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This is a singular image, a 1969 tugboat in a century-and-a-half-old graving dock in Brooklyn. Some of you maybe saw it on FB, but not everybody wades in FB waters. What makes this photo so powerful to me is such a combination of composition, subject matter, and light that different people will look at this and see not all the same things. Some might see beauty, and others defeat . . . or power, or fatigue, expense, challenge . . . . It strikes me as not unlike this Mark Twain passage on conflicting ways of seeing a river. And I’ll stop myself here.
Click here for a favorite I took of the 1969 YTB-803 Nanticoke, now Robert E. McAllister.
Thanks again to Donald Edwards for permission to use this exquisite photo.
And while we’re on a Mark Twain morning, at the end of this post is a clue to my summer/fall employment.
First some background . . .from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Chapter 24 . .. last two paragraphs:
“If I shall ever deserve any real repute in that small but high hushed world which I might not be unreasonably ambitious of; if hereafter I shall do anything upon the whole, a man might rather have done than to have left undone; if, at my death, my executors, or more properly my creditors, find any precious MSS. in my desk, then here I prospectively ascribe all the honor and the glory to whaling; for a whale-ship was my Yale College and my Harvard.”
New York once used a Liberty ship as a high school . . . from the late 1940s until the early 1980s, if I understand correctly. The photo below comes credit to Seth Tane. Read the print on the bow.
Here’s another photo of that school. Click on photo to see its provenance and more.
August 2011 . . . NYC Department of Education’s Harbor School takes possession of Privateer on long term lease from NYC Department of Transportation, Staten Island Ferry. It’s an ex- 46′ BUSL . . .”boat utility stern loading,” and
here’s Privateer today, after a “learn-on-the-job” transformation in which Harbor School students participated. Click here for a six-minute video shot mostly on the vessel used in vessel training AND oyster bed restoration.
Photos below show the Schottel drive unit being installed in Privateer after reconditioning.
Another one of Harbor School’s boats is Indy 7. Indy is so-named because she was one of twelve utility boats aboard CV-62 Independence, which I visited in Bremerton, Washington a few years back. CV-62 was a Forrestal-class carrier laid down in Brooklyn, and I’m thrilled that the tradition lives on, a government boat having a second life training local youth.
Thanks to Capt. Aaron Singh, waterfront director at NY Harbor School for this info and these photos. Photo below showing the Boston Whaler named Pescador comes credit of Captain Chris Gasiorek. Thanks, Chris.
If you’re reading this and you’re a graduate of Harbor School OR the SS John W. Brown School, I’d love to get a comment from you, especially about the path the school put you on.
Darell T. Gilbert took this foto . . . a hot air balloon over the water in Red Hook around the 5th of January. WTF?!@#@!! Anyone know the story?
Thanks to Sam Zapadinsky . . . can you identify this creature walking on the icy upper Hudson? Coyote? Here’s a post from a few years ago of eagles on the mostly frozen river.
Sam also took this foto from the tug Frances, which
is the forwardmost tug in this foto by Bob Dahringer. Frances and Kathleen Turecamo move crude oil tanker Afrodite into the dock in Albany, one of many water tasks that happens whether the temperatures are 0 or 100.
And finally, Mike Abegg took this foto of Alice Oldendorff in the Brooklyn Navy yard, taking on
fuel. Quantico Creek and a Dann Marine boat (either Chesapeake or Discovery Coast) assist with this operation in the ice-choked area around the docks.
Thanks much to Darell, Sam, Bob, and Mike for these fotos.
Click here for Bob Dahringer’s YouTube videos, recently with a lot of ice.
Now here from Harbin, China is a completely other reaction to cold weather.
Previously I’ve alluded to growing up on a working dairy farm, and the aging farm boy in me immediately recognizes the bundles there as some quite weathered straw. Cut the twine holding them together and there’s still some serviceable bedding in there for cows. But what structure is this?
