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Of course, every day is water day in the sixth boro of the city of NY, and it’s great that MWA and other sponsors have chosen for five years now to recognize that fact . . . on a big “get out on the water” day . . . because who OWNS the port . . . ultimately WE do, you and I, as citizens of this country.  Many organizations manage it, enforce regulations in it, and fund educational activities about it . . . but WE own it, the port, the water . . .  and support it with our taxes and our votes.

Enjoy this set of twelve fotos taken over roughly a 12-hour period yesterday.   At daybreak, Pegasus and Urger were still rafted up on Pier 25.  This foto shows two boats whose combined longevity adds up to over 215 years!!

Resolute was northbound over by the Murchison-designed Hoboken terminal . . . which means a larger vessel needing assistance MAY shortly be headed for sea.  Here’s another Murchison-designed mass transit building in what today seems an unlikely location.

North River itself works tirelessly as part of the effort to keep sixth boro waters clean.

Urger poses in front the the Statue.  Lady Liberty was a mere 18-year-old when Urger (then C. J. Doornbos) first splashed into the waters of a Lake Michigan bay.

Launch 5 races downriver.

Indy 7 shuttles folk around as Soummam 937,  the first Algerian warship ever to visit the sixth boro leaves for sea.

Little Lady II and a sailboat negotiate passage.

Laura K and Margaret Moran escort in container vessel Arsos (check its recent itinerary at the bottom of that linked page) and weave their way to the Red Hook container port through a gauntlet of smaller vessels, including Manhattan.

Catherine C. Miller moves a small equipment barge back to base.

Fire Fighter II hurries north on the Buttermilk Channel to respond to an alarm.

A flotilla (or bobbering or paddling or badelynge) of kayaks crosses the Buttermilk.

Pioneer tacks toward the north tip of Governors Island, leaving Castle William to starboard.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp on Bastille-sur-l’eau Day.

Related:  I was overjoyed to read the NYTimes this morning and find this article about a vessel calling at Port Newark!!  Bravo.  Back a little over a week ago I was miffed about this article . . . about the port in Trondheim, which could just as well have been written about skilled workers anywhere in the sixth boro.

Also, I’m passing along a request from the Urger crew:  if anyone sees a foto of Urger crew in any local print publications, please tell me so that I can look for a clipping to pass along to them.  Thanks much . . . .

Unrelated:  From today’s NYTimes Book Review section, an essay by Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp on Woodie Guthrie, who would have turned 100 yesterday.

By the way, from Mitch’s Newtown Pentacle, can anyone identify the tug in this post?  I can’t .

Bowsprite made my jolly Easter even jollier with her post here, rendering the silvery ovoids of Newtown Creek aubergine.  These digester eggs are an essential part of keeping the harbor clean.  See this DEP link as a starter.  Boston has similar structures on Deer Island, which are part of the same process.

Here’s another shot of Newtown Creek’s facility, as viewed from Peter Cooper Village across the East River.

And yet another view . . .  as seen from a boat on the Creek, the loins of 19th century industrial New York.  Yes, that’s the now-scrapped Kristin Poling  back in 2010.

As bowsprite points out in her post . . . yes, there is a proverbial “recreation area intertwined with a waste disposal equipment” around these eggs . . .  a boat launch, a minipark with historical info on local names like this.

This DEP vessel Red Hook  is the newest addition to the NYC DEP fleet, which I wrote about quite some time ago here.   If you’ve ever seen a vessel of these colors in the sixth boro, you’ve witnessed NYC fertilizer production at work.

Enough seriousness . . . .  this post has to be leading into a gassy direction.  Imagine this as a multi-hued digester filled with so much lighter-than-air vapor that it came loose from its Newtown Creek moorings.

What if engineers could isolate the light gaseous by-products of digestion so that passenger

craft like this one that circled the harbor last weekend could be exotic-fuel powered?

More digesters in evolution?

And this bit of blue jetsam along the KVK . . . might it expand to digester size . .  and if so . .  what might hatch from this?

