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By now, many of you have read about the governor’s April 17 decision to use “33 barges of Tappan Zee Bridge recycled materials and 30 vessels” to build reefs at six locations north and south of Long Island.    Well, an expeditious eight days later, the first two vessels were already on the Hudson headed south.  Glenn Raymo and I positioned ourselves to document this first shipment.

Glenn positioned himself at the Walkway, where the tugs/barges were soon after daybreak.

Brian Nicholas led the procession with Witte 1405.  The Canal tender–aka T6–seemed like a toy on the barge.  For photos of some off the tenders, including T6 from four years ago, click here.

Here’s a great shot of the stripped, decapitated, and “environmentally clean”  tender.

Rebecca Ann followed pushing a dump scow.  A source says that T6 dates from the 1920s, and I’d guess that the dump scow vintage is similar.  To put this in context, check out this video of a 1928 Mack dump truck.

If you’ve never been on the Walkway, it’s a repurposed rail bridge with a “walk way.”   To catch the tow on the south side of the walkway, Glenn just stepped about 20 feet and got the next two shots.

 

Four and a half hours later, the day was bright, sun having burnt off the fog, and the tow was approaching Bear Mountain Bridge.  Walkways exist on either side of the Bridge, but one needs to cross three lanes of traffic to get from one side to the other, so I opted to take photos from the upstream side only.

Given the size of Witte 1405 relative to the single tender, I’m wondering why the urgency.  More fodder for the reef could have fit.

 

 

Note the chains used to

open the dump doors.

Many thanks to Glenn for use of his photos.  All other by Will Van Dorp, who’s thinking that if the governor holds to his word, 28 more Erie/Barge Canal vessels will descend the Hudson as part of the Reef Express.

If there exists a need for someone to document the final journey–ie, sixth boro to an actual reef location, I’d gladly step forward.

For interior shots–and more–of T6 not that long ago, click here, thanks to Tug44.

After a seiche sped us from Buffalo to Cleveland through the night, morning found us under the Cleveland Memorial Shoreline Bridge, down where the Cuyahoga flows.  Cuyahoga, to most non-Clevelanders of my generation, connotes a many times burning river of the past.

Here’s a reference to that time on a sign inside the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.  I never visited Cleveland in the 1960s or ’70s, and without these opportunities to visit now, I’d have imagined it a possible setting for a Philip K. Dickesque dystopia.  As a caveat, let me say upfront that  I’ve not lived in Cleveland, so this post is based on impressions gleaned from reading and quick visits like this one.  But

this has to be the most unexpected postscript to any predictions made in 1972.

Believe it or not, this working Iowa is 102 years young.

All these photos–except the one directly above which I took on July 4, 2016–were taken in a few-hour period of time in late July 2017.

Restoration indeed, and with the collaboration of Cuyahoga River Restoration, cuyahoga arts & culture, and  ArcelorMittal.

Yet commerce goes on. It does not have to be “either-or-or.” A 634′ Buffalo weaves through what must be a captain’s nightmare to get to the steel plant under the corkscrew path of the Cuyahoga.

 

Simultaneously, a 630′ Manitowoc exits the Old River after having taken on a full load of road salt for Milwaukee from the Cargill Salt mines extending far under Lake Erie.

For both watch standers, this has to be an ordeal of concentration.

 

 

And a waterway already juggling commercial vessels and recreationalists, trains are another factor;  all small vessels lined up as one train after another cross this bridge move expeditiously once the lift rises.

 

My early 1970s self would never have imagined 2017 Cuyahoga’s mouth, although

accidents sometimes happen.

Still, I believe the effort is worth it.

All photos and sentiments by a gallivanting Will Van Dorp.

 

I have many more Gmelin photos, but as an indication that I still inhabit the present-day sixth boro, I’ll show some sign of life for a few days.

For outatowners, Gowanus Creek (now Canal) is one of the most polluted waterways in the US, which is no secret to locals.  By the way, Gowanus rhymes with “you want us” with a silent “t.”

