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It can only be midsummer for a few long days.  Store up on the color, frivolity, music, and laughter the mermaids bring ashore for the rest of the year.  When they come through the intersection and turn down Surf Avenue, everyone stops to watch them pass.

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And then, the hoop stops spinning and drops.  Tails and scales return and mermaids hurry back to their occupations beneath the waves, leaving us to return to our pursuits.  The moon wanes, as the music fades, replaced by raucous horns of frustrated drivers stuck in traffic.  Days shorten.  Temperatures oppress.  And we have only memories of this to get us through another year.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

And if you think this is an NYC-unique event, check out the zeemeerminnen.

Sinuous lines of body paint . . . can mean only one thing:  the Coney Island mermaid parade.  Click here for a Daily News profile of parades going back to the 1940s.

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Dick Zigun, mayor of Coney Island,  starts out the beat, as he always does, but

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then recognition went to those folks who contributed to make the parade possible.

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Enjoy the color, imagine the sound of drums and laughter . . .

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and frisson along some new ideas.

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Happy summer.  Troubles be banished for a while.

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It’s called the mermaid parade, so what would you expect.  And their marching bands make loud festive music.

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Some bring consorts.

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Frogs and politics crept in too.

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But otherwise it was music and dance  . . .

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a walrus or two . . .

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and bright curvy colors.

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Happy summer 2013.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here are some posts from parades in  2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 . . . .

Posting every day and trying to maintain a “brand” entails a measure of risk taking that I’ve accepted.    Maybe this will be a new series, one that might even get up to SBS 80, like the Random Tugs series.  So, here’s a different version of a foto I used yesterday.  Doubleclick enlarges.  I think there’s something remarkable about this gunner, and that’s all I’ll say.  Agree?

The links in this series relate in no way to the fotos, but check this out . . . $20 million in silver and other metals–7700 bars of it–somewhere along the bottom of the sixth boro since 1903?  Is this serious?

A grainy documentary foto from the ever-perspicacious bowsprite:  Cornell pushes a barge with a yellow schoolbus around the boro, certainly a remarkable cargo.

Another remarkable story, which I heard some time ago but have not followed up on:  15,000 pieces of munitions fell from USS Bennington into the Narrows in 1954, before the VZ Bridge construction began.  Have they now been removed?

And from the clear-sighted John Watson, here’s a foto of Sgt. Matej Kocak arriving last Monday from Diego Garcia, a remarkable place I’ll probably never visit.

Equally remarkable is this reference to the island of Lokoko on a sign outside the Hurricane Club (SW corner of 26th and Park Avenue) in Manhattan.  By the coordinates, Lokoko must be out there, near Tahiti.  I love imagined histories as well as real fictions and everyday miracles.  I haven’t been inside.  I just stumbled upon this while waiting for a friend the other day.  Read reviews here.

Fotos as credited.

the serene before Irene.  As of Friday, the USCG Captain of the Port announced the following: “Commercial deep draft vessels greater than 300 gross tons are not authorized to remain in port alongside a pier after 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011.   All vessels must be out of Bay Ridge, Stapleton, and Gravesend Bay Anchorage Grounds by 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011.  Only one barge per commercial mooring buoy, with a tug in the vicinity, is authorized after 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011…”

NYC officials dictated that 300,000 residents of certain low- lying zones evacuate.   Public transportation will cease at noon today, Saturday.  From the morning NYTimes, find these other announcements.  Doubleclick enlarges most.

Lots of folks I spoke with yesterday remembered Gloria’s visit in 1985.  If Irene heads in, our wake could be breadcrumbs for Irene to find the Battery.

Structures that could move yesterday were doing that, like Fox Boys and this construction barge.

Sailboats played nervously in front of the Statue, where hundreds waiting in line . . . but

lots of smaller vessels moved upriver, like Kimberly Poling here pushing barge Edwin A. Poling as

well as Austin Reinauer and RTC 100.

A friend from upriver called last night to say he’d seen at least $300 million worth of luxury yachts heading north, like

the 1958 Black Knight, the Goudy & Stevens yacht featured here three years ago . . . then also running from a storm albeit a thunderstorm that time.

However, some, infirm and not easily moveable,

their lines reinforced,

… is that a terrified face appearing like stigmata on the second porthole from the right, and a grinch-like demon on the one to its left? … will ride it out at the dock.  I hope the “custodians” in the SSSM offices know our eyes are on them as those same eyes are on the vessels left at the dock.

