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Ages ago it seems Patty the tug got a refurbishment, as chronicled here.

Recently the esteemed captain and owner of Patty Nolan  received a model of his boat that had been made decades, more than a half century, earlier.  Since Patty received its own livery, the model needed to be patched up and the new livery represented.  Who better to do that than Bob Mattsson.  Check out his YouTube channel here.

For now, enjoy this beautifully refurbished model.

I hope soon to see her in sixth boro waters and beyond.

Thx to Captain David Williams for sharing photos of  this model nicely reburbished by Bob Mattsson.

I don’t go to galleries, museums, or other events enough, I know, but ’tis the season when it’s dark and rainy, and indoors can be bright, dry, and cheery. Rainy Sunday afternoon recently, I stopped in at the Noble Maritime Collection on Staten Island to show it to a friend not familiar with Noble’s work. Snug Harbor –location of  Noble Maritime— is always a good place to visit.   I’ll put links to John A. Noble in general at end of post, and I know some of my readers knew him.

Here’s one of the images that caught and held me.   Spend some time and savor it;  farther below is more information. 

How about those 1949 Cadillacs?   I needed to know more about the Cadillacs, of course.  And I found some.  Can you name the other “Cadillacs” of the Moran fleet?  Any more about them?  Answer follows.

Here’s a slightly closer up of the image above.  This image is on display as part of a current exhibit called “Andrea Doria:  Rescue at Sea.” 

While you mull over what you know about the Moran Cadillacs, how ’bout a glance at some Cadillacs of that general vintage. 

Never before have I looked at a hood ornament and thought how much that figure resembles a version of mermaid . . . not a woman and fish; rather, a woman and a ray.  Agree?

The first of four here is a Cadillac, again . . . that general vintage.  Can you name the other three?

All photos, any errors or digressions, WVD.

Here and here are some starter John A. Noble links.    Here’s an online gallery of some of his works for sale.

As to Moran’s Cadillacs:  Grace (now Towell Power), Doris (last Piar), Barbara (reefed as Georgia), Carol (reefed near her sister), and Moira (later Cedar Point) from Levingston Shipbuilding, now gone.  They launched at the rate of one each month between April and August 1949.  Paul Strubeck mentions their naval architect–Tams Inc., in his book Diesel Railroad Tugboats I reviewed not even two months ago here

While I’m on books, Erin Urban offers at least two books on John A. Noble. 





Here’s a photo I posted 8 years ago of the northeast side of Jersey City as it looked in the early 1980s.  The key landmark here should be the two Jersey side ventilators for the Holland Tunnel. 

Here the ventilators show at the extreme edge to the left of the photo below.  Seeing this old infrastructure begs the question “what’s there now?”

The rest of these photos I took yesterday, after I had decided to walk from the ferry to midtown along the ever changing western edge of Manhattan.  One goal was to see Jaume Plensa’s 80′ tall sculpture there called “Water’s Soul.”  It’s been there for a few weeks already.  I’d rename it “sixth boro soul” of course.

If you want to read a statement about the sculpture from the Richard Gray Galley, click here.

In the photo below, you can see the horizontal sections fitted together to make the work.

All photos, WVD, who thinks she’s telling us to think about what was here before.  Here are more of those sixth boro fifth dimension posts.   Here‘s more harbor art.



Sailing ships in bottles . .  . here are a few by Alex Bellinger.

I’ve heard them called “patience bottles” and “impossible bottles.”

But how many of these have you seen, tugs in bottles?

Alex, whom I’ve know for 30 years, writes:  “the tugs are for my  older brother, who worked on tugs out of New Orleans along the river and through the Gulf for many years, until he grew tired of them and wanted more deep water work so spent a number of years on LNG tankers in the Sea of Japan and Malaysia.  He finished his career at sea on cable laying ships.”

I made the attached model of a tug for him many years ago, and another soon after, which I sold.  A little more recently I made the small tug with a schooner, inspired by Gordon Grant’s watercolor, “Bon Voyage”.  That’s about the extent of my tug in bottle work, done more fun than serious work.”

Another friend, Frank Hanavan, rigs tall ships as well as ships in bottles.

So how do they get in there, and what are all these strings?


Let’s go back to Alex’s work, and I summarize his explanation here: This is a model of Ingomar, built 1904 in Essex MA and wrecked in fog on a beach nearby in 1936.  By the time she was known as “queen of the halibut fishery,” in 1923 her crew received a record premium of $400 (in 1923!)  for their catch.

