You are currently browsing the daily archive for December 14, 2006.

We lose our balance sometimes, regain it only to lose it again. Inevitably, this triggers changes, some gain and some loss.

We regain swimming in the East river. We had a manatee doing a reconnoitre of the Hudson this past summer. But way off at the other end of our ports and containerized supply chain, we lose species, as the New York Times reported on December 14. That dolphin’s habitat was degraded partly by our cheap stuff.

In 2020 what will the above part of Red Hook be?

And this part of a bank in Secaucus, what was this in 1920?


W. O. Decker had the good fortune to be saved. In fact, there’s a step-by-step description of the rebuild in the navigation bar to the right on that South Street Seaport page.

This tug or barge on the shore of Shooter’s Island on the southern side of Newark Bay is lost.
Will 2050 bring fusions of machine and plastic like the one above currently at Socrates Sculpture Park?

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Actually that’s not what it’s called. Towing on the hawser is the phrase instead even if what’s on the hawser here is not the typical barge.


It’s Robert Smithson‘s Floating Island, a mobile piece of geography for a time in late summer 2005. Below is the island as seen under a full moon.

The nighttime tell-tale of a tug with a barge is the set of two lights one directly atop the other on the right side of the photo. Standing watch at night in the harbor involves looking for light combinations like this. It’s sort of like looking at consellations in the night sky.

When a tug has no load, it is said to be light, as is the case with the “retired” tug Gowanus Bay below.

Click here and scroll down to see more of Gowanus Bay, currently docked in Brooklyn Navy Yard after working from 1956 until 2002. It has a 600 hp Atlas direct reversing diesel. “Direct reversing” means that to “shift” from forward into reverse, the engine is shut down for a second or two and then restarted in the opposite direction.

If it’s September and you’re way up the Hudson in Waterford, the eastern end of the Erie aka Barge Canal and there are a few dozen light tugs around, you may see a pushing contest.

More tugs tomorrow.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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December 2006