And who will be in the harbor . . . I’m guessing these folks and ones like them–police, Coast Guard, mariners working on the big ferries and certain private commercial vessels …  For frequent updates, read Hawsepiper, Paul the pirate, a scholar who works on an oil barge.  Paul . . . if you could get me keys, I’d move your truck outa Zone A.

Be safe.  I’m staying on high ground inland.

Since I posted here a half month ago about WIX-327 USCG cutter barque Eagle, visiting the sixth boro, I’ve read Capt. Gordon McGowan’s The Skipper & the Eagle, which details the months he spent in 1946, post-war Hamburg, refitting Eagle (his orders were that appropriating Eagle and getting her safely to the US should happen at NO EXPENSE to taxpayers in this country).  If you need a good read, to end the summer, this is it.  McGowan’s success depended on many things, maybe the foremost of which were Eagle‘s seaworthiness and the brotherhood of the sea that bridged the divide between Capt. McGowan of now-christened Eagle and Kapitanleutnant Barthold Schnibbe of ex-Horst Wessel.

A hurricane struck Eagle on the final leg of the journey–between Bermuda and New York.  As Irene approaches, consider these excerpts from McGowan’s book, written about the experience of being in an open bridge, exposed to wind, rain, and wash.

“In the rising seas the swells were beginning to overtake us, each crest coming in from a slightly different angle, and delivering a wallop to the underside of our old-fashioned overhanging counter”  (195). [McGowan added six additional helmsman to the two then on the three linked wheels.]

“Whitecaps had long disappeared nd been replaced by angry streaks gouged on the breast of the waves by the claws of the wind.  Puffs became roaring blasts of wind.  The average velocity rose above fifty knots.  This brought another change.  The streaks on the surface vanished, giving way to clouds of spray as wavetops were sheared off by the wind … The stinging pellets of water fly horizontally downwind” (196).

“The early skirling and piping of the fresh gale through the rigging had risen in volume  and in tone to belowing and shreiking.  The vast sound seemed to fill the world.  Voices of men died away and became inaudible.  Lips moving, neck cords and veins standing out recalled the silent movie days.  Here were faces transmitting thoughts by expression alone.  Here was sound without sound.  It pressed upon eardrums and bodies as a solid thing.  The singleness of this mighty roar brought about a solitude …  The voice of the storm was more than a roar.  There was a sharp tearing sound–the ripping of the fabric of the gates of hell …  The    fore upper and lower tops’ls were the first to go.  One moment they were there; a second later they had vanished.  It seemed incredible that all that remained of the broad spread of sail were these ragged little ribbons” (200).

“I turned to the idea of heaving to.  The ship had begun to dive and wallow like a wounded wild thing.  Each time a wave overtook us I looked apprehensively astern.  As the stern began to lift on the face of a wave, the bowsprit dipped deeper and deeper until it disappeared from sight.  When each crest swept from aft forward, the stern settled deeply upon the back on the wave, and the bowsprit pointed toward the sky” (202).

Sorry . . . you’ll have to read the rest.  Then there’s also Drumm’s book, which I haven’t read.

All fotos taken Friday by Will Van Dorp, who might not post tomorrow.

A South Street Seaport update:  Pioneer and Lettie G. Howard have departed for Kingston.

Coney Island has such a distinct culture that the sixth boro (the watery parts between the five terra-boros) should just annex it.

Very introductory but fascinating  history of Coney’s evolution can be had in these short articles by Lisa Iannucci, Jeffrey Stanton, and Laurence Aurbach Jr. One theme of these articles is that Coney has a rich history of  inverting the genteel norms, entertaining rather than uplifting, dissolving the distinction between audience and performer, and (for a holiday) legitimizing some folks’ ideas of the illegitimate.  (Some of those phrases come from the lecture by Goeff Zylstra recently at Alongtheshore.)  It sounds like the alongshore of Coney makes a candidate for the capital of the sixth boro, and the Mermaid Parade its official holiday.

May these few fotos whet your appetite!  Doubleclick enlarges.  More tomorrow.  I took this foto almost immediately after arriving yesterday, and I was so happy I could have gone home satisfied.  Mermaids exude such grace!

Dick Zigun, mayor of Coney,  leads off the 20th annual parade.  Thanks for ALL your efforts, Dick and crew.  Oceans of appreciation to all the performers!

