,  Yes, sailing!  and  . . . yes . . . that Stockholm while

eastbound are Gage Paul Thornton and a floatplane.

1115 . . . heavy-duty pipe elbow gets lifted into place. Tower protruding from the building just right of MetLife is Chrysler Building.

1215 . . . the spuds are up,  the crane boom lowered and secured, Freddie K Miller has spun off the dock and now heads back westbound for the Weeks yard.  If the grayish vessel in the foreground is locally known as a “honey boat,” then this has to be one of the sweetest scenes possible in these parts.

1300 . . . as we approach the Weeks yard we cross Buchanan 12 towing three stone scows, possibly headed for a quarry up the Hudson.

1330 . . . Freddy K Miller is now “light,” having left the barge at the Weeks yard.  Ever Decent is outbound for sea, and by this writing is southbound off Cape Hatteras.

Meanwhile, close to Manhattan, Asphalt Star takes on bunker fuel from a Vane barge.  That black hose . . . that’s like the hose at the pump where you fill your car tank.

By 1400, I’ve said my thanks to the crew of Freddy K Miller —who await their next job on this or another vessel–and the dispatcher, and take a break to examine a familiar sight:  Alice, she who inspired my first ever blogpost!!

Back on the bank and before heading home, I get another shot;  she’s loaded deep with her Canadian aggregates.

Imagine my delight, then, later that day getting a foto from Mike C. of Alice Oldendorff north of the Navy Yard self-unloading her cargo of crushed stone.

Many thanks to all the folks at Miller’s Launch.  Also, thank you Mike for sending along this last foto.  All other fotos by Will Van Dorp.

AIS is just that . .  a tool to help us see the otherwise unseen, those moving things over the horizon.  And wonderful things there are to be seen with this tool.

Yesterday I was reading Ray Bradbury’s short story “Night Meeting.”  A large part of the story features a conversation between Tomás Gomez (TG) , Earthling, and Muhe Ca (MC), Martian.  I’ll simplify part of it here:

“TG:  The canals are empty right there.

MC:  The canals are full of lavender wine.

TG: It’s dead.

MC:  It’s alive. (protested the Martian, laughing more now.)  Oh, you’re  quite wrong.  See all the carnival lights?  There are beautiful boats as slim as women, beautiful women as slim as boats, women the color of sand, women with fire flowers in their hands.  I can see them, small, running in the streets there.  That’s where I’m going right now, to the festival; we’ll float on the waters all night long;  we’ll sing; we’ll drink; we’ll make love.  Can’t you see it?

TG:  Mister, that city is dead as a dried lizard. . . .   “

So I was looking at AIS midmorning;  the purplish clutch of “round the world clippers” was about 60 miles south and a tad east of Montauk.  Another player out there -farther southeast of the racing yachts–was the tug Rachel!   The last time she “passed my radar” was last fall when she towed a vessel from the San Francisco area to the scrappers in Texas.   Now it appears she’s homebound after a tow of parts to Bath Iron works, parts for what will become USS Zumwalt.

Also, just off Brick, NJ on the AIS “map” above is Larvik, which was at the dock in Bayonne yesterday.

Ten weeks ago in Nola, I got this quite distant foto of American Queen, which I understood had been at the dock for some time, a few seasons.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I stumbled upon this article about steam travel on the Mississippi having resumed.

A visit to AIS finds her snaky trail leading to this dense cluster of vessels in Baton Rouge.  Here’s a recent NYTimes story on the boat with a great slideshow.

And finally . . .  I caught Wilson Saga escorted by Brendan Turecamo headed under the Brooklyn Bridge the other day.

She’s not a large ship relative to Brendan.

And  until I got my fotos home, I’d never even noticed,  taking Wilson‘s stern,  the refurbished marketboat turned yacht named Peggy ?

So where do you suppose Wilson Saga has been prior to the sixth boro?  Some obscure and magical places, if you like Nordica:

June 6th, New York

May 23rd, Aalborg

May 19th, Moerdijk

May 10th, Riga

May 7th, Jelsa

May 5th, Heroya

April 23rd, Svelgen

April 19th, Leirpollen

April 15th, Glomfjord

What a saga . . .

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Na Hoku (“stars”  in Hawaiian) 1981, ex-Chris Candies.  Sunset Park in the background.

Aegean Sea 1962 (ex-Francis  E. Roehrig, Jersey Coast, John Barker) Greenpoint in the background.  Click here for more Huxley Envelope/East River shots.

Peter F. Gellatly.  Delivery exactly two years ago, 17 November, 2009.  Leaving Newark Bay and headed into the KVK, eastbound.

James Turecamo 1969.

Miriam Moran 1979  on Citron   2007   bow.  James Turecamo westbound.

Kimberly Turecamo 1980  (ex-Rebecca P.) and Serifos 1995   named for an Aegean Sea island.

Duty 2006  headed south for another load of coal.

Margaret Moran 1979 assists Ital Moderna 2008.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s looking for fotos of Eldia, as she was towed from Cape Cod into the Kills and ultimately Witte’s yard in the mid-1980s.  Eldia blew ashore at Orleans in a spring storm 1984 (Click here to see how photogenic she was thought to be on the beach.) and ultimately was towed to Rossville.   Someone out there MUST have fotos of her as “dead ship” coming into sixth boro waters.

Please vote as often as they allow for tugster Village Voice web awards.  Read the directions upper left and click on the icon. And  . .  thanks!

Janis Joplin did my all-time favorite rendition of Summertime.  I like how she takes it furiously into flight, almost like these boats, her sibilants and band’s cymbals in places like electric cicadas.

Boats are jumping . . . er getting on plane . . .