I took this photo this week just upstream of the 9th Street Bridge.  In fact, when a man swam down the Canal last year, he wore some serious hazmat protection, as the Media Boat shows here.

What I was not aware of is how much effort is going into addressing the accumulated pollution of more than a century.

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This barge holds several excavators at work in the Fourth Street Turning Basin, one of the dead ends in the Canal.

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As needed, the barge is moved by this small tug/pushboat that might be called 1337E.

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Besides black goop that I might photograph next time, wood and other detritus is being plucked from the bottom.

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Gowanus, there’s hope.  I’ll be back.

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Click here and here for some posts I did when I last visited the Canal . . . in 2011 and 2013.

As to connections between the Gowanus area of Brooklyn and the Erie Canal, click here.  For a photo of the Gowanus Bay New York State Canal Freight Terminal, click here and scroll to p. 22.

Near the upper left corner is JFK airport and the barrier beach along the bottom is the city of Long Beach, NY. The map makes clear how much of the debris swept off the barrier beach called Long Beach  went into low lying marshes waiting to float off again at any higher tide and clutter the waterways through the green areas, the marshes of southwestern Long Island . . . not far from sixth boro waters.

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Here’s where the landing craft from yesterday’s post plays a role.  The vessel is now called Spartina, ex-Beach Comber, Eleanor S, and 56CM 751x one of 15 identical landing craft built in Marinette in 1977.

 

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The beauty of a landing craft is its shallow draft . . . .

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Note the debris piled near the waterway . . . by the marsh ‘uns. When the landing cart arrives for removal, it does need some water, but not that much and not a dock.

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If you have waders or are willing to get your feet wet,

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or if you pick the right spot in the waterway at the right tide . . .

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you can haul away what you would not want floating in the channel.

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Other workboats in the delta include survey boats looking for sunken boats and cars, and

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various and sundy other equipment moved by the tiniest of tugs.

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Can anyone identify this vessel CW 12?  I haven’t been able to yet.

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Many thanks to Josh Horton of Horton Dredge & Dock for the ride along.   I first met Josh at the Greenport workboat festival here and  here almost seven years ago.

Here are some other Sandy Aftermath posts.

A friend took these from her apartment on the dates specified.  This one was October 27, looking across Shorefront Parkway in Queens . . . yes this is NYC.  Notice the edge of an adjacent building along the left side of the foto, the walls of the handball courts “behind” the boardwalk, the “western” tip of Long Beach on the leftside horizon, and the street lights.

Dusk October 29.

Same location, midday October 30.  Since that time, heavy machinery has moved in to break up and cart away the sections of boardwalk.  I hope to followup with fotos.  And a discussion has begun about what to do with the hardwoods of the boardwalk:  Angelique, teak, pine, ipe, Cumaru,  greenheart  . . .  Click here and here for typical articles.   And as for sewage systems, the news is not good either.

Here’s a foto Elizabeth took today as I drove along Belt Parkway . . .   yacht still along the park.

Thanks to Barbara and Elizabeth for these fotos.  FWIW, Barbara . . . who went to work every day after November 5, managed to do so without heat, electricity, or running water.

Sandy?  Of course, if you live inland from a beach, you may be scoured by the stuff.

These signs appeared along the NJ Turnpike today.

I had to return to the sixth boro from a little time spent in Philly.  I saw Lois Ann L. Moran (2009, Washburn & Doughty) pass quite close to Penn’s Landing, but she was way up by Fishtown by the time I could grab my camera.

High Roller (1969, Jakobson) passed also, but the light hardly allowed Roller‘s brilliance to show.  Scroll through for a foto of High Roller and her siblings with unique names in a post I did here over two years ago.  The dome is the Camden aquarium, where some float-through-and-over-anything hippos live.

Two weeks ago, these small craft bobbed resplendent in summery sunny, but now a storm that should be called stormy or squally or even super-tempestuous dulls their colors.

For now, get to high ground;  otherwise, batten ’em down.  Dog’em.  Double’em up.

All fotos today by Will Van Dorp.

