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I was about to put up a different post–that’ll be for tomorrow–when Jonathan Steinman sent along these photos. As I post this, tug Challenger is eastbound on the East River, approaching Hell Gate. The question on Jonathan’s mind, as well as mine and maybe yours . . . what is that assemblage balanced on the barge?
For outatowners, this photo is taken from the east side of Manhattan, looking over Roosevelt Island in the direction of Queens. The red-white chimneys are part of the Ravenswood #3 Generating Station aka Big Allis. And against the sky to the far right, you can see the tops of the towers of the Queensboro Bridge, aka the groovy 59th Street Bridge.
It looks somewhat like a floating dry dock door, but I’m inclined to guess that it’s a vessel component.
Here are some previous quite unique photos sent along by Jonathan. Jonathan . . . thanks much.
And here was Whatzit 24.
Know the location?
I took it from a southernmost point in the Bronx looking eastward toward North Brother Island . . . the brick chimney to the right. I can’t identify either the Weeks tug or the current usage of the red-and-white striped stack to the left.
By the time I got back to the sixth boro, the pink “M” on Moran tugs was once again white. The only photo of a Moran tug I managed in the whole month of October was the one below, a photo of a photo of a Catherine Moran in the lobby of a restaurant in Lockport. Label says . . . as you can read it . . . “Lockport 1939.” Would this have been the vessel built by Neafie & Levy in 1904?
As to the pink ribbon, I was happy to see it.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
Here was 13.
Can you guess the origins of this freshwater vessel?
I’d think the underwater structure here is something of a clue.
I’ve no idea how many years ago this house was added.
Here’s another clue, although it might be quite the distractor.
I like the off center crane.
Check 1929 on that above clue.
This is a plan of the ferry WARD’S ISLAND, designed by Eads Johnson, and built for the New York State Department of Mental Health in 1929 by Electric Boat Co., Groton, CT (slow year for submarines?). Steel, diesel, 101 ft. x 32 ft. Retired in 1937 by construction of bridges.
Many thanks to Norman Brouwer for the above drawing and identification. Photos by Will Van Dorp, who needs to find out what propulsion engine (s) the derrick vessel has today. I’ve also not found a photo of Ward’s Island prior to her conversion. Photos were taken along the Oswego Canal.
A search for a photo assignment sent me to the August 2009 section of the universe, and these photos served as a cold water shock . . . how much stuff has changed in under five years. Crow of course is as “good” as gone, but do you know which tugs are attached to Freedom and RTC 28?
How about Vernon C on Freedom and
Janice Ann Reinauer? In 2009 there was as much demolition happening on the Brooklyn side as is now crumbling on Manhattan side.
And from the same week . . . K-Sea was still in full force here. Where is Greenland Sea today?
And this classic . . . Kristin Poling along with fleet mate . . .
John B. Caddell, which as recently as last week was still awaiting the torches and jaws of repurposing.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
Oh . . . this could be the first of many time warps.
If there are eight million stories in the naked city, then there are at least 80 million perspectives, and what I love about social media is the ability to share many more of these than can otherwise be seen. Take this one . . . sent along yesterday by Jonathan Steinman. Big Allis sets the location as about a half mile north of the bridge now named for Ed Koch. And the vessel . . . the current and VI version of Empire State on the first day . . . of Summer Sea Term 2014 and not yet out of its East River home waters. Greets to all the cadets on deck enjoying the mild spring morning. Click here for the previous versions of Empire State: I II III IV V.
And tailing . . it looks like McAllister Girls.
Around midday yesterday, Empire State was here (the blue icon off St George) and not quite 24 hours later,
she’s off Montauk.
The previous photo from Jonathan–which I never shared–was this, taken in midMarch. If you’re not from the area, that’s the East River with Roosevelt Island making for a quite narrow channel. That’s Shelby (of shuttle fame) and Freddy K Miller (ever morphing) team-pushing Weeks 533 (lifter of Sully’s ditched 1549).
And if you’ve forgotten what my –and many others’ focus was in midMarch, it was
Many thanks to Jonathan for sharing these photos.
