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I’d love to find more fotos like this, illustrating a line I’ve heard repeatedly, as variation on . . . “NYC used to have huge pier fires.” The smoke here might be wafting over from a NJ pier fires. I’d also like to hear more about the general perception of piers at that time.
My take is that emphasis in fighting the fires was on containing them, ensuring that they didn’t spread inland. Piers, aka covered short term warehouses, were transitioning into oblivion or another life as containerization began to supplant break bulk cargo and moved out of these areas of the sixth boro and airplanes supplanted ocean liners. Pier maintenance slipped and fires of a range of causes broke out.
I’ve heard people say . . . fires burned for weeks.
(I’ve used this foto before.) In some cases . . . in NYC and elsewhere . . . retail areas were built.
The rest of these fotos are from September 2013. Retail buildings, parks and residences, businesses sprang up and continue to. And one of those places, Pier 17 on the East River side of Manhattan is transitioning again. Bravo to the Demanes for holding out, as Howard Hughes promises to “re-energize” the area.
Pier 57 on the Hudson River side is the venue for a similar makeover. What was just a plan a few months back is happening now.
Here’s the interior of Pier 57 a few days ago.
You might recall the Nomadic Museum not far from here . . . nine years ago already.
OK, this is a wandering post. Partly, I wanted to tell a story I heard last week from someone who fought these pier fires thirty years ago. He related that one aspect of fighting these fires was removing “fuel.” In some cases what would burn in these long-smoldering blazes was cargo, which would be pushed into the river. His example was clothing, mens’ dress shirts. Into the river whole skids of them would go. And then, as soon as was possible, many would be fished out . . . because to let them sink would just add to the pollution in the harbor and be wasteful. I don’t know how common this would be, and I know nothing of the attitude of the merchandise owners or insurers . . . The piers were then a very different world.
Thanks to Seth for sharing these fotos. My apologies if I’ve rendered any story inaccurately. I’d love to see more of this type of foto and hear more stories.
This NYPD officer of the peace got tugged right into a recent parade. When that happens, you know all things could get downright disorderly.
This last June post is a melange of Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79 in a setting rays irritating my camera,
Patuxent in the Philly dawn,
Sea Hawk approaching the St. John’s Bridge,
Natoma docked in the Columbia,
Caspian Sea in the Delaware,
Surrie Moran in the same waters,
Aries in Portland,
more Black Hawk,
and finally Lewiston.
Rounding things out, it’s Siberian Sea in palm trees country aka the sixth boro, taken about a year ago. I will resume the blog as soon as I can in a land with more palm trees
Thanks for reading the blog and sending comments either here or via email. Sorry if I haven’t acknowledged everyone who’s sent along a tidbit or nice word.
If you’ve never taken a Working Harbor tour in NYC’s sixth boro, here’s info. If you know the sixth boro pretty well–especially the contemporary commercial aspects of it, you might even propose to them to narrate a tour. That’s just me suggesting that, but there are folks who want to better understand the role of shipping and its interaction between the sixth boro and the five terrestrial ones.
Thanks to Seth Tane for the fotos of Aries, Black Hawk, Lewiston, Nahoma, and Sea Hawk. All others by Will Van Dorp who hopes to next post from the obscure January River.
Guess this tug? This and alternate fotos here are taken by Seth Tane. Answer follows.
Joan Turecamo (1980 and one of the last tugs built at Matton in Cohoes)in the foreground. Guess the one in the distance?
Natoma . . 1976.
Vessel in the distance earlier was Susan Miller, 1981. I’m guessing the barge is loaded with riprap for shoreline protection somewhere in Raritan Bay. I wonder about the origin of those rockaceous chunks.
Peering over crane barge Delaware Bay, it’s Caitlin Ann, 1961.
And finally . . a tug with a tent passing a clock with no hands, it’s Miriam Moran (1979).
Top foto is Amnav’s Revolution at the Rainier Foss shipyard in 2006.
Foto #1. Seth Tane took this from the WTC in the early 1980s. From L to R, that’s the Statue, Ellis Island, and Communipaw Terminal of CRRNJ . . . with a lot of vacant space behind. NOT shown but just to the right would be the Morris Canal and the Colgate Clock.
Foto #2. I took this grainy foto from the WTC in late December 2000. NOT shown but just to the left is the CRRNJ terminal. Notice the Morris Canal and the first set of high rise condos of Jersey City. Anyone know the name? Also notice that Goldman Sachs is not there yet.
Foto #3. Beyond QE2 leaving the sixth boro for the last time in October 2007, you see the CRRNJ terminal, Morris Canal, Colgate clock, and the Goldman Sachs with additional buildings to the right. Foto taken by amica.
Foto #4. I took this foto in September 2009 from North Cove.
Fotos #5 and 6. Amica took these in 2010 and 2011.
Foto #7. I took tis one last week from just north of North Cove, 18 floors up.
Click here for lots more . . . dating way back.
