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How about a new day, a new month, a new year, and a new hull in the sixth boro!  Can you recognize the profiles sans color?

As it passes Norton Point inbound, you begin to make out the color.

Once well inside Gravesend Bay–that’s the west end of Coney Island in the background–the colors increase in their vividness.

Here is the moment when the new ferry,

Sandy Ground, actually enters the Upper Bay portion of the boro, where she will work, if ferry JFK is her model, until the year 2078!!  That’s 56 years from now, and I’ve no clue what the sixth boro will look like–or what vessels will traffic it– 56 years from now.  Here‘s more context on Sandy Ground, Staten Island.

Once she was inside the VZ Bridge, I ran from South Beach, where I got the photos above, to Fort Wadsworth, and caught Margaret Moran sidling up to Sarah Dann.

I first thought the final portion of the tow would be Margaret‘s, but I was wrong; 

while Susan Miller provided a close-up platform, Margaret then delivered

crew to the new ferry, and

lines came across from Doris Moran, the tailboat for the last several miles to Caddell‘s , where the protective gear will be removed and the ferry prepped for service. 

 

By this hour, the fog had cleared just enough that the iconic skyline of Brooklyn and Manhattan was blotted out, giving the illusion that the tow is still at sea. 

All photos December 31 morning by WVD, who likes illusions and unreality sometimes.

Healthy, harmonious, hard-working, hearty 2022 from all of us at tugster tower.

And if you’re not going on a First Hike today, check out Trevor’s Seapixonline from New Zealand and beyond.  Tell him tugster suggested it.

For some other high profile tows done by Sarah Dann recently, click here.

 

Look at the Staten Island ferries at St George.  “They all look the same,” I once asserted to bowsprite.  She set me straight.   Right now the second Ollis-class, soon to be newest hull in the boro, is making its way up the Jersey coastline at the end of a towline, its bow and windows boarded up for protection from waves.

So on this New Year’s Eve eve, let’s do an out-with-the-old . . . .  John F. Kennedy, currently the oldest–in service since 1965!!–will be the first out.  In fact, a fly on someone’s wall says

she’s already out of service. By the way, who were you in 1965, or what were you listening to?  Or, what were you driving or drooling over?  Watching?

Barberi [1981] will be next out, along

with Newhouse

 

And in the with new . . .  seen here next to the 1986 Alice Austen.

SSG Michael H. Ollis has been the training vessel for all three ferries of the newest class. She arrived in August here.  Whether at the dock being prepped or

running the harbor and practicing arrivals and departures, Ollis and her crew have been busy.

All photos, recently, WVD, who can’t wait to ride the new ferries and who hopes to get photos of the newest, newest hull in the boro tomorrow.

See my story on Ollis on page 18 here.

Call this grand finale, third of three on Nola traffic . . .  but of course, that’s contrived; there is no finale except to my reporting.  Powered traffic has operated here since Roosevelt, the great grand uncle and aunt of TR,  Nicholas Roosevelt and Lydia Latrobe Roosevelt, their second arrival there in 1811!  I’d love to time travel back to join them on their first trip by flatboat and their second by steamer New Orleans.

I’d put money on a bet that Federal Crimson is going to load grain for export. The grain comes down river in barges pushed by the likes of Penny EcksteinPenny is part of the huge Marquette Transportation fleet, and at 4600+ hp, she’s one of the least powerful. 

 

The 2015 Crimson is part of the Montreal-based, foreign-flagged dry bulk fleet called FedNav.

Only recently have the old Algiers ferriesArmiger and Porteriere–been replaced by the sleek catamarans, including RTA  2.  In the link for RTA 2, there’s an unexpected SUNY Maritime connection.

Blanco is part of the huge Kirby inland fleet, approximately 250 tugs and over 1000 barges.

The 2012 Pan Unity, loaded along the big Muddy is on her way to the Mediterranean, and who knows where beyond that.

The 2012 Capt Niles Shoemaker comes from a shipyard in Bayou LaBatre.

Ensemble here was headed for Altamira MX, and has already departed there back to the US port of Houston.

Capes Kennedy and Knox have been at the ready here since 1996 and served post-Katrina.

I love the grand stairs here, and find I’m not the only person who frequents them as a platform.

The 1992 Capt. Bud Bisso has operated in these waters under that name since her launch.

Salvation, 2009, is another tugboat out of Bayou LaBatre.  Salvation is also a Marquette Transportation boat.

Creole Queen stays busy.

War Emblem has carried many liveries since 1982, including Kirby colors, but her current name is rather unusual. Her operator, Turn Services, operates over three dozen vessels.

I took photos of a sister of the 2017 tanker Stena Imprimis in the sixth boro, and I’ve yet to post them.  I AM remiss!

Mark Dougherty operates for ACBL has over 3500 barges and almost 200 towboats on the Mississippi. 

 

 

The 1981 Joseph Merrick Jones has been part of the Canal Barge Co. fleet almost since its launch.

All photos, WVD, who refuses to call this a finale of any sort since the river flows on, the boats traffic 365/24, and I hope to return soon. And although this blog may seem obsessive, I try to keep my own personal levees in place to confine that energy to recording vessel traffic on this blog.