The scale is 1: 228. The model measures 6 inches from the waterline to the mast top and is 8.2 inches long.   The hull is made of pine. The deck planks, bulwark, railing and deck equipment are made of the same. Masts, yards, spars and the capstan drum are made of bamboo. Parts of the deck equipment were made from index card paper, as were the dories.

When the wooden parts were finished, the deck was stained, the masts, rails and the spill with a slightly darker stain. All surfaces that are painted are embedded with acrylic primer. After painting, grooves were carved to represent planking. The parts of the deck equipment were made from index card paper, as were the dories. Load hatches and the deckhouse rails are made of pear wood.

The mast rings were made from a copper strand of an ordinary extension cord, wrapped around a pin about the mast diameter, and cut into rings with fine nail scissors.  Parts of the deck equipment were made from index card paper, as were the dories.

In total there were 35 threads to raise parts of the rigging one it was nested inside the bottle.

The model was nested in on a Saturday and finished the following Friday. The white wire is part of a coat hanger that holds the model in place while I sort the threads and carefully tension them. The wire is fixed outside the bottle with a duct tape.

Many thanks to Alex and Frank for sharing these photos.

For some exceptional ship bottles, check this translated article.

And finally, from Frank, it’s two of his ship models, one in a bottle, all in one painting.  More Frank photos here and here.

For an entirely different form of ship’s models, these in cases, there’s a must-see museum in Savannah GA.  I visited it here.


I vividly recall June 2010.  Let’s take June 3.  The two Hornbeck tugs there are Erie Service and Eagle Service, now Genesis Valiant and Genesis Eagle.  Minerva Anna is at one of the easternmost IMTT docks; today she’s eastbound in the Indian Ocean. But in the middle of it all,  GLDD’s Liebherr 966 was getting the channel down to 52′, if I recall correctly. Was that 966 dredge the same as New York?   In the distance the Empire State Building stood alone;  from this perspective today, you’d see WTC1.

Later the same day, and I don’t recall what the occasion was, Conrad Milster brought his big ship’s whistle down to South Street Seaport Museum, and ConEd hooked it up to ConEd steam pressure.  Hear the result here.  To date, this video has received 88,000 plays!!  Here and here are some videos of the legendary Conrad.  A few years later, I went to a marine steam festival in the Netherlands;  I took a river ferry from Rotterdam to get there.  When I stepped off the ferry and walked up the gangway to the dock, there stood Conrad.  Of course he would be there.

June 17 brought the return of Reid Stowe‘s schooner Anne after 1152 days (more than three years) at sea without seeing land!  Here‘s the NYTimes story.

Notice the toll the sea took on the paint.

For more photos of Anne, inside and out, click here.

As serendipity would have it, the day Anne returned, Artemis departed, going on to successfully row across the Atlantic in just under 44 days!  Recently, Reid has displayed art inspired by his voyage, as seen here.

June 26 John Curdy invited me to see a good bit of the Delaware River fronting several miles north and south of Philadelphia.  Overseas Anacortes was not yet launched at that time. As of today’s post, she’s in the Gulf of Mexico off Corpus Christi.

Here is Penn’s Landing and Gazela, which I sailed on later in 2010, but that’s a story already told here.

All photos in June 2010, WVD.


Today I pass a personal milestone . . . er, year stone, so the editors in Tugster Tower allow me to veer off topic . . .  first, to muse about the effect of picking up a camera and navigating life with it.  While I mostly photograph “sixth boro … and beyond” things that float, getting to and returning from the waters, sometimes I see other surfaces that beckon.  I love murals, especially.  That’s what these are.

First, I’d like to commend Monir’s Deli for a really smart mural.  I’ve never a sandwich from Monir, but the references in this strange assemblage of images compel me one of these days to stop by.  The mural also shows up in this profile of my neighborhood.   Yes, this is NYC . . .

Ditto.  Monir is in Queens, and Sofia’s on Staten Island.  I wonder who painted this first woman in a cocktail glass.  And where, when?  As with Monir’s place, I should stop by Sofia’s one of these days.

This mural was in Harrisburg PA.  I’m not sure what the reference is, but it was s a warm image on a cold day.

The rest here come from Bushwick Brooklyn.  The area at the head of Newtown Creek is certainly worth a visit.  Tagster 5 was based on a walk around there.

I find the one below disturbing.

Here below, I love the incongruity of ballet and boxing.  This outfit suggests some choreography needs doing . . . or improvising.

This is two murals:  one on the side of a truck and another behind it, painted onto the side of a building, with a sidewalk in between.

Here’s the same location shot 20′ to the left.

The chainlink fence adds a layer here.

