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This is my 99th post in 110 days; I enjoy researching the posts, blogging about them, and especially being read: over 5800 readings, 54 comments, a dozen plus new friends from the blog and reaffirmation of friendship from people I long have known in the flesh! If you read this and like it, email the link to three of your friends today: I want to break 6000.
It’s exhilarating to feel a sense of a sixth borough community. Top of my list is frogma, the sixth borough’s very own nereid. And she passes along this musical event for Sunday: a group called Waterways, second notice down on that link.

Getting back to some loose odds ‘n ends seems the best for this post. A photo just surfaced in my filing; I looked everywhere for it while writing Boatyard Triage. It’s Jarr D-E pre dismantling and afloat winter late 2005. I’d still like to find some history of the vessel that is no more.


Pirate flags are popular on many recreational boats. I hardly expected one on Chancellor on its way to a Roundup pushing contest. By the way, does anyone know of tugs making their way into folk or country or maritime music? I know of none. Any songwriters looking for collaboration?


The dock crane below is all I could see left of the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock at Kearny Point on the Hackensack just north of where that river and the Passaic converge. On that link, check the other local (mostly disappeared) shipyards. We’ve all heard the reasons that make Korea, Japan, and China the top three shipbuilders in the world today. Another $80 million ship every 4 days!@!# Fifty years from now where might the busiest yards be?


Below, a shot of Stad Amsterdam, one of many tall sailing ships that visit the East River even in the 21st century. You saw her figurehead here.


Last one for now, the helm of the Coast Guard’s Eagle; lots of helmsfolk there. I need that to keep my blog on its original course.


If second lives can happen for these two boats, they already have. Aging is a cruel and inevitable process for humans and their handicrafts alike.


Walking here feels not unlike being through a cemetery where no markers bear names. A Matthews, I guess? Compare with this.


This one is a rare ACF yacht, now too far gone to be rescued. That site should be called “free projects cum boats.”

All the fine tropical hardwoods are practically exotic mulch. A knifeblade goes clear through.


Starboard side of the ACF and bow of the Matthews.


Closer up of the starboard bow of the Matthews with ACF to port.
Here are some great links to scroll through by manufacturer.

Last heartbreaking shot for today: view into port cabin door of the ACF. Wish it had made it to a museum like this one far upstate New York.
Anyone ever see a restored ACF aka American Car & Foundry? It’s the luxury craft of another age: Elco, Hacker, Owens . . . like Cord, Dusenberg, and Packard.

Here are more survivors. Scroll to the bottom for some great links. If only we could save them all.

So this isn’t about anything Irish. Green . . . the color of cans and buoys to leave to port when returning. Green ones have odd numbers. Seasickness turns you to one’s gills. If tending toward “pea” green, it’s the color of the vessel of a certain owl and pussycat. Below is a pea green hull that regularly comes into the harbor. Any guesses on its home port? NSCSA?  The unusual structure on the stern?
Here’s a link and another to closer views of the RO-RO ship; the latter shows John Caddell in the foreground. This site shows a good cutaway view of the holds of such a vessel and the aft loading ramp. Vessel named for? You guessed it. . . the city of Hofuf.

All of the above has nothing to do with Greenpeace. Other than color, of course. Tis the season for green.

Look in any nautical antiques list and in the top five you’ll see a porthole. This link offers one story of their origin. I think portholes are best experienced from inside the vessel. Judge for yourself: wouldn’t you love to wake up to this light experience?


Views beyond the porthole can be quite magical as well.


I learned recently why port holes are open only in port: I was below decks in a stiff wind that had the schooner heeled over. Holding the companionway ladder, I happened to glance at the porthole: beyond the glass was water, water up over the starboard caprail and alongside the cabin house.

Wonder what they saw through the portholes of this vessel in Belgium.
As magical as they can be, porthole diameter turned tragic in the great waterfront fire of Hoboken, June 1900. Passengers aboard the Saale were unable to escape because the portholes were too small to allow egress. Here’s a much longer article with photos on the fire that engulfed several North German Lloyd vessels.

To return to lighter fare, check this out, “Destiny,” one of my favorite paintings by John William Waterhouse.

Surprised I was when I first heard the Hudson as it flows through a portion of the sixth borough referred to as the North River. References exist aplenty though. It both alludes to the East River and describes historic boundaries of the Dutch colony that extended from the North River to the South River aka, the Delaware.

A Moran tug chugs northward here, forming the “base” of a diamond with Pier 57, the Empire State Building, and the new Gehry building.