King Neptune and Queen Mermaid aka Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson ride the ceremonial cart.

Charm and

ferocity,

Fun for all ages, youngsters

of all ages:  THIS is the circus that has come to Coney.

Beplumed posteriors and

profiles,  they have given me a smile I can’t erase for days, months even.

Those black smudges . . . yeah, the parade did have its dirty parts, but for that, your patience until tomorrow is required.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

First, as a followup to Fleet Week, check what stealthy vessel Mitch  (Newtown Pentacle’s) caught over by the Sound end of the East River here.  It’s the m-ship aka M80 stiletto, a quintmaran . . . by my count.

My first time to see Maurania III.

Built in 2004.  Anyone seen where Rosemary‘s been assigned these days?

Irish Sea (ex-Clipper) 1969.

The two Hornbeck boats are Erie Service (nearer) and Eagle Service.  Tanker is Minerva Anna, and the dredge is 996 with an assemblage of small service boats along the starboard side.

Sassafras bunkers Ambassador Bridge.  In the lower right, the yellow machines are called straddlers aka container-haulers.  With so many parked there, I guess Port Elizabeth was quite slow Thursday afternoon.  Here’s a youtube of a straddler in action;  lots more to the right there.

A slow day …?  From left, Nicole Leigh Reinauer, Kristy Ann Reinauer, (I can’t make out the two smaller Reinauer boats farther in), Gramma Lee T Moran, Laura K Moran, Margaret Moran, Marie J Turecamo, Cape Cod, Pati B Moran, and Miriam Moran.

Norwegian Sea: high, dry, and missing its wheels.

Catherine C Miller and company.

Mia Forte Elsa . . . must be nobility.

Linda Moran

All fotos in the past two weeks by Will Van Dorp.

Two related Youtubes . . . not mine.  Thanks to John van der Doe for pointing the way.

Start with this one and this story about a Rotterdam–Murmansk tow (with 44,000 hp of tug power) gone awry partly because of a difference between the captains and the insurers.

First, Smit-Lloyd 115 tows Takpull 750 in rough water.  The soundtrack reminds me of Dutch pop music of my parents wartime generation.

Second, if you can really indulge me . . . here’s another video that gives the English translation of that same music sung by (trans.) the Harborsingers. Great traditional Dutch costumes too.

Niz C. Gisclair, (2003, 66′ loa) an infrequent visitor to the sixth boro, last appeared here in this blog in 2007.  Some buildings to identify:  one with greenish pyramid cap just to the left of the Statue  has the pretentious name of One Worldwide Plaza and the towers to the left of that is the Times Warner Center.

Marquette Transportation Company Offshore uses Jacques Marquette in a canoe as a stack logo.    Note the knotted rope ladder manrope aka monkey line for egress from the wheelhouse.  (Jed–thanks fer the correction.)

Similarly, I don’t recall seeing Colleen McAllister, solo, here in a long time.

Here Colleen meets Gramma Lee T. Moran, about to back down Rigel.

Dorothy J, ex-Angela M, 1982, about the same loa as Niz C,

shows off the Henry Marine logo.

Falcon heads up the East River.  More East River architecture tomorrow, once I figure out some the lesser-known buildings.

Ross Sea in morning honeyed 7 am light heads for an assist.

Stephanie Dann wrestles with a scow in a 25 mph cross wind.

Sassafras hangs off the bulkhead at Howland Hook.

Virtual twins . . . Elk River brings bunker barge beside Zim Moskva with assist from Sassafras after

Sassafras is mystified by the runabout aka runaround.

Shannon Dann heads into the Arthur Kill to hang off the “dock” in Elizabeth until

the next job.  I like the clean white  winch.

All fotos this week by Will Van Dorp.

in other words, the newest, pumpingest FDNY boat, which–if it serves as many years as Firefighter has–will be in service beyond 2080.  343 is the vessel facing in the lower left, the one not spraying yet.  The year 2080, now that’s a world I cannot imagine, but as to today’s welcome . . . enjoy the fotos.

Just the facts: one of two, designed by Naval Architects Robert Allan LTD.  The pressurized cabin offers protection against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear contamination.  Dimensions:  140′ x 36′ x 9′ with four 2000 hp MTU diesels.  Screws are approximately two-meter diameter controllable pitch Hundestedts.  Crew of seven.  Top pump output:  50,000 gpm.  Price tag:  $27 million.