Here’s a photo I took almost four years ago of the SUNY Maritime training ship returning home from Summer Sea Term.
As I meander through my internal miasma, the blog stays noir–more accurately noir/blanc–with another set of screen shots from the NYC Municipal Archives, this time all 1940s . . .Department of Sanitation tugs Spring Creek, Fresh Kills, and Ferry Point, docked in the East River. Fresh Kills aka Miss Laura . .. is she still operating out of Duluth?
Here’s another shot of Fresh Kills aka DS 43 off the Bellevue Hospital. Anyone know what became of Spring Creek and Ferry Point?
Can anyone identify this 1941 tug moving coal scows eastbound into the East River off the Battery?
Undated but in Erie Basin, it’s SS Waziristan next to a floating grain elevator. It turns out that in early January 1942, SS Waziristan–bound from New York to Murmansk– was sunk by Nazi air and submarine attack off Bear Island, Norway, lost with all 47 crew.
Help me out here . . . an unidentified tug docking an unidentified ship in Erie Basin in 1940.
Meanwhile off Tottenville, here’s a fleet of US Army transports . . . mothballed from WW!?
I believe this is a different ghost fleet in roughly the same area. Notice the Outerbridge in the background. Is this where all
this debris lies today? Actually, I took this photo and the next two just “north” of the Outerbridge in August 2010.
All the vintage photos here are from the NYC Municipal Archives, where too many photos have lamentable scarcity of captioning.
First, if you’re free today and within travel distance of Lower Manhattan, do yourself a favor and attend this event, 4 p. m., a book signing by Dr. James M. Lindgren. His new book is a much needed complement to Peter Stanford’s A Dream of Tall Ships, reviewed here a few months ago. Details in Preserving South Street Seaport cover almost a half century and will enthrall anyone who’s ever volunteered at, donated to, been employed by, or attended any events of South Street Seaport Museum. Lindgren laments SSSM’s absence of institutional memory saying, “Discontinuity instead defined the Seaport’s administration.” Amen . . as a volunteer I wanted to know the historical context for what seemed to me to be museum administrations’ repeated squandering of hope despite herculean efforts on the part of volunteers and staff I knew.
As my contribution to creation of memory, I offer these photos and I’d ask again for some pooling of photos about the myriad efforts of this museum over the years.
Pier 17. April 17, 2014. According to Lindgren, this mall opened on Sept 11, 1985 with a fireworks show. Its demise may by this week’s end be complete.
April 12, 2014. Photo by Justin Zizes.
Feb 23, 2014.
Jan 21, 2014 . . . Lettie G. Howard returns.
Sept 20, 2013. This is the last photo I ever took FROM the upper balcony of Pier 17.
Sept 12, 2013.
July 2012. A fire had broken out on the pier, and Shark was the first on scene responder. Damage was minimal, despite appearances here.
Now for some photos of vessels that have docked in the South Street area in the past half century.
July 2012 . . . Helen McAllister departs, assisted by W. O. Decker and McAllister Responder.
June 2012. Departure of Marion M as seen from house of W. O. Decker. Photo by Jonathan Boulware. The last I knew, Marion M is being restored on the Chesapeake by a former SSSM volunteer.
Lettie G. Howard hauled out in 2009.
2009. The Floating Hospital . . . was never part of the SSSM collection.
2009. Maj. Gen. Hart aka John A. Lynch aka Harlem.
Helen McAllister with Peking and Wavertree. Portion of bow of Marion M along Helen‘s starboard.
Mathilda posing with W. O. Decker in Kingston. 2009.
Moshulu now in Philadelphia.
2005, I believe. Spuyten Duyvil (not a SSSM vessel) and Pioneer.
Thanks to Justin and Jonathan for use of their photos. All others by Will Van Dorp. For many stories on these vessels, that mall, and so much more, pick up or download these books and read them asap.
Between spring 2004 and summer 2007, I volunteered about 1000 hours at South Street Seaport Museum, or SSSM, mostly on Pioneer but also on W. O. Decker and Lettie G. Howard. The experience was exhilarating—learning the lingo of schooner sailing and the lines and procedures, rustbusting and painting, all good for maintaining youthfulness and toning up aging muscle. Without my time at SSSM, there might never have been this blog called tugster about a place I imagine as the sixth (and primary) boro.
