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Not far from the East River yesterday and at an intersection checking for oncoming traffic,  I spotted this half a bock away from my intended path:  round fenders, distressed paint, and chrome stacks too?

I found the nearest parking spot and walked back, with spring to my step.  What is it?  The chrome spikes where trim pieces once attached revealed some attitude.  Hey, it must stem from pride, right?

The owner happened to be right there, so we talked.

News stories notwithstanding, you see vehicles like this all over the five boros surrounding the sixth, right?  So any identification?

 

And the ID is . . .

1949 Plymouth Business Coupe with a 1950s Willys pickup box molded into the trunk, making this . . .  what else . . .  a TRUCK. And besides the original-but-modified body and front clip, everything else makes this a throbbing epitome of speed.

All photos, WVD, who thanks to road miles recently logged has another Truckster! post already in the pipeline.   Always keep your camera ready!

 

See the name on this black-hulled yacht?  Note the simple upper helm?

Check again as we pass.  I took these two photos back in July 2016, making that the Mt. Hope Bridge and beyond that, the Brayton Point cooling towers, now gone.  Pilar?  Maybe you’ve heard of it in relation to Hemingway and currently in Cuba.

Pilar was hull #576 from Wheeler Yacht Company, launched in 1934 and taken to Key West, not a water delivery until Miami.  April 5, 1934 was the day Hemingway himself went to Coney Island to order his new boat, a 38′ Wheeler Playmate.  That day is described well in this post.  If you want to read hundreds more pages about the boat and Hemingway, read this tome by Paul Hendrickson.  I read the 700-page book, hoping to learn more about Coney Island, but besides that, I learned the minutiae of all of Hemingway’s trips on the boat, which he last saw in 1960, when he was advised to leave Cuba and not long before his death.  Pilar is still in Cuba, one of two Wheeler boats there.  More on that at the end of this post.

The “Pilar” shown here was launched in 1933 as Elhanor, hull #527 and five feet shorter than Hemingway’s boat, a 38-footer that cost him just under $7500 in 1934.

Besides yachts, Wheeler on Coney Island Creek built vessels for the US Army, Navy, and Coast Guard.  They built over 200 patrol boats for the USCG, like the one below.  Click on the photo for more info. One is being restored in Seattle.   Howard Wheeler opened his shipyard on Coney Island Creek in 1910, but by 1950, this facility and another in Queens, were gone. 

Here’s the general location.

It’s a tidal waterway adjacent to the water portion of Gravesend  Bay.  I rowed up in and its many wrecks some years ago here and here. If you’ve never seen the yellow submarine aka Quester, here are photos. 

Let have a look at the Wheeler Shipyard then and now. The b/w photos are all from  Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection. That’s the Cropsey Avenue drawbridge open with a yacht coming through from the shipyard, looking from SW to NE.  For a closer up look at the photo below, click on the photo.

Beyond that bridge, this was the exterior of the shipyard in January 1944;  around a shipyard that builds wooden boats and ships, you’d expect to find lots of lumber.

And inside, you’d expect scenes of curved, clamped, and glued wood.

Here’s a photo I took of Cropsey Avenue Bridge, looking SE to NW, because it’s the shot I could get. Just off the left side of the photo is the Starbucks.   From my location, I then shot SW to NE

to where the buildings of the shipyard would have been.  Absolutely nothing of the yard remains.  To the left is a parking lot and supermarket;  to the right is a furniture store.

More info on Wheeler Coney Island can be found here. The other Wheeler boat in Cuba is Granma, the vessel that in 1956 took Fidel Castro and his fellows from Mexico to Cuba.  The captain of the vessel then was Norberto Collado Abreu, who had received US Congressional recognition for his service with the Cuban Navy in WW2. For a long read on the boat and Capt. Abreu, click here.

All photos othjerwise uncredited, WVD, who visted Hemingway’s Key West house here almost a decade ago.

And if you’re interested in buying a replica of the Wheeler 38, you can.  See here. More on the original Coney Island boat here.