And finally, the figure in the pigtails appears to be admiring–like me– the colorful foliage painted onto the building at the corner of Jefferson and St. Nicholas.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, taken while on the journey.

Here’s another focus for murals in the county where I grew up.


Click here for the 43 previous posts if you don’t understand the title.  If your thoughts on being the image below were of high heels sans the rest of the impractical shoe, mine were the same.  Of course, you can read Weeks 526 clear as day, so  . . . whatzit?

Here’s a bit more context.  That’s the Hudson River, old pilings for old Pier 55, I believe, just north of old Pier 54.

Piers of Manhattan once welcomed ships and ferries, cargo and passengers transitioned between land and water there.   Then people patterns changed and these piers little by little have transformed.

So what is it?!@#@!!

Come back in a few years and hang out at new Pier 55, the on–then off–then on again park idea funded for $250 million by Barry Diller.   The project reminds me of the vessel, another Heatherwick Studio creation.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, with a cell phone.   I’ve been losing a grip on patterns these days myself.

Before I started blogging, Pier 54 hosted the Nomadic Museum, for a half year or so.  I loved it.


WTGB-105 Neah Bay was the first vessel I saw along the Chicago shore . . . and thanks to a friend,

I decided that I needed to see the vessel beyond the lighthouse close up.

Previously, I’d seen it, but just imagined it was a replica.

Indeed not.  As it turns out, Abby has been Columbia Yacht Club ship since 1983.

Abegweit has a such noteworthy history that I wonder if

photos exist of her transit from the Maritimes to Chicago in 1983 . . .

Along the Chicago River, this classy wooden boat begs me to find out more info.

I then turned inland, where this poster lured me into the Chicago Cultural Center.  I knew of Alexis Rockman’s “Manifest Destiny” in the Brooklyn Museum.  I’d heard that among his many projects he was doing a well-researched series on the Great Lakes…

Six huge 5′ by 12′ panels and twice as many slightly smaller watercolors made up an exhibit.  As testimony to Alexis Rockman’s research, each panel had a key

or caption like this.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who is satisfied with just seeing northern and central Chicago.


As this blog evolves, I sometimes try to show what’s up in those hills, as seen from the hills like this one in March 2017, instead of

what you see in instances when then light is unfavorable.

Olana is the hilltop mansion above the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, built by an artist whose commercial success allowed him to travel, become inspired by the 19th century “near east,” and scrap his plans to engage architect Richard Morris Hunt and instead design and build a neo-Persian palace on the site where once he painted with his mentor Thomas Cole, whose home was just across the bridge in Catskill.

The photo below looks down the Hudson Valley toward the south.

This looks along the south side of the house facing west and the town of Catskill.  Kaaterskill Falls is lost somewhere below the front of the jet trail.

Looking out a south side window, there’s a northbound tug/barge just barely visible.

Directly behind me are these treasures.  Mark Twain–see his own house here— once stood on that stage and discoursed on all things wise, hilarious, exotic,  and jaundiced.

I used the word “treasure” above because here’s a closer-up of that unit approaching from the south–it’s Pearl Coast with a cement barge.

And now a more focused view along the south side and toward the Rip . . . Bridge, see the tug/barge there southbound?


It’s Treasure Coast, with another cement barge.  I know there’s a work of Church’s with a steam ship on it, but it’s so far eluded me.

Olana is just one place up on the hilly banks, and so other many places along the river I hope to visit . . . one of these months or years.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has posted Hudson Valley photos here and here, and in many other places as well.

As to seeing Olana from the river, here’s what morning light does,

and here below, late afternoon.

Go visit Olana some time in 2018, and while you’re there, visit the Cole home across the river..


for sale, in this case.  I’m neither the seller nor an agent for the seller.  I’m just the messenger for “a serigraph wall mural attributed to Carl G. Evers, a depiction of the busy part of lower Manhattan accurate to  1876.   It’s huge:  six 10′ by 2.5′ panels. It comes with  four more [with] blank background. A small limited run released by James Seeman, it’s  never been displayed and in perfect original condition.”

The contact person [Sara] can be contacted at, and says, “My 90-year-old grandfather has strong ties to the seaport area.  He needs to sell it. I’m trying to find a private buyer or a non profit or someone who may buy it to donate to the museum. His main concern is that he wants it to be appreciated and seen.  I’m hoping to find the right person whose interested or may know the perfect person or place.  And, you can request to see the piece at its location in Staten Island.”



For a video showing the entire mural, click here.   For more of Evers work, click here and here.

Gift hunting, anyone?

I’ve not seen the mural, but I hope it get a new home soon.




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