What pulled me away from volunteering was my sprouting curiosity about all the other vessels and projects and careers in the harbor with more tugboats than I could recall without the assistance of my camera. Downloading my photos after a day’s sail would lead to a night’s worth of googling, to learn what I could about the boats, companies, cargoes, and ultimately the crews. Volunteering there felt focused too exclusively on SSSM and their vessels’ tracks from Pier 16 back to Pier 16. This frustration should not have surprised me, given my lifelong wanderlust and curiosity.
SSSM has stayed with me though. One sweet memory I carry of SSSM is of the stories I heard as a volunteer about the time of creation, creation of the museum, that is. But these stories came in fragments, and the gaps between have triggered lots more questions. The more I heard, the less I felt I knew. A Dream of Tall Ships, covering the time period from 1967 until 1974 in 500 pages, is like a vessel loaded deep with memories filtered through the recollections of Peter and Norma Stanford, founders of SSSM. The account is detailed and peopled with legends from a half century ago, a time when nautical giants were feeling the urge to preserve what remained of commercial sail, both coastwise and global. People like Alan Villiers and Karl Kortum, “ship savers” who inhabit this book, strike me as optimists who could imagine second (or “new”) lives for these old vessels built a century or more before. The Stanfords recall their travels to places like Punta Arenas and the old port of Buenos Aires to purchase Wavertree, one of the tall ships that seem in hibernation down at SSSM today. The photo below–taken from among the over 60 images in the the book, shows Wavertree in the condition SSSM acquired her.
The book describes a time in the history of SSSM and New York City when it seemed that only the brightest future could lie ahead. When SSSM sponsored an event, the most powerful, brightest, wealthiest, and most generous of the city rolled up their sleeves and weighed in. In a timeline of SSSM events in the postscript pages of the book, names appearing include Jack Kaplan, Brooke Astor, as well as Laurance and David Rockefeller. Then there are giants like Pete Seeger and Burl Ives. At a January 5, 1968 meeting at the Whitehall Club to launch SSSM’s James Monroe Luncheons, the pantheon of New York’s maritime industry showed up to listen to ocean historian Robert G. Albion speak. NY political elite like Mayor Lindsay were there, as was the famed naval architect Howard Chapelle.
Real estate struggles existed already back at the creation, but it seemed manifest that SSSM would grow into a premier maritime institution, center of the New York State Maritime Museum, and more. Stanford documents the growing membership. New York was heady with the growing fleet of tall ships and other interesting vessels. Exciting happenings like Sea Day seemed to spread a love of the city’s connection with the sea, an event that predates “City of Water” day.
But don’t take my word for all the memories in this book. I hope enough of you read this book—skim quickly through the too-long segments about martinis and such– and maybe if enough of us start to glow again with embers long ignored, maybe new energies will again start up the dream to make SSSM a street of tall ships that will inspire seafarers of the future.
As I stated earlier, the book has over 60 photos, like the one below showing Wavertree first arriving at the museum, and
this one, showing ARA Libertad docked at the SSSM in July 1969 after delivering a portion of the Wavertree‘s topmast, shattered off in 1910 while rounding Cape Horn. Two other interesting notes about the photo below. First, when the Commissioner of Ports and Terminals tried to block Libertad from docking at the SSSM pier, Libertad‘s Captain Vazquez Maiztegui responded, “Libertad will berth in New York at South Street Seaport, no other place.” Second, at around the same time, Pete Seeger and Clearwater put in there to celebrate her first arrival in New york.
I immensely enjoyed this book. My only regret is that it didn’t contain 160 photos or 1600 photos. For example, on September 20, 1968, a Bronx River Towing tug delivered the vessel today known as Lettie G. Howard to Pier 16; I’d love to know more and see a photo. Square Rigger Bar & Grille is repeatedly mentioned; let’s see at least the facade. I’d be thrilled if an electronic addendum of photos from these early years could remedy this.
Again, get the book and read it soon.
Click here for some previous reviews I’ve posted.