OK . . . back to my serious world.  All silliness aside, New York City school kids DO come down to the park around the eggs to see and learn . . . using this “scavenger hunt guide.”

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Here are 4, 3, 2, and 1.  Ooops . . here’s another 1, featuring a June K.

Winter’s not over, and there has already been SOME call for salt on roads and walkways, but mostly it’s been a low-salt season around the sixth boro.

The other morning I thought I’d see bulker Irene rotated by Ellen McAllister, but it turns out

Ellen was lying in wait for the container vessel appearing

around the bend.

The salt trade is ancient.  Since I’m thinking about gallivants a lot these days, I recall hearing about salt caravans out of the Sahara to ports in North Africa for trans-shipment to Europe.  Even if I didn’t travel on a camel, seeing salt slabs in traditional boats on the Niger River . . . would suffice.  Back in 1977 I was finished with a job in Cameroon and had the option of adventuring across the Sahara (hitchhiking) through another desert city called Agadez, and opted out.  I still regret that choice sometimes.  Two friends did it.   I thought of this again recently while reading Vuvuzela Diaries.

What traveled north for centuries was salt as well as gold;  what traveled south to Timbuktu were European “luxury” goods, including books.   Here’s another BBC video on the scholarly libraries of Timbuktu.

If mild and dry weather prevails for the rest of this winter, Mt. Salt will remain here along Richmond Terrace.  The small vessel off Irene‘s stern here belongs to the NYC DEP.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

GB15 was here.

About the foto below, I love  surprising discoveries like this:  Rikers Island has a launch, Officer Guy Hudson.  I wonder if the launch has ever figured in searches for escaping Rikers’ inmates.  Click here for foto and video tour of Rikers.*

Below foto taken last weekend, Kojima has made the sixth boro an “annual” stop the past two summer solstices!  I also spotted them here in early summer a few years back, too.  Suppose they come for the mermaid parade?

Thanks to Captain Zizes for this foto of the Bravest, the most recent FDNY Marine unit, commissioned less than a month ago on May 26.  Info thanks to Harold Tartell.

Another shot of EPA Bold arriving through the Narrows a few weeks back.  I love the small boat on a trailer on starboard side.  Bold was docked at Riverbank State Park–the park over the sewage treatment plant!!–less than two weeks ago.

Lower Stapleton (?) serves as homeport for this fleet of speedy USCG vessels . . . just north of the Narrows.

Yesterday’s post featured a Robert Allan tug in Italy; here’s Fire Fighter II,  the latest Robert Allan-designed fireboat in the sixth boro.

Special trash skimmer DEP Shearwater . . .  I’d love to hear more about it, and is Jamaica Bay still around also?

I believe this is an NYS Environmental Conservation vessel over by SUNY Maritime;  Wednesday it was having a hard time dragging some docks . ..  horsepower YES but torque NO.

Foto #3 thanks to Captain Zizes.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelateds:  Has no one gotten a foto of Cangarda in the past 36 hours?  Does the unique vessel only steam Captain Nemo-style under concealment of night?

And the NYTimes CityBlogs had this article recently . . . a story about the tug Petersburg;  a foto of a certain deckhand handling Petersburg lines appeared here almost two years back on tugster . . . see the last foto.

Finally . ..  if you’re free Sunday night, come to BAM’s short film series for Jessica Edwards’ Tugs.  I think I’ll be there.

*Embedded in the Riker’s Island link is some interesting budget info:  Riker’s recent budget info (?.. ok this takes more sourcing) reveals that it spends $860 million at the correctional facility to “control”  [wikipedia’s term] 14,000 inmates with 7000 corrections officers and an additional 1500 civilians;  less than 20 miles to the southeast, Nassau Community College (NCC)  spends $200 million to serve 22,000 students with 740 fulltime professors number currently in flux)  and  an undetermined (by me) number of parttime professors and administrative folks.  I realize that Rikers has to feed, house, etc. their 14,000 “controlees,” but also added into the equation should be that NCC students depart with skills for upwardly mobile jobs.