Can straw and hay be a product of transshipment through the sixth boro . . . transferred by those cranes? Don’t those cranes look like the ones in the Brooklyn Navy Yard?
Falconia works in the livestock trade. Click on the link in the previous sentence to see her itinerary. Here and here are previous posts I’ve done on this enterprise. And this particular vessel, I first saw in the Port of Wilmington back in mid-October; whatever was happening, she entered the sixth boro over a month ago under tow, as captured here by John Watson.
The white-red-blue flag here is the banner of the aptly-named Corral Line. Search around that link a bit and you’ll find views of the interior of the vessels, scenes I’d love to see.
Falconia is the saltwater version of the Amazonian livestock carriers pictured here . . . fotos 11 and 12.
My uninformed guess is that the 1973 Norway-built Falconia is here with propulsion issues. Click here for what may be a fairly new foto of the vessel.
All fotos here by Will Van Dorp, who still has many fotos from the Mississippi Valley.
Think of the sixth boro as a destination/origin as well as a crossroads. WMEC-905 Spencer anchored in that point of convergence as of midday.
In points not far from Spencer and the Statue, cargo destined for/originating in this port was moving only if it could transfer in the harbor, petroleum liquid, like here, congress happened between barges powered by Pati T Moran and Sassafras as Meagan Ann passes by with a scow. For debris?
Kimberly Turecamo stands by with Long Island itself . . . well, a fuel barge by that name. The spirit is greatly willing to move fuel to faltering consumers on the shore, but the distribution system is broken, for now.
Nicole Leigh Reinauer awaits the green light.
St Andrews with barge on this side and Kimberly Poling on the other . . . like thirsty twins on their mother, Glory Express.
Traversing the sixth boro . . . Marion Moran pushes LaFarge barge Adelaide to points south.
Supply boat ABC-1 passes tanker Favola.
Diane B waits with a barge. A problem is that debris like blowaway and sunken containers may lurk unseen at the transfer docks.
Doris Moran, with another LaFarge barge, makes a power turn from the North River into the East River.
A cluster of DonJon vessels–tugs Mary Alice, Thomas D. Witte, and Brian Nicholas–attend to crane barges Columbia NY and Raritan Bay on some “unwatering” project just west of the Battery Coast Guard station.
Transiting the sixth boro from south to North is Apollo Bulker. More fotos of her later. She may be headed to Albany.
Ken’s Booming & Boat Service tug Durham passes the “seeing boat” Circle Line Manhattan.
Over by the Brooklyn Navy Yard, schooner Lynx heads for the Sound, past an East River ferry.
And–this just in–as of 1900 hrs tonight, APL Sardonyx became the first container ship to enter Port Elizabeth,
escorted in by McAllister Sisters and Barbara McAllister. Interestingly, see the foto here of her as one of the first into the port post-Irene!! Here’s another shot almost exactly two years ago of APL Sardonyx.
And a bit later, APL Coral came in, escorted by Elizabeth and Ellen McAllister.
Outside the Narrows waits USS Wasp, recently here five months ago for Fleet Week. A pulse has been re-established.
I am mindful that many residents of the area are hurting. My prayers go out for relief for them soon. Folks who suffered through post-Katrina are also sending along their prayers and encouragement, their solidarity with Sandy-afflicted.
We went through a “reboot” here 14 months ago, but this one is going to be much tougher.
Actually that title captures 98% of this blog’s +1800 posts. And just as elsewhere in Gotham or anywhere else, so on the sixth boro what work you see depends entirely on your station. And my station this particular day was Tchefuncte River’s Equitable Equipment‘s hull # 1428, delivered in August 1966 as Red Star Towing‘s New Haven. Now she’s Freddie K. Miller; I took the foto below just over five years ago when she was Stapleton Service. I use this foto here because a downside of being on the tow is my inability to get a foto OF the tow.
At 0520 hrs, dawn was sweetest and coolest, from this point a mile south of Miller’s Launch. When I reported at 0530, the Miller’s yard was already busy.
