The “f” could of course be flying, floating, fabulous… those “f” words just go on. I won’t mention the unmentionable flotsam sometimes referred to as fish of various provenance. Then, there are logs and wooden beams with hardware bobbing just below the surface that could evicerate a “go fast” fiberglass boat jetting across the harbor.

More fanciful, the new Pynchon novel has as one set of characters the crew of an airship. I like to think that in the gondola of this airship, a fixture above the harbor in summer, the elusive Thomas P was researching the experiences of his Chums of Chance. If my lens were more powerful, I would have a photo of the legend at work.


I like to think the esteemed Mr. Pynchon would have seen the image below and imagined an iceberg floating past Ellis Island.

Or he might–if anyone–could have figured a way to weave an outbound iceberg into a novel. Long ago, I was working in Kuwait and just home, feverish in the midsummer heat (120 degrees), looked out into the Gulf and saw something much like this a few miles offshore. Unable for quite a few seconds to explain this whiteness, I just decided it was an iceberg in the Gulf. Five minutes later, it was still an iceberg. “Fantastic, I thought, “It’s a 120 degrees and there’s an iceberg out there.” Fifteen minutes later, I saw a fire fighting tug shutting down its pumps.

Only in New York, the end of the rainbow in the confluence of the Hudson and the East River. What fabled treasures lie on the estuary bed some 50 feet down?

All photos by Will Van Dorp.