You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Helen McAllister’ tag.

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.

 

 

See it there, the modest red covered barge between Wavertree and Peking?  The steel covered barge is called Progress today.   Once it transported coffee from ship to shore.   I’m making a note to myself:  learn more about these.

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And right across the East River to the right of the firehouse at Fulton Landing, that modified but still modest white barge used to be Erie Lackawanna 375.  It too transported coffee.  More on this later.   I took this foto 6/16/2009.

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Here’s another modified coffee barge, this one just south of Camden, NJ, now the floating office of McAllister in that waterway.

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It’s a counterpart to this McAllister office on the KVK.   So given all these repurposed coffee barges I knew about, why

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did it take me a day short of seven years doing this blog to go to Bargemusic, the EL 375 barge in the foto above?   Shame on me, posing in the “shadow selfie” below, for waiting so long to check out this extraordinary barge.

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I trekked out there yesterday in spite of the gusty sub-freezing weather to hear some music and have a look.

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It was warm inside and the smell of old wood  . . . I felt immediately welcomed.  Note the brick fireplace to the left.  Some wood from American Legion lives on here.

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Jung Lin was warming up on the Steinway, as

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was Andy Simionescu.

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I didn’t–and one shouldn’t–take fotos during the performance, but during intermission, I went out onto the pier to see the view from the “back” of the stage.

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Here’s  the obit of founder Olga Bloom–with more info on her barge project– from the NYTimes almost exactly two years ago.  From this article, I learn this was her third barge, that it was built around 1900, and that Peter Stamford was instrumental in getting it permission to dock at Fulton Landing.   Here’s a spring 1978 article on what may have been Bargemusic’s first season.  Here’s a link that gets you an interview with the current president and calendar of upcoming events.  By the way, at 2:48 in that interview, a Bouchard tug passes eastbound on the East River.

Credits to those who offered marine trade skills and others can be found here.

Request:  the bargemusic site credits a Captain Hearnley as the one to tow the barge to this location.  Can anyone say anything about him?  Does anyone know the name of the tug or . . . have a foto of that tow?  When was the former EL 375 last  hauled?

Final shot for today, a foto from 8/27/2010 of Volunteer passing bargemusic.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  If you have never been to bargemusic, you’ll thank youself if you go there SOON.

For two more repurposed barges serving as cultural centers, click here and here.  Pennsy 399 will deliver sinterklaas to Kingston this coming week.

Those film awards started in 1929.

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William Oscar Decker was launched in 1930.

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Every day should be Oscar day and every night . . . Oscar night.  And the winner is  . . . W. O.!  Shouldn’t there be a George Stanley statuette front and center of wheelhouse?

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Foto #1 taken in September 2010 in Troy, and the other two taken in July 2012 in the East River.

Foto from Birk.  I never noticed before how much the colors of a McAllister tug and Santa Claus are alike.  Now all Alex needs is to sport white fabric bow pudding, you to squint, and  . . . et voila!  To the right . . . I think that’s she who did a last waltz this past July.

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Christmas decorations on USS New Jersey?  Except this foto was taken in October.

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Tugboat Lizzie with reflections  . . . and made by a frustrated retired jeweler friend of John Ericsson.

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a gold- and silver-plated copper tug!  Trophy material.  See more at the Independence Seaport Museum, not where the road has taken me but well worth a visit.

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Top foto by Birk Thomas.  All others by Will Van Dorp, who’s quite inland and equidistant from the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

Colleen basks in early morning light before the race earlier this month.

Resolute makes a quick turn to assist with a tow.

Discovery Coast turns westbound into the KVK.

Resolute takes the stern of Thomas J. Brown.

Miriam Moran reports for yet another job.

The inimitable Herbert P. Brake leaves the east end of the Kill.

Laura K. Moran . . .  speed turning.

Taurus heads for the mooring.

Treasure Coast crosses in the foreground after Taurus  gets to the mooring.

Discovery Coast cruises back to home base.

It’s Choptank light about to cross the Upper Bay for Brooklyn, and

a whole bevvy of McAllisters, including Helen. in Mariner’s Harbor . . .  also just before the tugboat race almost three weeks ago.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who does a short gallivant starting later tomorrow.

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      jboulware@seany.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.

All these fotos come compliments of Jonathan Boulware, who took them in late June, as

Decker towed Marion M out to

her holding area on the KVK . . . where you can pick her up.

I wanted to add a few more fotos of Helen McAllister . . .

who also has at least one

more life ahead of her.   Here’s how she might look under her own power headed your way.

And with all this movement, what might Peking be thinking, saying . ..  .?

Uh . . . she can’t talk, can she?

Again, Marion M can be yours.  Contact Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum     212.748.8772      jboulware@seany.org      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!!

… 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 . . . .

Helen sliding into the stream at the end of Deckers towline . . . meant only one thing.