Douglas B. Gurion headed west for passengers. The ferry is named for a victim of September 11.
0730 . . . we had passed under the Brooklyn Bridge and now could feast on this potpourri of Manhattan skyline. Side by side on the right are Gehry’s flowing-facade 8 Spruce (2011) and Gilbert’s spiky-tower (1913).
0815 . . . the crew have tied to the ConEd dock and Weeks’ crew has begun setting the spuds, for stability as the load is transferred. My very general understanding of this load is that ConEd purchased equipment from Manufacturer M. Company A trucked it to the Weeks yard because installation by land (by Company B) was less feasible than installation from water. Miller’s job was to move equipment on crane barge to ConEd so that Weeks–with collaboration from Company B–could set equipment exactly where it will be used.
Since my self-appointed job is to record details, check out Carolina IV, sailing westbound on the East river . . . hailing from Stockholm, Yes, sailing! and . . . yes . . . that Stockholm while
1215 . . . the spuds are up, the crane boom lowered and secured, Freddie K Miller has spun off the dock and now heads back westbound for the Weeks yard. If the grayish vessel in the foreground is locally known as a “honey boat,” then this has to be one of the sweetest scenes possible in these parts.
Meanwhile, close to Manhattan, Asphalt Star takes on bunker fuel from a Vane barge. That black hose . . . that’s like the hose at the pump where you fill your car tank.
By 1400, I’ve said my thanks to the crew of Freddy K Miller —who await their next job on this or another vessel–and the dispatcher, and take a break to examine a familiar sight: Alice, she who inspired my first ever blogpost!!
Question: any guesses what/where this structure is? Answer follows.
Dry Tortugas Light on Loggerhead Key–three miles from Fort Jefferson– first illuminated navigators in 1858, this month 143 years ago.
The first light in the Dry Tortugas-a place to stock up on turtle meat-was first lit in 1826, but according to the tour guide, that brick light tower was razed in 1877 because its location too often directed approaching vessels over reefs to their doom.
Fort Jefferson-the unfinished coastal fortress also known as the second largest masonry structure on Earth (after the Great Wall of China)–would never have been started if the US government had heeded the 1825 recommendation of US Navy Commodore David Porter (adoptive father of the future Admiral David G. Farragut!!) because of its lack of fresh water and stable bedrock for foundations. Four years later, the US government accepted the recommendation of the next Commodore–John Rodgers–and began construction of the structure that failed in the ways Porter predicted and was obsolete before it approached completion.
By the way, Porter had an intriguing career, including being prisoner of both the Barbary pirates (1803-5) and the British Navy (1814) but also Captain of US naval vessels, court-martialee after his unauthorized invasion of Fajardo, commander-in-chief of the Mexican Navy (1826-29), and US ambassador to the Barbary States and Turkey. Imagine someone trying to do those things in that order today.
In the foto below, notice the different colored bricks.
The bricks of different colors reflect the origin of the brick: again . . . according to the tour guide, bricks produced in the South before the Civil War have resisted time well. After 1861, bricks came here from Maine (!) and have fared less well in this climate.
If you imagine you see window air conditioners where guns should be, you are NOT imagining that. National Park Service employees live inside the Fort and have added contemporary creature comforts.
Key West Light–through various remodelings– has stood here since 1847.
Less than a block away is the house where Hemingway lived in the 1930s.
You might call it a “cat house” today, where the dozens of poly-toed cats have names like Picasso and Dickinson and Truman . . .
Time for a few Hemingway quotes? “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” And “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
But check out this title! I’d imagined he’d say something like “There is no way to make good pictures . . . the best way to make them is . . . to make them.”
At least Hemingway had taste in naming his boat . . . which I hope to see some day, not easy to do because Pilar is at Finca Vigia in Cuba. More fotos here. Pilar was once in Brooklyn! Brooklyn’s Wheeler Shipyard (I believe it was in or near the Navy Yard) made out a bill of sale to the writer on April 18, 1934 for a “38-foot twin cabin Playmate cruiser” with “one [75 hp] Chrysler Crown reduction gear engine” and “4-cylinder Lycoming straight drive engine” for trolling for a grand total of $7455. For a thread on a discussion board related to Pilar, click here. Pilar was Hemingway’s q-boat.
