Thanks for reading my blog, whose goal is to help landfolk see my home waters–the port of New York– from the water perspective. The “sixth boro” is my invented term for the waters in and around the port. Part of my motivation is that mainstream media are “terracentric,” overlooking sixth boro news to a large degree.  I strive to be the opposite:  maricentric.  If you like what you see on this blog, tell me about it.  My blog was featured in a February 18, 2011 profile by Alexis Mainland in The New York Times. Read it here.  Jay Michaels also made reference to “tugster” in the August, 10, 2011 issue of the Wall Street Journal.

In fact, if you see a vessel you think is unique in some way and have a camera, send me an email [   parrotlect ( at ) gmail (dot) com  ]    and maybe a foto and I may put it up, credit to you. I have no commercial intent, but I like the idea of collaboration and am easy to get along with.

Altho the blog focuses on New York harbor and places accessible from it, my native “adopted” waters are on the Pow Wow in New Hampshire, where I lived some happy years. The Pow Wow meanders about 30 miles to cover less than 5 miles as a heron could fly. Foto below from 2004 shows my preferred helm style up there, best way to see muskrats, beavers, water snakes, pickerel. Moose and bear are there too altho I never saw any from the vessel. A favorite “eating-out” up there was paddling along the blueberry bushes for a snack.

I have spent parts of summers working on greater New York harbor. This blog is a vehicle to share photos and thoughts about the life on these waters. In another part of my life, I educate. This blog is part of that, as I ask my students–at a community college along the Arthur Kill– to read it to broaden their perception of their community. Some of my students work at various jobs in Ports Elizabeth and Newark and other places on the “sixth boro,” but others, I noticed a few years back, could not even name–to my shock– the waterway that separates them from Staten Island. Out of my shock as well as other forces came the idea to start this blog. Oh . . . I teach English and take that seriously.

Since 2013, my work–articles and photos–has also appeared in the magazine called Professional Mariner.


Personal stuff: I’m Aquarius, of course, of a dragon year. My favorite book as a kid was Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling. Some favorite authors are Herman Melville and Farley Mowat. I’m comfortable with ambiguity, not comfortable being classified.

Summer 2008 I completed an Masters of Fine Arts degree in writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts, a marker that has me plotting alternate courses.

Companion animal/familiar: feathered, green, ancient. Formerly the familiar of one Long John Silver, of which he speaks fondly. Can be convinced to reveal whereabouts of many buried treasures. Doesn’t respond to any name altho I call him by Nigel, the name used by the man I inherited him from. When my neighbors looked after Nigel recently, I learned they renamed him Charlie.

One thing I cannot do is arrange rides on tugs. My advice for that is here.