Let me illustrate the point I made in Something Different 3.  Suppose you were reading a river chart and saw a place labeled “Burden Point.”    And suppose it looked like this.  It suspect it’d make you wonder about the origin of the name, imagining that some weary wretch struggled unsuccessfully to make something happen on that point of land on the wrong side of the tracks …

Burden Point is a real place though, and those tracks support a loco Amtrak racing by many times daily.  Info on the Burden follows.

Another place freighted with evocative name and debris is Port Ivory, just slightly to the west of this foto.  Makes you wonder, and I think that’s good.

The charts mark Pot Cove  as near near here.  I had to make the fotos somewhat interesting.  By the way, that’s tug Quenames sliding a barge under the rail bridge near Hell Gate, and beyond her starboard is the Bronx, DEP sludge central, possibly sludge tanker North River.

And one last rather uninteresting foto . . . Bushwick Inlet poking into Greenpoint, Brooklyn from the East River.  Know how this place is connected with Burden Dock?

Bushwick Inlet was once the home to Continental Iron Works, where the ironclad Monitor was built.  And the iron used in the plate, well, that’s the Burden connection. Burden Dock is named for Henry Burden, one of the Hudson valley’s most prolific inventors with iron, a name I didn’t know until I started digging prompted by the weary dock name I spotted last weekend.  Burden made superb train wheels and horse shoes for the Union army as well as iron plate–shipped downriver from his iron works in Troy–for the construction of Monitor.  The hills inland from Burden Dock supplied ore for all Burden’s projects. See p. 13 of this issue and p. 9 of this one for references to Burden’s Hudson River Ore and Iron . . . although that whole magazine has enthralling articles in it.  Kudos to the Columbia County Historical society.  Interesting also is that Hudson River ore was superseded by that from the Mesabi Range.

Now without that name and a little wild debris–a shack on a barge or dock transforming itself back into wilderness–I’d not have felt invited into this past.  I’m grateful for the names, at least.  Port Ivory has this story, better smelling though less fabulous than you might have imagined.  Pot Cove was once a native village.  Upriver are Anthony’s Nose (maybe named for the proboscis of Peter Stuyvesant’s aid Anthony Corlaer  and Kidd’s Cave.  Mr Stuyvesant himself enjoyed a well-endowed proboscis.

Tugster wish list:  Can anyone share scans/fotos of the ghost fleet off Jones Point (at the base of Dunderberg Mountain) from the mid-60s to the early 70s.  In 1965, 189 vessels were anchored there.

Tangentially related:  The sixth boro is dotted with an archipelago of islands from the famous Manhattan to the obscure Hart, where Melinda Hunt has brought the dead to life.

Spot on related:  Check out hudson river explorer, Dennis Willard’s blog.

Finally:  A tip of the hat to Rick of Old Salt Blog for his compendium of haunted ships . . . for tomorrow.    I’m off gallivanting up the Hudson Valley for Halloween.

Need sunglasses for this drama on the Hudson?   “Random” means … spotted  in a plethora of places, like Elizabeth, passing the Hudson waterfront at dusk with a barged Weeks crane 532 in tow.  Note the Crow or Cheyenne in push gear with barge on the far left.

Paul T Moran at Gulf Marine Repair in Tampa.  Not to be insensitive to customary modes of dress, but–as east river pointed out– doesn’t this vaguely like a burka or abaya from the eyes down on the tug?

Justine McAllister pulling a light RTC 120 south of Catskill.

Atlantic Coast pushing Cement Transporter 5300 south of –you guessed it–Cementon, NY.

Meredith C. Reinauer pushing a loaded RTC 150 toward the Highlands.   By the way, if you’re looking for a fun read, try the novel by T. C. Boyle called World’s End . . . my current source of chuckles.

Sea Hawk in Brooklyn Navy Yard last June appearing tied up to sludge tanker North River.

Connecticut (1959?) crosses the Sound north to south.

That’s it for now.  Thanks to Deb DePeyster (who previous contributed to this) for the foto of Elizabeth,  and to eastriver for the foto of Paul T Moran.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

Quick post here.  Laura K Moran rousts Westerhaven off the dock.  Notice the docklines at the bow, starting to unlace like a shoe.