My question is this: How did Pilar get from Brooklyn to Key West? Did someone make a delivery by water? Ship? Train? And does anyone know if Valhalla, Pilar’s sistership, has been restored after its accidental sinking in 2007?
So that first building . . . here’s the rest of it as seen from Jacksonville Beach. It’s the 1946-built Art Deco life saving station, not a lighthouse at all. A beauty though.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.
Really random . . . starts with this foto thanks to Maureen Cassidy-Geiger. More of hers to come, fotos of other waters directly accessible FROM the sixth boro of NY and NJ. This foto of unidentified cruiser and tug was off Livorno, Italia. Hmmmm . . . maybe we need a new government agency with initials SBNYNJ . . . another place to get permits from and provide studies for . . . hmmm NAH!!
Next two fotos from Bill Whateley showing a tug delivering a crane barge off the island of
Spinalonga east of Iraklion, Crete. Bill usually blogs about the South Devon coast.
Moving into the waters that ARE the sixth boro . . . Elk River and Peter F Gellatly cater to the needs of Carnival Glory at the Manhattan passenger terminal.
Thanks to Maureen, Bill, and Justin for some of these fotos. All others by Will Van Dorp. If you wish to share what you spot in exotic places–all accessible from the sixth boro because of the miracle of water–I’m happy to post.
Off topic: last night northbound near Haverstraw Bay, I crossed path with –I believe–southbound steam yacht Cangarda. Meeting this vessel around midnight in a wide, dark, calm part of the river almost seemed like an encounter in a dream, a pleasant hallucination. Has anyone spotted her southbound on the Hudson this week? If so, I’d love to put up your fotos; grainy fotos I don’t like to use. . . . sorry. Here’s a TV news report from last week about Cangarda.
Remember, if you’re in NYC and free tonight . . . Working Harbor Committee is presenting movie and panel: Women at Sea. If I didn’t have to work, I’d be there.
I’ve posted a set of fotos about this vessel here before, but still been unable to learn anything about it. It lies where Westchester Creek (In fact, click on the link and you’ll see another foto of the same grounded vessel!) flows into the East River west of the Whitestone Bridge. And not that I haven’t looked, though it’s clear that my searches have focused on the wrong places. Uncorroborated stories are these: it was coming from South America, the owner abandoned a plan to turn Christina or Cristina into a floating restaurant . . possibly in Philadelphia, it was dropped off there to mark a shoal. A search of NYTimes archives from 1920 until 1980 turns up nothing about either this grounded vessel or
When spring actually gets here and work slows down, I plan to put a human powered vessel in this area and look around more. Thanks to Robert Apuzzo for these fotos.
But . . . as often happens, I found some interesting info on other groundings in the harbor in the past 80 years . . . yes, one happened in the East River less than two weeks ago, as of this writing. Some of these include:
Dec 1936 freighter Malang Roosevelt Island, then Welfare Island
Aug 1951 battleship Wisconsin (actually North River near NJ across from 79th Street)
Oct 1955 battleship Wisconsin Diamond Reef
Dec 1972 tanker Vitta (659′) south of Ward Island, spilling 150 tons of oil
April 1979 tanker Algol East River off 10th Street. If you have a NYTimes subscription, you can read the article here, telling that six Moran tugs came to the assistance of Algol in sprite of the strike then happening.
Apr 28 2005, a gasoline barge struck Diamond Reef, with some spillage. See here.
Meanwhile, if I don’t find some info on that top wreck, I’ll succumb to all the imagined histories, maybe even embroider them a bit, and call it fiction. Not so bad, eh?
Unrelated: Check out this site dedicated to the waterway leading from Rotterdam to the North Sea . . .Maasmond (mouth of the Maas River) Maritime.