If your daddy’s rich . . . or at least willing to put some money into a boat . . . that is if he can after the S & P downgrade .  ..

One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing…

Then you’ll spread your wings and take to the sky . . .  or not.  This one seems more like it’ll head for the submarine races or something . . . .

But hush little baby . . . one of these will

take to the sky . . .  one of these mornings . .  or afternoons.

If your daddy’s rich and your moma’s good looking

Or if you’re lucky when you play the flight board . . .  with StndAIR…

Then you really might finally spread your wings and  (leaping over the East River Ferry) . . . .

take the sky…   topping the crown of Queens.

That’s Will Van Dorp’s version, who took these fotos.  Here’s Janis Joplin’s, once when she kept it together and did nothing to harm herself.  A seaplane on the East River appeared here quite long ago.  Still, these booted seaplanettes pale in comparison with the old Aeromarine airships that used to link the North and Raritan Bay with Florida.

Some interesting postscripts:

1) BRBRbrooklyn caught FDNY’s greeting SUNY Maritime’s Empire State return this morning . . . while I was still drinking my coffee!!

2)  Hats off to Stephen Askew, superintendent of North River Waste Treatment Plant, for his recent heroic captaining of a raft, a true friend of all denizens of the sixth boro.

3) News about the “troop carrier” found buried deep in the foundation of the World Trade Center . . . .   Revolutionary War troop carrier that is.

A WTF!@#@! postscript too”

Lady Liberty appears in many fotos on this blog, including one above.  Do you know what Rev. John Benefiel thinks about Bartholdi’s lady?    Fie!!!

Ace . . . never seen it before.  Can you guess its location?  Answer follows.  I’d love to know the story.  Mebbe she’s the 1949er formerly known as Oil King?  And what of the collapsed rail bridge lower left?

Is that Michael Cosgrove sashayed eastbound on the East River with the 2006 Pegasus?

Here’s Franklin Reinauer headed for Erie Basin.

 Note the crewman portside between the two scows as

Thomas J Brown heads for Gowanus.

Is it true that Shawn Miller pushed a barge to  transport Our Lady for some R & R?

Foto of Ace was taken by will Van Dorp in the Wallabout Channel today.

And important news from Reuters, the escaped peacock has voluntarily returned to its home;  my speculation is that a love match had frayed and said-cock needed some time away.

Remember, if you’re in NYC and free tonight . . .  Working Harbor Committee is presenting movie and panel:  Women at Sea.  If I didn’t have to work, I’d be there.

I’ve posted a set of fotos about this vessel here before, but still been unable to learn anything about it.  It lies where Westchester Creek (In fact, click on the link and you’ll see another foto of the same grounded vessel!)  flows into the East River west of the Whitestone Bridge.  And not that I haven’t looked, though it’s clear that my searches have focused on the wrong places.  Uncorroborated stories are these:  it was coming from South America, the owner abandoned a plan to turn Christina or Cristina into a floating restaurant . .  possibly in Philadelphia, it was dropped off there to mark a shoal.  A search of NYTimes archives from 1920 until 1980 turns up nothing about either this grounded vessel or

this one, not far away.

When spring actually gets here and work slows down, I plan to put a human powered vessel in this area and look around more.  Thanks to Robert Apuzzo for these fotos.

But . . . as often happens, I found some interesting info on other groundings in the harbor in the past 80 years . . . yes, one happened in the East River less than two weeks ago, as of this writing.  Some of these include:

May 1927  dreadnought Colorado Diamond Reef*  (between Governors Island and southeastern tip of the  Battery)

Dec 1936  freighter Malang Roosevelt Island, then Welfare Island

Aug 1951 battleship Wisconsin (actually North River near NJ across from 79th Street)

Oct 1955 battleship Wisconsin Diamond Reef

Feb 1970  tanker Desert Princess (ex-Hoegh Grace, 664′)   Mill Rock

Dec 1972  tanker Vitta (659′)  south of Ward Island, spilling 150 tons of oil

April 1979  tanker Algol East River off 10th Street.  If you have a NYTimes subscription, you can read the article here, telling that six Moran tugs came to the assistance of Algol in sprite of the strike then happening.

Apr 28 2005, a gasoline barge struck Diamond Reef, with some spillage.  See here.

Meanwhile, if I don’t find some info on that top wreck, I’ll succumb to all the imagined histories, maybe even embroider them a bit, and call it fiction.  Not so bad, eh?

Unrelated:  Check out this site dedicated to the waterway leading from Rotterdam to the North Sea . . .Maasmond (mouth of the Maas River) Maritime.

Unrelated:  Have you ever heard of a fleet–a vital US government fleet–with NO ships?  Details at end of post.

I’d never blogged about this docking although I took these fotos of back about five years ago.  With almost-twin McAllisters (Responder and Charles) just beyond her wingtips,

Eagle glided eastbound on the East (could be misspelled as “Easy”) River ,

and overseen by an unidentified  65′ WYTL (Hawser?),

Charles D. approaches the stern as

as lines are made ready and then

hauled back in

Charles D assists.

Communication is vital as all those linehandlers get coordinated with

twelve hands working these wheels simultaneously.

Responder attends to the bow and all

lines are made fast.

and the wheels go unattended, hands down.

All fotos taken long ago (2005) by Will Van Dorp, and posted now inspired by bowsprite’s Escanaba post and Flickrstream.  And speaking of Flickrstream, check out this USCG photostream.

The US 10th Fleet has NO-ZERO-AUCUN ships.  Learn its mission here.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

My Parrotlect Flickrstream









More Photos

Seth Tane American Painting

My other blogs

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Henry's Obsession

My imaginings and bowsprite's renderings of Henry Hudson's trip through the harbor 400 years ago.

Tale of Two Marlins

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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