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The sixth boro idea excites me, especially in summer when it has a more visible as well as dynamic population…


Above, crew of the container vessel Maersk Sealand Gateshead eastbound on KVK enjoy last minutes of views of the greater NYC before headed out, probably Europe. Not much of human species to watch or photograph during 98%+ of that trip. Stories that intrigue me here: who the crew are, what places they call home, what languages do they use, who are their loves and beloveds, what are their impressions of New York…


Four crewmen of K-Sea’s Great Gull southbound on Arthur Kill prepare to dock. Stories here: same as those above, and career paths…


Foolhardy (my sense) or intrepid lone kayaker leaves East River for confluence with Hudson and flood tide bound for New Jersey. Stories here: same as above, and what his kayak experience is, what he does when not paddling…


Crewman of barge pushed by Taurus eastbound on KVK does bow watch. Stories here: all of the above, and what things he’s seen, what goals he has…


Crew and passengers on SSSM‘s Pioneer southbound on Upper NY Bay enjoy midsummer’s sunset. Stories here: again the same, and what prompted their choice to sail for the best views in the boros…


Find the clue that the foto dates from pre-winter 06-07? It lies right between the two ferries? See below. Converging SI ferries conveying hundreds between the boros. Hundreds of reasons to take the free ferries: work, visit, dinner, movie, date, scenery, shopping…
All images by Will Van Dorp.

Dating clue: See Red Hook’s sugar dome right between the ferries. You cannot see that anymore.

“Summertime and the . . . is . . .” Belay that, George. Let’s mess with T. S. Eliot.


Let us go then, you and I, when the [morning] is spread out against the sky

… and Alice happens by . . . comes and goes, hauls in crushed gravel and catches some shows


Steel pieces in Port Jersey thundering scrap into the hold . . .


… Vanguard Viking pumps into lighters this gurgling black gold


All vessels and crews dream of free rides before it turns cold… And still

Alice comes and goes, hauls in crushed gravel and catches some shows.

“I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I … think that they … sing to me.
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
… wreathed with seaweed red and brown

Till … voices wake us, and we want encores.”

Summertime and the time is right for remodeling gloomy poetry, making it bright and airy like it’ll always be summer. T. S., blogging would have cheered you!

Eye sore . . . (taken summer 2006)


or missed opportunity for a memorial to an industrial past? I just . . .


miss the dome!  That end of the harbor has lost its distinction. (foto May 2007)


Loose bricks and a bare slab is all that remains.

Below are two more images by Will Van Dorp from July 2007.


Closer up. Post-apocalyptic . . . with Red Hook cranes in the background.


Roughly 150,000 mornings ago, Henry Hudson sailed into what is now New York harbor. I hereby propose that we scrap Columbus Day-since Cristoforo never deemed this geography worthy of a reconnoiter– and, instead, celebrate a newly-declared Hudson Day. Our politicians could make us happy that way.


This morning this Half Moon replica raised its anchor off Bay Ridge Flats and sailed northward. The haze lent the ship a ghostly suggestion. Might that really be Captain Hudson voyaging upriver in a time fissure removing him from his era by 150,000 days? What notation would he have written in the log as the Staten Island ferry breezed southward here?


Would he have sworn off any hard drink or tobacco after seeing the Queen Mary 2 make for the Narrows, as we can recognize off the port bow?


What fearful conjecture might he have toyed with to account for this large structure in today’s Hoboken? And what might he conclude about the natives in the red sailing craft?


What terror would have gripped the Captain and crew as they studied the monumental artifacts of a civilization off to his right? Did he contemplate turning back south and fleeing for the safety of the high seas southeast of the Narrows? Ahoy, Henry, time traveler! We might be friendly.

Images by Will Van Dorp.

Thank the harbor gods and goddesses and design improvements and sandy bottoms … no spillage happened last week from White Sea. Design improvements? Double skin is one and …


it shows in the names: here the 480′ barge Double Skin 141 lighters oil from Sovereign.


Double Skin 141 is mated to the tug Brandywine, designed for many thousands of miles and millions of gallons of safe conveyance. Construction fotos of Brandywine for your pleasure. Constructed simultaneously in . . . Wisconsin!


Vane Brothers, this is one huge ATB.