Pier 57 might be described as a “once and future” delight; a few years ago, however, it was a detention center.

Much less ambiguously a delight is the Gehry Building less than a year old. Here is a link to one of many interesting articles about the Gehry. Notice the Chrysler Building peering around the left side of a high rise (I admit I can’t identify that high-rise.) in the background.

While we’re talking North River delights, I have to mention huge pigeons on bollards guarding the north Hoboken waterfront. Notice Frying Pan lightship in the background.

Believe it or not, Alice came into Brooklyn last night, so I crossed over the Hudson to Jersey. No sour grapes or anything; I just had an appointment that I’ll blog about soon enough . . . with Anne. No, that’s not Anne below; read the name for yourself.


Ambassador, it turns out, is a sibling–er . . half sibling–of my beloved Alice. Check this out and go to their international fleet. Both are managed/owned/operated? by a company run by a former Canadian prime minister and partnered with other companies.  It’s just confusing.


Check out this vintage shot of Alice. Meanwhile, although Alice and I don’t currently talk, we will again someday. Unrequited feelings are best sometimes. I’ll stay my bound to course while Alice does what she needs to do in Brooklyn and then moves quickly again beyond the horizon.

Since my conceptual framework was set on the dairy farm where I grew up, my associations often return there. Check out this one . . .
and this one.

Here’s the tug Lucky D below the first enclosed seat . . .

and my brother tugging a manure spreader on the farmland.
Heavy steel machines, diesel and a warm control seat with enough clearance and visibility . . . some enjoyment of wide open spaces, knowledge about invisible land features, involement in production of the bulk fluids that support our lives . . . like petroleum and milk, and vulnerability to the weather. Deere and more Deere (check the timeline). Who woulda thunk? Have any further tug and tractor parallels?

When I was six, I built a boat: it sank as soon as I stepped into it because I thought form was everything. Also when I was six, I built a fishing rod and I caught no fish: I had no idea what rope aka line to use. Rope is as various as its uses.


He with the odd length from the line locker here “taught me the ropes” when I first stepped aboard Pioneer. Bon voyage sailor, as he’s now moved to another ship.


Line is a thing of beauty, both visual and tactile, especially so on water: because of its importance, it’s treated with great respect.  Thanks, Elizabeth, for this shot.


Even after it has been discarded, as these lengths resting on pallets, line is a thing of beauty.


And knots, that’s the subject for another whole post. Knotting is an ancient art. The fisher is from my favorite fountain not far from the Delaware.


Landlubbers have “junk drawers;” some waterfolk have line lockers. From mine I’ll pull some gratutitous pictures and unrelated stories following up recent posts.


Two vessels–Ambassador (nearer and inbound) and Sonia, seagull, and Hoffman Island.

Pirates: An incident is ongoing right now off Somalia, as MV Rosen, a food relief ship, is held by pirates, crew as hostages. Read about it here. Bet the pirates don’t have eye patches or say “harrr.”

Crane ship off Narrows, three tugs, two NYPD boats. Waiting for ….
Meanwhile in Morocco: Here’s another set of photos of life on the Congo River. While we’re talking about the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) where I spent two years of my life, check out this very worthwhile effort in a profoundly tragic space. I met Bukeni last weekend, an angel.

Check this really cool section of Chine blog.

Emissions: Check this.
Tottenville: Check out frogma’s recent post about her never-ending tale of a certain voyage to Tottenville. Disclosure: I shamelessly lurked for almost a year on frogma’s wonderful blog before making a comment!

The paddle handler in that cockpit is a very young tugster (tugsta) up in New England. Notice what they name the combination dragger/lobsta boats up theah.

Last update in this very mixed bag: Compare this picture from Balancing of the Revere Sugar dome as it looked last summer and this one today on Gowanus Lounge. Read “Revere Sugar, Then and Now.” Seems like balance and stabilty are lost.

My childhood mind was really excited by the word “skyscraper” when first I encountered it in a reader. My parents, immigrant farmers, never used the word, nor was there any need for the word in a rural world where the tallest non-natural structure was a silo. My adult mind is excited by large machines, especially ships. Hence, I blog about them.

APL’s Vietnam was loading in the harbor a few days back. Check out their fleet info and board of directors. Check here for their history. Let’s zoom in to some details today and maybe tomorrow. Watch the aftmost crane.


Now let’s get even closer.


Imagine sitting in that tiny tinted bubble lifting thousands of tons a day. What a workout.  The cabin is not unlike that on a farm machine.

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March 2007
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