F. Dawson crosses the Buttermilk Channel.

Socrates gets some bottom scratching.  Uh . . .  if Socrates gets lavished with this sort of attention, who’s minding Sugar Express?

Why . . . Sugar‘s having a blast in the same shipyard–GMD–of course.  Click here for some earlier fotos from GMD.

And to conclude, here’s GMD from the water . . . with North River and Sea Hawk waiting outside the door.  By the way, does anyone know the specific role played by that (obsolete) horizontal antenna atop the building in the background right?

All fotos this week by Will Van Dorp.

As I walked along the esplanade near Battery Park City the other night, I talked with some fisherman dangling hooks over the sea wall.  “Ling,” one replied when I asked about the catch.  But it looked so small.  Is there a legal minimum size for ling?   Here Eastern Welder drags just north of the Narrows;  dredger Padre Island and container ship  HanJin Colombo approach from sea.   Anyone help with a fish identification?

Here’s a closer up of Eastern Welder.  Use the search box upper left to find fotos of Eastern Welder from previous years.

Dragger (?) Gale fishes over in a  . . .  fertile area of the harbor, where

another set are not far behind.

No no no . .. this was NOT taken anywhere near New York or the sixth boro.  This is Plan B, a Gloucester herring seiner.  Get Joey’s guided tour here.

The skiff, loaded astern, is deployed to help set the purse seine.

For a variety of fishing boat fotos, click here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Related: I’d love to hear about conflicts arising between draggers in the harbor and other limited maneuverability vessels.  And some day, I’d love to learn what these draggers catch here in winter.  For winter fishing farther north . . . downeast, check out George’s post.

. . . actually I wanted to call this “Ida don’t exist,” at least not as a hurricane, as remnant winds tore through the sixth boro in the past 24 hours . . .  I’d guess we saw barely a moderate gale, force 6 to 7?  Dangerous enough, and from the breakers I spotted looking southeast from the high point on the VZ Bridge, seas to take seriously out in the Ambrose Channel and beyond.


But sludge still needs shifting,


ships with prophetic names have to be sent packing,


Mount Salt requires tending,


chemicals transfusions must flow,


contents of many  hundreds of containers cannot be done without.  Bruce A. McAllister escorts.


Danaos Maersk Messologi‘s bow watch stands his station, as


only 18 or so hours are allotted to the task.


Robert IV (1975) also has work to do, and so do I.  Ida has mostly blown herself out and that has


all the difference.  Now Odin . . . the ultimate “house” to avoid windage!

aaaaaiAnd speaking of windage and waves, check this out:  barge La Princesa broke free from Sentry off Virginia Beach while bound from Puerto Rico for Philadelphia area.  Another job for Titan?   Slideshow thanks to Harold and YouTube thanks to Joel.

I’m off gallivanting soon, following Ida downeast, from a distance.  “If the sun were shining, I’d’a gone today.”

Here’s to three-word sentences:  Ida don’t exist.  Ha!  like “diamonds are forever.” Yeah right.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Weeks’ Elizabeth has sharp chines.


A hint of Dr Jekyl/Mr Hyde in United Banner.


Susan Miller with spud barge, almost full frontal.  Completely full frontal of anonymous gull.


Oxygen . . .  Don’t those anchor flukes look a bit like . . .  eyelashes?  What was that odd eyelash conversation I had recently?  Kimberly Turecamo to starboard and Laura K Moran to port.


Adriatic Sea emphasizes the vertical; bow wave defines the horizontal.


John B. Caddell with very little freeboard.


Linda Moran: difficult to anthropomorphize once I see the stacks as horns, unless the stalk plus upper wheelhouse plus mast is perceived as unusual headgear.


Newtown Creek moves in with goal posts.

aaff7What would Rosemary McAllister look like with a Cornell-esque pudding?

aaffrmKT Venture is the first bulker I’ve seen offload salt directly at the Atlantic Salt dock, site of the late August Salt Festival.  More KT Venture soon.

aaffssKatherine Walker approaches, with a buoy in each cheek.


All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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August 2021