Retro seems to suit New Yorkers’ palate. Besides the bateaumouche I mentioned in this post, (so-called not because they look like flies, rather the company is based in the Mouche section of Lyons, France) and the ones I abhor from a style perspective, here are some retro ones I like. View A of Mariner III, a 1926 original


View B of same, in her first life known as SueJa III, the 122′ plaything of the owner of a West coast steamship line until she was impressed into military service in WW2.


Valiant, below, has the same fantail steamer design, but is a “modern classic,” built in 2001 and 33′ shorter than Mariner III. Check out other fantail steamers, originals as well as replicas, at this fantastic link.


Even newer, Manhattan is a replica less than two years old.


Bon voyage et appetit.

I took the second picture in Headwaters 2 in an abandoned Vermont slate quarry. And, yes, sprites of the metamorphic rock do live in such places, as evidenced below, taken deeper in that same quarry. I turned back at this point. Be this sprite, gnome, erdgeist, what name would apply?


And stone ships unlike the ones I wrote about here two+ months ago, vessels like Alice–she just left town again–bring rock to our fair harbor by the thousands of tons, of course after coaxing the rock creatures to find other habitat.


The sprite’s “pushing stone” in that quarry, and here’s Cheyenne doing the same, moving the stone aka aggregate to various construction sites, which our metropolis these days has no shortage of. Notice the color resemblance of Cheyenne to the sprite?


Here’s some loaded boats ready in Gowanus. So how deep do you suppose stone boats are?


Shallow but heavy. And when you see them pass or when you drive over highways made with this stuff, rememeber the quarry creatures.

All photos by Will Van Dorp

Anyone help me with some research: when did a government entity in the United States discontinue the use of its LAST wind powered vessel in law enforcement or other capacity? I presume none are in service today, but I may be wrong. Yet, a century and some ago, most enforcement vessels must have been fast sailers or a combination of steam and sail. I have seen info on “revenue cutters” pre-dating the United States Coast Guard in 1915. And I’m discounting training or museum vessels like USCG Eagle and USN Constitution. Anyone know of wind powered enforcement vessels in another country?


The NYPD version of the USCG rigid inflatable Defender class. The NYPD version lacks the 50mm machine guns.


NY State Police Marine Detail uses this jet-pump vessel.


USCG in the harbor maintains at least one ice breaking tug, like the 140′ Penobscot Bay.


Liberty IV operates for the National Park Service in New York harbor. I don’t know anything about this boat but suspect it started life in a different government service.


Osprey is a lab vessel monitoring harbor water quality.

My opinion: a lot of government boats ply the harbor, maybe a higher proportion than –say — 30 years ago. Agree?

Vancouver has its log booms, but New York has trains of barges,


six barges on the hawser here, headed for the Buttermilk, passing the Brooklyn-Battery Tunel ventilator off Governor’s Island and


towed by Francis E. Roehrig


Barker Boys tows another batch.


Here’s a closeup of Barker boys, another day.


Blogging can be like fishing. I might intend to catch blues but a frisky striper would delight me too. On the water I fotograf what I see on a given day, but I also read the blogs listed to the left. As I drank coffee this morning, my inspiration time, I stumbled across this foto. Aha! I thought, I’ll postpone my latest Alice ramble–she approaches, as Ahab would say of the whale– a day and I can mine my library without resorting to “…the line locker” title.


I’ve wanted to use this foto since I took it a month ago to convey that container ships have no politics. Business is business, and containers from two countries that have no diplomatic relations can coexist cheek by jowl on a trans-oceanic voyage just fine. Yes, I mean the blue one and the orange one second level up.


Notice the blue writing on the white house above: it says “Miss Leslie,”proving that dock workers, like tugsters, seafarers and dairy farmers anthropomorphize the machines and sentient beings of their labor. Cool. Hey, I’d be eager to work with Miss Leslie any day. Know any other profession that does this?


“National mood” prohibits much fotografing inside a port, but on the right extreme of this shot is a straddler, a machine with vertically oriented frame, a motor and fingers that carry a specific container to a crane for loading aboard ship just in time. Below is a closeup of a straddler. The operator sits in the glass cabin (as shown in Scale) top middle but with his back to the port side. They speed around the container field holding containers like squirrels moving nuts to a winter cache. Their diesel engines, though, add to the particulate-dense air already in the port environs… eeek, cough, hack!


Finally, check here and here for the tanker White Sea aground off the Narrows hauling fuel not into but out of the port, half a million barrels of it. As of this posting, White Sea remains aground.

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