Many thanks to fireboat.org and the John J. Harvey for my ride.  Click here for google images (including bowsprite’s)  of the Harvey, and here for info on Jessica Dulong’s book, in which Harvey plays a pivotal role.  Harvey cranked up her own water display.

Our Lady (herself once damaged by a terror explosion in 1916) offered her welcome, and

rainbows arced hither and yon over the sixth boro, here created by John D. McKean.

The forward ballast tank allows 343 to lower the bow into the water to ease people transfer.

Once past the Statue, she passed Ellis Island and then

headed over toward Lower Manhattan, where

she paused,

placed a wreath for the three hundred forty-three firefighters who died in that event back in 2001, before

the three large FDNY boats diverged, here left to right, 343, Firefighter, and John D. McKean.

Welcome.  No one knows what events she faces.  I wish her an uneventful and boring life.

All fotos, Will Van Dorp.

For old salt’s perspective . . . click here.

For video of her launch at Eastern Ship Building in Panama City, Florida, click here.

Just the facts:  Firefighter entered service in 1938 designed by Gibbs and Cox (who also designed the SS United States and the LCS)  . . . to last and last and last.  And she has.  Firefighter is not only the oldest active-duty FDNY vessel but also

she who can deliver the highest gpm (20,000) through her pumps.  One of Firefighter‘s finest moments occured in 1973 . . . after the collision of Sea Witch and Esso Brussels. just north of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.   See great text and  fotos of that accident here.   Salvaged portions of Sea Witch live on in Chemical Pioneer, still a regular in the sixth boro.  See her (Witch Pioneer) stern in this tugster post from a year ago.

Dimensions:  Built in Staten Island.  134′ x 32′ x 9′ with twin 16-cylinder 1500 hp engines.  gCaptain wrote about it here.  Watch a very informative 18-minute video here.

The Rolls-Royce of fireboats . . .

All fotos by Will Van Dorp in early March 2010.

If you’re still in the mood for video, you might check out this new site for cruiser USS  Olympia (C-6), featuring new reels of the battleship parading up the Hudson with Dewey on board in 1899, post-Battle of Manila Bay and Spanish-American War.  The second newsreel has the best video, 1899 technology.    Olympia today is is ship in trouble.

Old American tugs adorn other ports, and vessels that began life far away sometimes adapt to places like or near the sixth boro.  This is true of the vessel below, fotos of which come from Matt of Soundbounder.  Notice in small print the port of registry.

Does Mon Lei really mean 10,000 miles, and does that mean a literal distance of that length or … just so far that it feels like infinity?  Does anyone recall seeing the red junk in New York harbor or farther up the Hudson?   Does this foto show the same vessel, and if so, where was this foto taken?  I believe it was built near Hong Kong just before World War 2, as there seems some indication it’s much older than that.

So, clearly I am intrigued and would love to see this vessel in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Andrew writes:  “Mon Lei for many years was tied up first on the East River at the 23 st boat basin and then I last saw her  on the west side by Intrepid. Years ago I spoke with a 23 st harbor master who stated that Mon Lei was owned by an actor (unnamed) who lived on the boat during the warmer months here in New York.”  Thanks, Andrew.  I’d love to learn more.

Any answers, please get in touch.  If you know the owner, I’d like to talk.

I’d like to use this post to offer some boat rides via Youtube;  my goal here is to use this approach–with some reservations–to get a sense of differing senses of harbor and waterfront, since some conflicting visions of “waterfront sixth boro 2020” are currently being debated.

Hong Kong 50 years ago (3 minutes) and a junk in contemporary Hong Kong (4.5 minutes)

Welcome to the Bosphorus (6.5 minutes)

Yokohama (4 mnutes)

Rotterdam (3.5 minutes) I didn’t care for the music.

Shanghai (almost 2 minutes)

Singapore (4 minutes)  From what I can see here, Singapore is my favorite solution to openness of the waterfront; at least in SOME locations, it’s be great to have the stairsteps right to the water, with no lawsuits allowed if inadvertent splash happens.  As for swimmingsuits, they are allowed but not required.

Sydney (25 seconds)

Victoria (10 minutes)

An old tugster post here showing some of waterfront Bangkok.  Remote waterfront homes slideshow here.

Bathing in the Ganges here.

Otherwise, all fotos here from Matt at Soundbounder.

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My job . . . Summer AND Fall 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

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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