To reiterate what I said in part 9 of this series, the margins of the sixth boro have experienced a sea change from 30 years ago to now. And stormy Sandy of seven months ago intimates that all this relatively rapid building on reclaimed land at sea level will again change. But the difference is that since humans have walked and waded and floated here, we’ve never had construction of this scale.
Foto #8. Shifting focus a bit, Seth took this shot of–I believe–South or North Cove from the same vantage at the same time as foto #1.
Click here for images of the same, but from the mid 70s. And still more here looking across what was then the plains of Battery Park City. And the last one for now crediting Nelson Rockefeller for the concept.
As I did before, I’m inviting a sharing of more fotos showing the tremendous changes on the edge of the sixth boro.
Afterthought . . . if you want to witness further changes to the sixth boro margins, be in a viewing location that’ll show this building between 0700 and 0800 tomorrow morning. The structure below might just implode . . .
Let’s look at the boundaries of the sixth boro, using as reference two of the Holland Tunnel vent structures; as you see in that link, we’ll call New Jersey “land ventilation station” (to the left) and “river ventilation station” to the right. I took this foto yesterday from the 18th floor of a building in Battery Park City. I will re-take this when I find a higher platform.
Here’s Seth’s foto from about 30 years ago, slightly higher and to the north. Note the pier building then between the two ventilation stations. Also notice the two angled piers and all the vacant land between there and the rail lines in Hoboken to the north. I’m not sure of the name of the inlet between the “vacant” land and the railyards near the top of the foto.
Here’s another shot I took yesterday showing the area between the river ventilation station and the building with the greenish roof, now called the Hoboken Yard and Terminal for New Jersey Transit.
Here’s Seth’s foto from 30 years ago taken from near the land ventilator station looking north toward the Hoboken Yard and Terminal.
If the changes in the sixth boro boundaries interest you, then the book to get is Thomas R. Flagg’s vol. 2 of New York Harbor Railroads in Color is the book to get. Tom–a friend–took this foto in 1975 from the air. In the lower left, notice the base of the river ventilation station. Using that as reference and moving to the right (northward), you have a sense of what that space looked like before the building boom.
From page 98 of Tom’s book, here’s the space in Jersey City south of the river ventilation station looking over to Manhattan. The large pier to the left of the New York river ventilation station is Pier 40.
And finally, from page 99 of Tom’s book, taken from Manhattan in September 1967 by Allan Roberts, . . . possibly the World Trade Center, looking NW toward NJ, locate the two ventilation stations. And . .. yes . . . that’s the SS United States.
The waterfront . . .it has experienced a sea change from 30 years ago to now. And stormy Sandy of seven months ago intimates that all this relatively rapid building on reclaimed land at sea level in the next 30 years could again experience a sea change.
Many thanks to Seth Tane and Thomas R. Flagg for use of their fotos.
Check out these additional fotos. Orient yourself with the ventilation stations here.
I hope you’re enjoying this time warp as much as I am.
Foto #1. Princess Bay northbound through the Old Bay Draw.
Fotos #3 and 4. Reliable II northbound and . . .
showing the sculptural beauty of her house.
Foto #7. Another shot of Tabeling, here exiting the east end of the KVK. Foto is taken looking toward Richmond Terrace, current location of the salt pile.
All fotos taken by Seth Tane around 30 years ago.
Here are some more fotos by Seth Tane in the late 1970s /early 1980s.
Foto#1. Princess Bay just south of the Old Bay Draw, placing her about a mile of her place of construction. Anyone know what happened to her, last known as Mabel L? She was launched from Elizabethport the same year as Coral Queen.
Foto #2. Jet Trader heads for the Arthur Kill. Today Jet Trader has a new life as . . .
reef, among sunken NYC subway cars and army tanks off Atlantic City. Here’s a foto of her last voyage on the hip of Taurus. Click here to see fotos of motor tankers, subway cars, and army tanks being reefed. Have you or someone you know had the experience of diving on these reefs and care to share the experience?
Fotos 3 and 4. Mystic Sun waited in the Morris Canal for its last voyage to the scrappers in Kearney. Click here for fotos of some of the Sun fleet including Mystic Sun in better days. Can anyone identify the tugboats here?
Here’s the bow of Mystic Sun. Here’s a detailed history of Sunmarine. Mystic Sun started life in 1944, launched from East Coast Shipyards in Bayonne as AOG 38 and was scrapped in 1981, dating this foto. Here are other AOGs in dazzle paint.
Last foto, #5. Mary Gellatly, the tanker incarnation. Click here and scroll for a recent foto of the current Mary Gellatly in the sixth boro. Who was the long-revered namesake? And anyone know the details of the launch and demise of this tanker?
Many thanks to Seth Tane for these fabulous fotos of sixth boro history.
I’m enjoying this time travel back to the late 70s–early to mid 80s, and I hope you are too.
Foto #1: Between Yonkers and Hastings, lightship is No. 84, Camden-built 1907, the one that later did bottom duty in Erie Basin, until the Ikea development made it disappear. Can anyone identify the white vessel north of the lightship?