A similar post on a marine service business (MSB) I did here not quite two months ago.

Arthur Tickle Engineering Works (ATEW) is now gone, but other marine service businesses (MSBs) remain.  I’ve long thought to do a series of posts about the MSBs like Caddells, GMD, Bayonne Drydock, Hughes Marine . . . and many others. 

A while back, Steve Munoz sent these along, and it’s taken me a bit to figure out how to place these photos, but that’s it . . . MSBs, a series I’d love to do, and I can start it here.  Steve’s father worked at ATEW for many years and until it closed in 1987. 

I’ll use Steve’s captions with my annotations in [  ].  Below   … “is a picture of the ATEW, established in 1904. Photo shows the delivery wagon and probably Arthur Tickle himself at the front door.  He died in 1945.”  [I wonder what the letters on the side of the horse wagon says, some precursor to FedEx?]

“This is the ATEW building housing the machine shop probably in the 1920s.”  [Is that a Ford?]

“Ship’s rudder being repaired in one of the shops.”

“This poster was published in the Maritime Activity Reports on November 15, 1945 showing the number and types of ships converted, repaired and altered, including some specific names, during the war. All of these repairs were completed along the Brooklyn waterfront. One of the conversions was the former MV Carnarvon Castle, a Union-Castle Line ocean liner before the war, requisitioned by the Royal Navy for conversion to an armed merchant cruiser and then converted to a troopship by ATEW in 1944.” 

[I looked up USAHS Aleda E. Lutz, USS Pontiac, USAT Colombie, USAT Kota Inten, USAT Cape Canso, MV Marechal Joffre, USADS Blemheim, and USADS Lock Knot. Some of those links have photos.]

“The steel yawl named Steel Sylph was built by the various shops at ATEW for Arthur Tickle, Jr. in the 1940-50s. I assume that it was launched in Brooklyn as the bow of a ship can be seen in the picture at the launching, but does not appear to be at Pier 4 as the BQE is not seen in the background.”  [Steel Sylph is listed as placing in the Newport to Annapolis race in 1947.]

[This is a very formal looking photo of an unidentified gent.  That would be a fun one to colorize.]

Steel Sylph was designed by Philip Rhodes.

“During WWII, ATEW leased a number of piers from the New York Dock (NYD) Company in Brooklyn south of the Brooklyn Bridge to repair military and commercial ships supporting the war. After the war, the ship repair business slowed down, but ATEW continued to repair ships into the 1960s at pier 4 such as the SS Comet Victory seen in this photo. Pier 4 was demolished sometime after the year 2000.”  [I presume this photo was taken from the promenade.  It might be fun to go there today and reframe/redo the shot of the skyline from 120 Wall to just south of the Staten Island ferry terminal.  Can anyone identify the tall rectangular building directly behind 120 Wall and obscuring most of 70 Pine?  In the foreground, that space is now Brooklyn Bridge Park, as seen from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.]

“A bronze propeller was cleaned and repaired in the foundry shop and

returned to the SS American Aquarius, probably as a spare.”  [On the frame of the flatbed I read W. J. Casey, a trucking firm that still exists, although they’ve moved from Brooklyn Bergen Street to New Jersey.  Here‘s their site, which has some antique trucks from their past fleet. ]

“The SS Cape Catoche in the Hudson River on a hawser behind the tug Dalzelloch and the tug Fred B Dalzell alongside. The ship was going to/from the Jones Point reserve fleet in the 1950s. In the 1960s many ships were taken from the reserve fleet to Brooklyn where ATEW had the contract to prepare the ships for the Vietnam sealift. For one ship the capstans and winches were opened in the machine shop for USCG inspection and because the components were in such bad shape the whole ship failed inspection and was subsequently sold for scrap. This occurred with a number of the ships. ”  [Looking at the dates here, there may have been more than one SS Cape Catouche, although I’m not certain.  Clearly, this move was made in winter.]