0923 hr . . . Decker heads out to confer with Responder, who has often moved South Street vessels, including Peking four + years ago.

Responder asks Decker to go into the confined space to bring Helen to the dance floor.

Decker (and crew, of course) were thrilled to do this escort.

Long-timers at the Museum–Carlos, Victor, and Sal–get in last moments.

0953 . . . the tow gets made with Responder, and

the lines to Decker get

loosened.  Hand-over has happened.

For a short tense interval, the boats exchange sweet somethings, maybe some tears, and then

they waltz away . . . toward a future.

The Statue waves in recognition.

And Decker, as escort, has finished her duties by 1024 hr.

Such beautiful curves, such proud rake!    Surely there is another life

for Helen somewhere.  John Watson waits high on his cliff to get fotos of the tow heading into the KVK.

Thanks to John Watson for this foto and to Jonathan Boulware for assisting with my fotos.

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.

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 dvijoeningwerke@telkomsa.net

Which brings me to South Street Seaport, and this sight that greeted me two days ago.   After at least 20 years of deterioration, work is happening.

Spongy wood was being removed, and

I got my first ever look inside, after 10 years of wondering . . . .

Jim and Glen peeled away tired materials from the 1980s.

Installed inside the windows years ago was this captioning that

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.

I’d planned something different for today, but then my inbox started to fill.  And it makes me happy to feel a community building here.  So . . . thanks all for reading and sending fotos and links.  I wanted to go out taking fotos, but a pile of tasks told me to stay home.

First, Ann O’Nymous sent me a link to Tugboat Tales, a fabulous documentary made by the late Bart Lawson back in 1991.  This first-rate documentary is divided into parts one, two, and three.   A click gets you to youtube.

Next, harbor photographer extraordinaire John Watson went to check progress on Ambrose, and discovered the drydock had been floated out and reoriented 180 degrees, with the lightship on board.  That would have been a sight to behold.

  Now here’s the bow . .  as seen from shore.   Given the wind, the blue belly over the mushroom anchor is clearly a blue tarp.

Next, from Allen Baker, this foto of a lightship undergoing restoration two hundred miles . . . downeast . . . well, in Boston.   It’s LV-112, which last appeared in this blog almost two years ago.  That info back in 2010 was passed along by Matt of Soundbounder.  Check this link (Thanks to Rick) for many more fotos of LV-112.

As I said, I stayed inside this morning, chomping at the bit because Orange Star was headed out.  Had I realized that her sister vessel was coming in and that they’d cross not far from the Narrows, I would have “busted out.”  Nothing could have kept me inside.  Then, I got an email from bowsprite informing me that Orange Babe Wave had come into port, and I was beside myself.  At which point . . . .

I got an email from John Skelson, with attached fotos of Orange Wave!!!  If you’re new to this blog, I’m a self-professed orangejuiceaholic.  Here, thanks to A. Steven Toby is a link to the technology of these juice ships.

And since this post has become a gallery of other people’s fotos, here’s another from Allen Baker.  A little self-disclosure here:  I moved to the Boston area in the mid-1980s.  One day in 1986, I was walking near the Science Museum and saw two very tired tugboats there, Luna and Venus.  The sad sight drew me in.  To see these beauties in such an utter state of disintegration broke my heart.  I thought both were doomed.  Venus was clawed into matchsticks in 1995, and Luna very narrowly escaped the same fate.  Read the much nuanced story here.   Luna dates from 1930, the same year as W. O. Decker.  I hope to see Luna again soon;  too bad I didn’t carry a camera around back in 1986.

And Decker brings the post to South Street Seaport, which I’m thrilled isexperiencing early springtime, frigid temperatures notwithstanding.  Also, if you’ve been in NYC recently, you know it’s been a snowless winter so far;  this foto was taken last year.  I’ve always know the vessel below as Helen McAllister, but now I’m embarrassed to note that she’s also the ex-Admiral Dewey and Georgetown.  I’d never realized that.  Further, she came off the ways into the KVK in 1900, built at the same yard that produced Kristin Poling!    And this raises two questions:  is Helen McAllister that last power vessel of that yard  still extant?  And, does anyone know of fotos of Helen McAllister that show her working during OpSail 1992.  Which raises the question . . . am I the only one NOT hearing talk of planning for OpSail 2012 New York?

Both Ambrose and Admiral Dewey/Georgetown/Helen McAllister are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s cold outside and tomorrow should be colder, so you could click on every link above  and drink some hot tea.  Did I complete many of my tasks today?  No, but I had a ball with these fotos.  Watching all three parts of Tug Tales will take about a half hour, but it is well worth the time.

Thanks to Ann, John, Allen, bowsprite, Steven, and John for fotos and info.

Finally, here are two other worthwhile places to check while emptying that pot of tea:  Oil-Electric on “marine railroads” and a treasure trove of fotos from the National Maritime Museum on Flickr.

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