Foto #2. Today Mathilda rests on the north bank of the Rondout in Kingston, as I photographed her almost exactly five years ago. I never knew she also crawled out awhile on Pier 94.
Foto #4. James Turecamo looked like this when she carried Turecamo colors.
Foto #6. Listing perhaps? On a sandbank near LaGuardia perhaps? Frances Turecamo holds station to staboard. I can’t identify the tug to port.
Foto #7. Anyone know anything about a sunken lounge/restaurant once known as Drifters I?
All fotos taken by Seth Tane about 30 years ago and used with his permission.
Back three decades again with more fotos by Seth Tane, in this case with some vessels now considered dead.
Foto #1. QM2 assisted at the dock by Diana L. Moran, a 1956 Jakobson boat now seven years scrapped.
Foto #2. Rio la Plata. Here’s what Harold Tartell has to say about her: ” In 1984, RIO LA PLATA was built [by Sanchez Marine Services of Fall River, MA]. At the time Turecamo was quite busy, short on boats, and chartered the boat with the option to buy. Turecamo also had another tug on charter from Tidewater Marine Services around the same time period. She was EL ZORRO GRANDE. She was to be renamed HELEN J. TURECAMO, but I never saw a photo of her officially with that name affixed. She was sold to Dunlap Towing Co., LaConner, Wa., & renamed MANFRED NYSTROM. In 1987, RIO LA PLATA went West to become Oscar Niemeth Towing’s SILVER EAGLE. She is still in service.”
Foto #4. ”The red canaller towing the two light oil barges is Morania Oil Tanker Corporation’s MORANIA NO. 8.”
Foto #5. ”JULIAN A was built 1943 By George Lawley & Soms, Neponset Ma., as DPC-28, WSA-22, WOTOCO, GAY MORAN (1967). In 1972, she became JULIAN A. owned by Julian A. Corp. In the early 1980′s she was owned by River Towing Corp. name unchanged. She was later sold to Raymond Connelly Shamrock Marine Corp. & renamed INTREPID. By 2001 her existence was in doubt,” Harold.
Here’s the class of Army DPCs. In this foto, Julian A was towing salvaged scalloper Fatima from Massachusetts waters to the sixth boro, where her engine parts would be used in a restoration project. Not long after this foto was taken, the tug was searched by the federal agents who found $32 million of marijuana.
Foto #6. About the yard vessel sporting the flag and striped stack, Harold says, “ JOE WEBER McAllister’s little yard tug at Tug & Barge Drydocks, Jersey City. They built her in 1975. She was later sold to Miller Launch, & is now MILLER GIRLS.”
Click here and jump ahead to 1983 in this fascinating compilation of Jersey City history from 4.6 billion years ago to the present for a reference to the now-gone McAllister Tug & Barge Drydocks. Click here for a tugster foto of Miller Girls.
Foto #7. Harold says, “I’m having a little difficulty indentifying. Under the handrails on the lower small white panel near the pilothouse door, it appears to read N.J. MATHER. I will continue to work on it.” Any ideas? She seems narrow boat; someone with long arms in the wheelhouse could have a hand out each each at the same time.
Foto #8. On the Morris Canal . . . here’s a foto I wish I could truly travel back in time to see. Part of the house seems to be a huge rectangular tank. Up high the sign says “nite blues limited.” Anyone know the story? The Morris Canal today has changed. Anyone have water-focused fotos of the Canal you are willing to share on tugster? Type morris canal into the search window and you’ll find lots more fotos.
I’m eager for your interpretation of these fotos of a lost sixth boro, captured on fotos of Seth Tane.
Graves of Arthur Kill has archival footage of a boneyard on the Arthur Kill from about the same era. I’d love to see more fotos of what was new and what was derelict in the sixth boro from then and before.
This “fleetless” 2013 fleet week in the sixth boro is an ideal time to look back at previous fleet visits, using these vintage fotos taken almost a third of a century ago by Seth Tane. Here’s my “fleeted” fleet week fotos from 2012.
Foto #1. USS Mount Whitney arrives in town with airship escort. Which lightship might that be off LCC-20′s port bow? My thanks to Jed for identification of LCC-20.
Foto #2. Victory ship USNS Twin Falls as campus for Food and Maritime Trade high School rafted up along the North River with Liberty ship SS John W. Brown, a floating nautical high school. Which pier# or street were these docked at? Can anyone share fotos taken inside these unique school vessels?
Foto #3. Comparing with this foto of Wire WYTL 65612 taken less than a year ago, it appears changes have been made over the past 30 years to her house. Also, notice the “previous” version of the Staten Island ferry terminal off her starboard.
Foto #5. Intrepid initially arrives in the North River to begin service as a museum ship. The foto is taken from a vessel on Pier 9 in Jersey City.
All fotos thanks to Seth Tane. And, I again invite your comments and reminiscences. If you missed it, here was the first installment of this series.