“ATEW repaired the ship’s turbine and reinstalled it in the engine room on the SS Pomona Victory. My guess is that the ship was docked at Pier 4 Brooklyn as ATEW leased this pier for years from the NYDock Company. Note at least one Liberty ship docked in Manhattan across the East River having gun tubs and the ship having the turbine installed had a gun tub and life rafts indicating that this picture was taken during WW II or very shortly after since I do not see any guns.”  [This view of the Manhattan side south of the Brooklyn Bridge shows a very different place than is located there today.  Someone more familiar with that stretch of riverfront might enjoy identifying which buildings are still there;  I recognize the Woolworth Building directly below the suspended turbine, and 120 Wall and 70 Pine buildings to the left.  That opposite shore would be the area of South Street Seaport today;  I’d love to find a photo of that same area from the Manhattan side, maybe looking down Fulton Street.]

Many thanks to Steve Munoz for his comments and use of his photos. 

I have a bunch more “cypher 12” calendar-ready ideas to come, but time flows, changes and evolution press, and I don’t want to get left behind.  Again, I’m NOT selling calendars, but they are easy to make.  

Back eight years ago I did a post called Labrador Sea.  There she is below, photos I took yesterday.  You’ll notice a radically new paint job.  There’s a name change as well.  She’s still pushing the same barge, but now she’s Brooklyn, the latest Brooklyn.

 

DBL25 she’s pushing was the same formerly Kirby/K-Sea barge, and if you scroll through here, you’ll see DBL25 as paint was making her transition from a K-Sea to a Kirby barge.

Below is a photo from February 08, 2017 showing her in Kirby livery.  I’m wondering if the crews moved over to Vane with the boat.

All photos–yesterday’s and February’s–by Will Van Dorp.

The parade lasted at my location from 1300 until 1530 . . . so many more photos–a few hundred–stay in the archives.  This last installment can be called vehicles and politics, although political caricature might be more accurate.

A few days before the parade, my friend Orlando Mendez caught these three vessels headed eastbound, just off the beach.  Yes, three.  Notice the front of the bow of a tug on the far side of the lead houseboat.  Anyone know who that was?

Maybe it was a mermaid trojan vessel . . . since a certain resemblance can be seen here . . .  I don’t know the name of this silvery submarine . . .

Behold the flying merlendas . . .

Andy Golub‘s creations,

a Farmall ratrod,

a Ford red belly,

Clamilton,

clever signs,

the repurposed composting true that

allows me to get a self-portrait  (Notice how few spectators surround me . . . .),

floats with

cheery self-takers,

and then the politicizers and caricaturists…

I wonder . . . this looks like the crowned figure made an appearance

TWICE!

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

Yesterday’s post was the lead-up.  The parade never starts until the man with the Coney drum steps out.

This year mermaid queen was Debbie Harry.

After that, it was lots of dancing and music. . . .  click here to listen to Fogo Azul’s Brazilian sound.  See more Fogo AzulNYC here.

I love the beer can on the drum here, and

the edginess of playing an electric oud in the rain . . . Gypsyfunksquad . . . I made a video of them last year here.

The fog and showers seemed to animate the musicians and dancers, and

 

 

heighten the colors, like

this fierce contender, whom I

had gotten a close-up of earlier.

I’ll wager there were more people in the parade than watching it, generally a boon for photographers….

 

 

Crop rotation mermaids included soybeans, wheat, and  . . .

corn.

 

Colors and hoops and

. .  . crescents or arcs?

Colors abound but

this has to be the strangest dazzling costume ever . . .

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  Tomorrow . . . the odd bedfellows of mermaids, vehicles, and politics.

 

 

Here’s the most explicit explanation ever on this blog about Coney Island–part of Brooklyn–and the parade that’s happened there each summer solstice since   . . . time immemorial almost.  Today’s Daily News used adjectives like dreary, gloomy, and unruly to describe the day . . . .  Unruly? . . . we’ve been an unruly nation since even before the merfolk started coming ashore.  Dreary and gloomy . . . we’re talking about creatures who spend their lives in the watery parts of the world;  as they assembled, they seemed delighted to have only some water.  The NYPost actually got the story better this time.  These merfolk musicians played their hearts out in the rain. . .

