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Na Hoku (“stars”  in Hawaiian) 1981, ex-Chris Candies.  Sunset Park in the background.

Aegean Sea 1962 (ex-Francis  E. Roehrig, Jersey Coast, John Barker) Greenpoint in the background.  Click here for more Huxley Envelope/East River shots.

Peter F. Gellatly.  Delivery exactly two years ago, 17 November, 2009.  Leaving Newark Bay and headed into the KVK, eastbound.

James Turecamo 1969.

Miriam Moran 1979  on Citron   2007   bow.  James Turecamo westbound.

Kimberly Turecamo 1980  (ex-Rebecca P.) and Serifos 1995   named for an Aegean Sea island.

Duty 2006  headed south for another load of coal.

Margaret Moran 1979 assists Ital Moderna 2008.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s looking for fotos of Eldia, as she was towed from Cape Cod into the Kills and ultimately Witte’s yard in the mid-1980s.  Eldia blew ashore at Orleans in a spring storm 1984 (Click here to see how photogenic she was thought to be on the beach.) and ultimately was towed to Rossville.   Someone out there MUST have fotos of her as “dead ship” coming into sixth boro waters.

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>><<Vote for tugster blog for “best neighborhood blog” and “best foto blog”  in the Village Voice Web Awards.  Ask a friend to vote too . . . click  here .>><<

First, fotos I didn’t take include ones of a half dozen sailors riding the Staten Island ferry this past  Sunday.  These days that’s not a common sight. Should I have said . . . Can I take your picture?  I usually don’t take close-ups of people, at least not strangers.  Of course, if USS Iowa had been homeported here, seeing sailors on the ferry would have been routine.   Bitterness persists in some circles about the Navy pulling out of Homeport Staten Island.  Here’s what’s happening on that space . . . although as of Sunday, the federal buildings are still standing.

Now a foto I did take.  Can you see the rest from this?

FFG-28 USS Boone was in town this past weekend after its last deployment before decommissioning, scheduled for February 2012.  Anyone fill me in on what chain of events that sets into motion?  Do all personnel get reassignment?  Will it be mothballed?  Is sale to another country a possibility?

Since this is a “thin-ice” post . . . I’m parading my unfamiliarity, here’s a vessel I saw over in Newark Bay Sunday.  Pilot boat?

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

<<This just in!  Tugster faces an immediate election!!  See note at end of this post.>>>

Here was 10.  Here was 3 . . . ,  and the others you can locate through the search window.  Guesses might include new amusement park equipment for Coney Island?   Doubleclick enlarges.

exports of the now-discarded Berlusconi?

Au contraire . . . it’s Giulio Verne, having appeared on this blog once long ago here.

I’d love to see a helicopter alight on the house deck.

So why is she in the sixth boro, you ask?  To help install a backup and down under power system.  Read prysmian’s press release here. Here are mostly land fotos of the project that carries the river’s name.

Click here for the specs and diagrams of the vessel.

When I got these fotos, she was at leisure, but

thanks to Kaya, who surfed QE2‘s wake here some years back, enjoy this foto of her at work last week.  On the extreme right side of the foto is Port Imperial, named for Mr. Imperatore, NYWaterways floating homeport.

Thanks much to Kaya for the foto above and for news of and info on GV’s visit.  All other fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  When something unidentifiable causes a traffic snarl on the Queensboro Bridge, it might just be Batman and a movie shoot.

More related:  Another recent visitor in the sixth boro has been this  . . . moltomega motor yacht . .  .  named Serene.   Thanks to eastriver for pointing out the article.


Tugster has been nominated for VillageVoice “best neighborhood (of course the sixth boro IS a NYC neighborhood and an ignored one at that!!) blog” AND for “best photo (even though that’s not how it’s really spelled) blog.”   It WOULD really be an honor to win this . . . so please vote vote and vote some more.  Ask your siblings and everyone to vote, please.

