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A previous post showed some ghosts of the sixth borough. They are more like the ones you sense after hearing a footstep behind you and you turn and there’s no one there and yet you feel a presence. There are other ghosts that are an absence, the ones in a place, a room or a bar, where you once savored something profound with someone who’s now absent, or in a park that has lost its magic, or at a marina with a slip or mooring from which a familiar vessel has sailed and everybody knows it’ll never return. The tug below, once animated someone’s imagination, but was splashed too soon; after it began taking on water too quickly, it was run ashore on the Perth Amboy side of Arthur Kill to prevent it from clogging the channel, becoming a ghost on the river bank. Anybody who knows more about this tug photographed in January 2006, please share.


Up the East River is densely populated Roosevelt Island. Now residential, the island used to house a prison and several hospitals. Inmates who did time there include Boss Tweed, Emma Goldman, Billie Holiday, Madame Restell, and Mae West. Scroll down the wiki article for crimes of these and other prisoners.


This island was used to quarantine victims of such contagious diseases as smallpox, victims long gone like the windows and roofs.


My favorite ghost island is 50 miles north of the City, Pollepel Island.


Once known as Bannerman’s Castle, this is what remains after an arsenal explosion and nearly a century of neglect. I throttled up as I passed, lest the absence catch me. Scroll to the external links for fine photos of Bannerman’s.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


December 2006
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