These danced on sidewalks as they splashed their way to the gathering point . . .

hopping puddles with all their appendages and finery  . . .

But this year I first noticed the checkpoints merfolk had to negotiate  . . .

I don’t know if TSA served as consultant here.  I’ll call the gatekeepers MSA, and

they were pleasant .. .

 

as were merfolk.

From inside the gathering point, Ford’s Amphitheater, a human version of a hermit crab’s shell . . . some thrashed about,

others–although this may be a terrestrial wearing deepwater shoes– looked longfully out to the wet streets where they preferred to be,

some mimicked rain,

some imitated human material culture they’d seen around the sixth boro,

some rehearsed their music,

and others just showed the souvenirs they’d purchased during their annual shore leave.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.  More to come tomorrow and Tuesday.  Click here for previous mermaid posts on tugster.

I’d be interested in hearing from the Netherlands where the Coney Island event has spawned a Dutch version, called Zeemeerminnen parade . . .

 

Fly the Whale, that is.  And you can watch it all from the Barge Bar on the East River.

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Click here for a short video showing how to beat traffic . . .

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Of course, seaplanes or flying boats are nothing new to the sixth boro.  Click here for a short video of a Dornier Do-X arriving in a tugboat-filled harbor in 1929.  It has no sound, but if you want to hear the details, here’s another longer video.   Keyport NJ’s Aeromarine was operating long distance flights from the sixth boro even earlier.

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Watch them come and go

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as

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you

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watch from

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here.  For seaplane prices, click here.  But it costs nothing to watch, which is the right price for me.

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Click here for a previous post on Keyport.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp, who thinks that the photos in this post from February 2015 is an invigorating reminder of winter on a hot day.

Also, yesterday Marie Lorenz competed her journey in a rowboat from Buffalo to the sixth boro, and in true DeWitt Clinton fashion, she celebrated her accomplishment by pouring out some Lake Erie water into New York harbor.  See it and much more here.

In case you’re wondering if this blog has gone adrift . . . I’ll just plead solstice-ogling syndrome.  Why stay on course when a grape popsicle 1949 Mercury oozes by like this, and it’s tickling your tastebuds and it’s

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for sale, although I did not ask any particulars.

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Only at the mermaid parade could you get a photo like this, although the photographer here might

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be photographing the Chevy here with a right angle spy lens.  Or maybe she was putting me in the frame?

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Rattus rod!

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I’d let this guy park for free.

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Mesa sunrise on this mid-1950s Lincoln?

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And finally, seeing this old Ford made me remember this unit from

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way south Coney Island Caribbean.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who has now recalled that although Coney Island is surrounded (mostly) by the sixth boro, it is still part of Brooklyn.

 

I’m not going to count, but there must be dozens of posts here with photos from or some mention of Paul Strubeck.  Here I’m pleased to dedicate a whole post to him in part because these photos make me see the sixth boro with new eyes.  Enjoy.  Cornell . . . by foggy night and compare to my photo from about the same day but at dawn here and scroll to the third photo.  The location is the soon-to-open Brooklyn Barge Bar, where I’m eager to imbibe a sunset beer. Also in Paul’s “roll” of film are

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Pinuccia and Specialist mostly obscured,

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Captain D ,

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Nanticoke passing the East River Seaplane base,

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an unobscured photo of Specialist,

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Sea Robin secured to Sugar Express at the sugar plant in Yonkers,

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James William,

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and Foxy 3 pushing a Thornton barge, which

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brings us back to a great photo of Cornell, which Paul used his special lens for.

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All photos here are used with permission from Paul Strubeck.  Thanks much, Paul.

Unrelated:  Here’s an East River seaplane photo I posted here many years ago. And a photo of Sugar Express towed south by a former fleet mate of Sea Robin.

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