There always needs to be a first time, for everything.  Maria J (ex-Jesus Saves)  did it for me . . .

my passing from innocence to experience.  I picked the day, bridge dedication plus 80 years with vivid bridge shadow on the water.  Land in the distance is Elizabeth, NJ;  point on right is Bergen Point . . . a section of Bayonne, NJ that once was a farm of tanks . . . an orchard if you prefer.

Zim Virginia was the first ship

to pass beneath me.  Anyone know of fotos of traffic through here 80 and 75 and 50 years ago?

Charles D. McAllister assists port side, and

besides the hard over rudder,

Maurania III, starboard, nudges the vessel to starboard to

avoid Shooter’s Island and head up to Port Elizabeth.

Happy dedication day!  If you missed the link to the pdf published by the Port Authority upon the 75th anniversary, click here.  Great vintage pics.  If you missed the diagram of the planned approximately 80′ raising of the roadbed, click here.

All foto by Will Van Dorp.

East side,

west side.



Container ship,




The pattern here is what divides those sets of fotos, the bridge . .  the one that turns 80.  Page through this fabulous PANYNJ pamphlet.

The GW turned 80 last month and–unlike others— I mostly missed it, because I don’t see the GW much.  But the Bayonne has

captured me, although I wonder why they don’t call it the Staten Island Bridge, or at least the Bayonne-Staten Island Bridge.

or the Bergen Point-Port Richmond Bridge, mimicking the name of the ferry it displaced.

Here’s a record of Bowsprite’s first crossing;  here’s what was happening in the world when the Bridge was dedicated.

The Bridge was built in a fashion that allowed traffic to continue on the Kill below;  now it appears this will happen as it gets modified.  Stand tuned.  Here’s the plan.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Over 22 million . . . the number of living US veterans.  I salute you.

Having said that, I’m searching for former crew of this vessel, PC 1264, launched from a long-gone shipyard in the Bronx in November 1943.  Today this vessel, site of a social experiment, lies off

Staten Island, less than 15 miles from the old Consolidated Shipbuilding Company in the Bronx.  Today I’ve been reading Black Company: The Story of Subchaser 1264, published in 1972 by her first commanding officer,  Eric S. Purdon, later Commander.  Click here to read Purdon’s obituary.

A former crewman on PC-1264 was Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. , later Vice Admiral Gravely.

I took these fotos in August 2011.

Black Company tells a story largely forgotten and makes an interesting read.

The top foto comes from Purdon’s book and is used without permission.

I see a lot of tugs, but I haven’t seen Atlantic  Salvor since August, and here .  .  I learn why.   It must have followed the reverse track of Staten Island ferries coming from the Great Lakes to the sixth boro. 

Deckhand on Bohemia the other day charmed the  eye of this line right around the bollard, untangling itself as it flew, like

this group of  tugs in mid-KVK the other day.  And it made me think that if starlings are said to group themselves in murmurations (and crows in murders), then  . ..  how about sometimes . . a “tangle of tugs?”  Or

a wedge of escorts?

 Or a  muster of them?

A cast?

A clamour of them?

Waves of them?

An ostentation of one?

A rafter of tugs, lasting until

the pilot goes in . . . and

all slack leaves the lines and the ship comes off the dock.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here was Birds 4.  Birds intrude on these fotos a fair amount just because they do.  I usually don’t intend bird fotos, but like the second from bottom here, they happen and make intriguing juxtaposition.  Vastly different proximity of bird and vessel sometimes  makes for apparently huge birds and new ways of seeing, as in the fotos of Julia Fullerton-Batten.

The same is true here;  helicopter and building here are several miles apart, but it did give pause.  And I was wondering whether it would alight upon some platform at the top.

But sometimes birds distract me from my usual subject.  Indulge me and take two minutes to watch this two-minute vimeo called “murmuration,” starting out with two girls in a canoe on a lake in Ireland.  If you’ve already seen it, pass it along to someone.

