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I didn’t go to Rockefeller Center to see the tree lighting;  in fact, I’ve never been, mostly because I’m working those nights.  But

truth be told, this is my favorite December light . . . crisp sun rise light on bright surface coating in the open vistas of  the sixth boro.

The foto above shows Orange Blossom traveling “juiceless” after four days offloading Brazilian juice in Newark.    No, I didn’t say useless.

Below it’s Sea Pike,

sister of Sea Trout.

Quintessential December colors in North America here emanate from the SKS Mosel and

surrounding KVK waters.

It’s the dark season, time when I need these glimmers of winter light.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Here was November Light from 13 months ago.  Looks like my hope that the 2011 Christmas Tree for Rockefeller Center did NOT arrive by water.

For some great ship fotos from Montreal, check out Jean Hemond‘s site . .  . under “galerie.”

Recently I’ve read parts of Marc Levinson’s The Box:  How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Richer.  The book tells as much about shipping and more specifically the port of New York as it does about McLean’s box.   McClean aka “father of containerization,” started toward the box in 1934 when he bought a used pickup truck to ship tobacco products.  Read about his trajectory as shipping visionary in the link above.

In 1934 only the gray stone (I believe it’s 20 Exchange Place)  building (behind and just to the left of the white cupola) making up this skyline as seen from off Battery Park City existed.  On the waterfront were piers and more piers.  Danish vessel Adriatic ID, rather than sailing past Manhattan, would likely have docked there.    From Levinson, “the city’s piers–283 of them at mid century with 98 of them able to handle ocean-going vessels–were strung out along the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts.”  Bowsprite has a foto (third image down) of all these piers in this post.

ROROs like Fedora didn’t exist before World War 2, but if they had, Bayonne would not have been where they docked.

Similarly, the piers and docks of Red Hook Brooklyn were strewn with easily-pilfered break bulk cargo:  cases, casks, cartons, bags, boxes of all sizes, bundles, packages, pieces, drums, cans, barrels, vehicles, crates, transporters, reels, coils, piles, and the kitchen sink.  The containers offloaded from Maas Trader may in fact “package” all those things and more, only the number of dock workers and the time they work would be exponentially different from pre-World War 2.

South African vessel Safmarine Oranje would not have turned westward here toward Port Elizabeth or Howland Hook;  it wasn’t until 1955 that the Robert Meyner, then governor of New Jersey,  and the Port Authority (established in 1921) signed a deal to transformed a marsh into the container port Port Elizabeth is today.

More history later . . . but today, the arrival and departure of “long trainloads” contained within 1000′ loa vessels is commonplace, OOCL  Oakland arriving and

APL Japan, departing.

Hong Kong bulk carrier Great Majesty anchors in

the Upper Bay along Sunset Park just off the Brooklyn Army Terminal and in the watchful eye of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

Before leaving town, few mariners ever set foot on dry land.    IGA heads for sea under the bridge that wasn’t there until 1964.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

What Bonnie does here for Flatbush, I’ll attempt within the sixth boro, starting here with the venerable Mary Whalen and

King Dorian (glad that’s not “durian“) before shifting to shorter wavelength in

Jo Selje and

Panagia Lady, here lightering onto (I think) JoAnne Reinauer III.

Continuing across the spectrum with Stolt Vanguard and sibling

Perseverence.  Then

and Ever Refine and

the snarkiest Don Juan and

the Bermudian cargo shuttle Oleander and

Bro Albert.

For something my eyes register as indigo, violet, purple . . . I can’t guarantee you’ll agree . . .  I had to go outatown, like back upstate to Newark and a foto from last summer of Grouper. Has she now begun her journey west?

All fotos . . . so far … Will Van Dorp.

But from shipjohn via Shipspotting . . .  here’s that purple fleet down in Philly . . . like  Purple Hays,

Big Daddy, and

Grape Ape. Many thanks shipjohn.

All these fotos I took yesterday afternoon.  Of all the fotos that were taken in greater New York yesterday, these represent probably one billionth of the total.  Besdies the fotos I took on my camera, I took about 10 others, on four other folks’ cameras.  This is New York in springtime;  these people were from four countries:  India, Switzerland, Canada, and the US.  Although the fotos–the ones of tourists as well as the ones below– are quite random, a predictable unity exists.  Can you guess the tug below?

My eyes often “misread.”  From a distance I perceived the name of the yellow tanker to be Atlantic Mule.  I liked that connection with basic transportation.  Shortly after I recognized the name as Atlantic Muse, an appropriately-named Atlantic Concert happened past.  Music was conjured up in my head and feet.

The tug above out-of-focus beyond the apple blossoms was Davis Sea, here being overtaken by Atlantic Concert.  A mere three months–less than 100 days!!– ago, I did this post and video of Davis Sea struggling with ice a hundred miles upriver.

As I composed a shot of tanker Apollon, a pigeon intruded.

This egret was not an intrusion.

A century ago–maybe two centuries ago–there was a stone trade.  Then rock was transported in old schooners, slow and expendable;  now it’s done in dinged up scows and a variety of tugs.  Specialist II looks long and lean here.  She was last in the blog foto’d out of the water.

So on a Monday morning like this, I’ll say something true about feeling lucky to live in New York and know the people I do.   Have a fabulous week;  may it go so fast we don’t fall into the potholes.

All fotos taken Sunday, April 11 by Will Van Dorp.

Just in case you haven’t guessed, tugster rides the tour  bus into the outskirts of Talltalesville sometimes . . . and in his offices along the KVK is reputed to converse with historical personages (more on this at end of post) and  . . . birds.  Like earlier this week, I was just comparing Easter dinner notes with Merg, one of my favorite red-breasted mergansers, and the conversation turned toward olives , my favorites, pitted kalamatas.  Did I say this “office” is near Snug Harbor, a place ghosts reputedly inhabit?  In this link see the last one third for ghosts.

When I noticed Merg’s crest was a bit wilder than a few minutes before,  I followed its line of sight and

I understood.  Shape and scale were both formidable.

Our conversation interrupted, Merg veered to starboard

as this leviathan followed.

Enough already, croaked Merg, heading for the east.

And if the immensity of the blue vessel were not enough, from alongbehind appeared . . . is it Laura K?

That was it for Merg, who dove.  Oh, the great blue container ship is Maersk Kalamata, the closest vessel to 1000′ loa I’ve seen in boro 6 in a bit.  Note Robbins Reef light just forward of the bow.

Marginally related:  the foto below dates from March 2, 2010 in the KVK.  I thought it was a seal.  I saw something (dark shape just to the left of bubbles) swim quite fast just below the surface, but now I’m thinking it might be a dolphin.  Anyone weigh in?  I know there’s not much fotografic clue here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Personages:  A few weeks ago, while I was relaxing on the dock aka my “office” in front of Sailor’s Snug Harbor, an older man ambled down the stairs and walked over to me.  I watch my back and front, so paid attention for awhile.  When he avoided eye contact  and seemed harmless and as fixated on the water as I was, I went back to shooting what passed.  After a few minutes, he waved and said, Foto, foto,”  while pointing to himself.  No matter what I said or asked, all he said was “foto foto,” so I figured why not and snapped his picture.  When I asked his name, he handed me a pizza menu.  Strange, given that he was Asian and I would swear he was Ho Chi Minh or at least his body-double recently.  By the way, HCM lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn between 1912 and 1918 after having worked in the galley of a ship a few years.)    I wouldn’t make this up.  So if that was you, get in touch and I’ll send the foto foto.

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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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