Here’s some sixth boro area tempests of past years.  As I post this (1700 hrs), Queen Mary 2, Maersk Kentucky, and Yasa Golden Dardanel are among the last large vessels leaving boro6 for the safety of sea.

gCaptain comments on vessel heading counter-to-trend with paramount urgency . . .  here.

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.

(Doubleclick enlarges most fotos.) When I visited Village Community Boathouse (VCB) late last winter, we discussed a “photographic rowfari” to the Gowanus, come spring.  Spring has arrived, and so . .. yesterday, John Magnus and JML

constructed by volunteers at VCB were lowered into the north River at Pier 40 and

after some adjustments, the hearty crews rowed toward their destination,

making a stop to greet the folks at Red Hook Boaters near Valentino Pier before

heading farther south.

Once past Erie Basin, we turned into Gowanus Bay, past the Loujiane, the grain elevators,

part of the Vane fleet, docked where the previous tenant’s name still graces the wall,

past the experiment vessel Jerko

with its famous tender Mare Liberum. . . floating above all manner of artifacts there for the collecting . . . farther up the canal untl we reached it . . .

huge bubbles?  Reverse maelstrom?  Vortex reversus?  Belch of sludge lusus naturae?  Maybe it’s just evidence that the flushing canal actually functions in spite of its sisyphean task of cleaning what has been rendered most foul?

In spite of Gowanus‘ uberpolluted condition, an ecosystem exists, with feral cats,

mussels,

an intrepid canoe club,

predators and prey.

Is the intention of this sign (above a novel use of tires) to invite us back?  See the VCB version of events here.

Questions I have are . . .  how soon might the Canal’s Superfund status show results?

Unrelated but possibly good news related to South Street Seaport   . . .  we all who pledged may have the pleasure of sending in our Benjamin Franklins . . . .

And a heads-up for next week . . .  Hudson River Pageant, involving some of Village Community Boathouse’s rowing gigs!

Related and very important . .  . if you’re in a human-powered and relatively small vessel, be aware that you are difficult to spot for huge cargo vessels of all kinds that travel fast and have limited maneuverability.  Read Towmasters post here

Fred Trooster sent me these fotos a few weeks back from the province of Holland, in the land of windmills.  Not to push the “maricentric” idea too selectively, but this is truly a unique celebration of green on blue, produce on a canal system, small scale short sea shipping . . . if you will.  These fotos are from the “varend corso westland,” where varend . . . is related to the English word faring as in seafaring. Enjoy.

I’d love to see some of these parades.

Where might this happen in the US?  I don’t mean that as a rhetorical question.

Happy Earth Day.  By the way, what % of the total US energy diet comes from solar and wind at this moment?  Answer below.

All fotos thanks to Fred Trooster.  For previous fotos from Fred, click here, here, and here.

Unrelated:  mini-offering vessels float on Ganges-in-Queens.

Answer:  a miniscule 1.7%.  Read the story here.

Related:  37 “ridiculous” types of things removed from NJ beaches . . . .

If the repurposed green-painted police launch in the sixth boro can be called Big G, I guess this is gargantuan G, although judging by the weldprints in the portside bow, it has a history; for two decades it was an icebreaker/sealer named Polarbjorn (153′ x 38′ x 17′)  launched  in Norway in 1975.  Then, 15 years ago, it was chartered by

Greenpeace.   I wish I could be around when the history of the 21st century gets written because I’d love to know who the winners will be and (among countless other groups) how Greenpeace will then be viewed.  Even “losers” who fight good fights would be interesting to see through “future history’s long lens.”  They do know they have enemies . . . many of them, but sometimes I’m proud of who considers me to be an enemy.   Compare the bow in the foto below with what you see in this video at 1:30.    The comments in these two videos bespeak the controversies.

Arctic Sunrise has been docked at Chelsea Piers for the past few days, at the same location where Steve Irwin docked almost a year ago.

I didn’t get a tour, but I wondered about the sign “pigmy deck,”   one I’ve never seen before.

For more on criticisms of Greenpeace, click here.  For Arctic Sunrise‘s mission in NYC, click here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

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