But back to my egret, who was tense, then slack, then tense, calculating … until

the fish seemed in range.

It came up empty-billed, but no matter.  There was plenty in the world beneath the boom to attract them with food, which reinforced the faith and patience of the egret.

Not the best shot, but a fairly typical one of a great blue heron, a timid bird that departs with very annoyed squawks.

Here’s another shot of an osprey I included here about two months ago, third foto from last.  To me this one suggests bird on fish like surfer on board.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.   And seriously, if you didn’t watch that vimeo . . . it’ll make your day.  Thanks to Maureen for sending it my way.  To me, it rivals the amazingvirtualreal  sequences in Avatar, the movie.  Here’s another bird/water video.

HanJin Lisbon can be called a “lazarus ship.”  Although the other three tugs are obscured in this foto, HJ Lisbon came in “cold”  last Saturday, technically a “dead ship” as she was escorted to Port Elizabeth.  But a bit over 24 hours later, she left under her own power, raised from her earlier cold.  No further details.  Foto and info from John Watson.

Maersk Carolina came in self-powered and with avian escort.  Maybe the gull was eyeing those

custom containers up top.

James River Bridge . . .  lots of Bridge vessels these days.   I’m not sure which James River it’s named for.

BBC Germany on the KVK . . . sounds like a great name for a movie . . .?

Here’s Quantico Creek lightering Glen, who arrived in the sixth bro just before

Glenda Melissa.

Over in Bayonne, Celebrity Silhouette loads.  Believe it or not, she carries a half acre grassy plot!   Might it be a greens garden for frisee and arugula, escarole and cress?

And finally, Newtown Creek, she who accentuates our commonality, she the sludge tanker.

Top foto by John Watson;  all others by Will Van Dorp.

A postscript on Random Ships 17, which featured fotos of Orange Star:  Toby sent me a link to this article on transporting orange juice . . .  an interesting read here.  Thanks much, Toby.

For me it starts here . . . in Kennesaw, Georgia.  No . . . not the Passaic River . .  but my interest in visiting Paterson, NJ, which I did last Saturday.  And I got there from Manhattan, by train, in 44 minutes.  But I digress:  three years ago in Kennesaw–visiting family at Christmas, I was talked into visiting a Civil War museum that featured this locomotive.  In the fine print, I read that it was built at Paterson’s  Rogers Locomotive and Machine  Works, which I’d never heard of.

Behold the totally freshwater wild Passaic, only about 20 miles from the sixth boro!  This view is less than a mile’s walk from the Paterson passenger rail stop.

I’d heard people ridicule the Great Falls, but judge for yourself.  I took this foto from an arched steel walkway with wooden treads, so icy Saturday morning from a glaze of spray that froze that I skated my way across.  Shangri-la in Paterson!!

Here’s a shot from below the Falls.   Just to the left of the foto is the power house, where water power gushes through raceways to turn the turbines that powered this birthplace of American industry.  Besides

manufacturing 12,000 locomotives, factories within a quarter mile made the seminal revolver called Colt Paterson and a certain engine called J-5 Wright Whirlwind that ran on a “spirited” 33.5-hour flight.

A certain Catholic school teacher named John P. Holland also worked in Paterson, after moving there from Ireland.  And his toys made Capt. Nemo’s fantasy a reality.

The Paterson museum houses not one but two early Holland subs, both inside now after some years outdoors (one of them) and at the bottom on the Passaic (the other).

I currently work in Elizabeth, NJ, on the Arthur Kill.  Today there appears widespread amnesia about Elizabeth’s connection with subs, but 95 years ago, folks there made quite the ceremony to honor Holland.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  And guess who visits Paterson today?  Salazar.     Maybe he’ll have time to take a boat ride from there down to the sixth boro?

Imagine Great Falls after Irene’s dump?  See it here.

To see other watersheds I’ve visited, type watershed into the search window.  Here are a few:  St. Lawrence, Delaware, Columbia . . .

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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.


November 2011
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