Three 2022 calendars remain in the market stall at tugster tower, $20 each.  After they’re gone, I close the merch division for another 11 months.   If interested, email me your USPS address.

I have to go back over 14 years to find the previous appearance of Tybee on this blog.  Is she still based in Woods Hole?  Has she been here and I just missed it?  I can’t say.  I would say she rolls . . .

The groupbrain internet says she’s still based in Woods Hole, all except earlier this week. 

 

SSG Michael H. Ollis continues her training runs in the Upper Bay.  I’m eager to catch my first ride aboard her.

At least when her sisters show up, crews will be trained, having done their orientations aka Familiarization 101 aboard Ollis. Anyone know ETA of next of the class?

And finally, I was thrilled to catch Susan Miller and Gabby escorting retired FDNY Alfred E. Smith to another berth.  I forgot to follow up, so I don’t know where Smith is currently located.  Anyone help?

I was fortunate to catch her with backgrounds Pier A and

the Colgate Clock. 

All photos, WVD.

Unrelated:  I’m planning a post on the 1946 Matton-built tugboat that carried the following names:  Margaret Matton, Fort Lauderdale, Evening Light, Hudson, and Chyanne Rose.  As Hudson, she worked for Reinauer/BTT from 1978 until 2005.  She came up recently in a conversation about running oil up the Passaic as far as Wallington, and I’d love to collect stories.  Please help out with stories and photos if you can.

 

The sixth boro, i.e., the watery part that holds the other boros together, is the one that never sleeps, with current, tides, mechanical denizens and their operators, their flora and fauna,  . . .  I’ll leave the list there for now.

You can read the season changing in the fact that Eastern Welder has reappeared for sixth boro clams.

Morning Claire is a regular in the boro, but last time I saw her was several thousand miles to the south.

Stolt Larix is one of the world’s largest parcel tanker fleets, but

what really caught my attention was its PBA backboard, where crew might play watch against watch. I’m always checking for hoops on ships that pass.  I wonder how good the crew teams are.

Gregg is off to assist a tanker in.

Names intrigue me, and I find bulk carriers have the best of the best, like Mega Maggie here.

Century Royal headed into the North River, prompting me to double check her provenance, and her voyage from Progresso MX to Yonkers USA tells me she’s loaded deep with raw Mexican sugar, not road salt as I’d originally assumed.

Here’s an obvious clue to season.

And finally, I’ve not yet seen the newest ferry carry any passengers, but she is training for the shuttle.  For one of my most recent articles, click here for my review of SSG Michael H. Ollis.

All photos, WVD, who’s out to see what and who he might next see.

I believe this is the first time I post a photo of 1961 FDNY Alfred E. Smith.  She was sold to private owners in 2016. 

Nearer the mainland on Pier 25, Lilac has held this berth since 2011.

USACE Gelberman has been a regular here, as has 

Dobrin.

USACE Driftmaster has worked collecting debris since 1949!  I wonder how plans to replace her are coming along. 

I could not identify this heavily-laden sludge  . . . I mean GUP . . . carrier. 

NYPD’s Cardillo and 

Hansen are two boats of the Harbor Unit, itself a part of NYPD since 1858.  Hansen has been in service since 1994. 

Soderman is the current occupant at Bayonne Drydock & Repair.

Oops!  It’s Alice and OllisAlice Austen usually runs in the wee hours, and Ollis arrived in the boro back in August and will enter service as soon as training is complete. 

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All photos, WVD.

 

Today the sixth boro and environs face Henri, whose story is yet to be told.  August 26, 2011 . . . I was at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and these Hurricane Irene signs were up.  When Irene’s story was told, it had done unusual damage upstate far from salt water;  here’s more.  Some repairs took until 2016 to complete.  From here I took the ferry to Whitehall in Manhattan, and then over I walked to South Street Seaport, where I wanted to see storm preparations.  See the story at the end of this post.  

In late August 2011, I was documenting a slow decomposition, getting footage of what became a documentary film called Graves of Arthur Kill. Gary Kane was the producer;  I was the director, or something.  If you’ve not yet seen the documentary, you can order it by clicking on the disintegrating wooden tugboat image along the left aside of this blog page.  Some of the vessels in this post are discussed by multiple sources in the documentary.  Keep in mind that these photos and the footage in the doc recorded these scenes a decade ago, almost to the day.  Hurricanes, freezing and thawing, and just plain daily oxidation have ravaged these already decrepit vessels for another 10 years, so if you were to go to these exact locations, not an easy feat, you’d see a devolution.

I’m not going to re-identify all these boats–already done elsewhere and in the doc–except to say we saw a variety of boats like this tanker above and the WW2 submarine chaser alongside it.

Other WW2 vessels repurposed for post-war civilian purposes are there.  More were there but had been scrapped prior to 2011.

See the rust sprouting out from behind WW2 haze gray.

In the past decade, the steam stack on this coastal ferry has collapsed, and the top deck of the ferry to the right has squatted into the ooze below.

Some steel-hulled steam tugboats we never managed to identify much more than maybe attributing a name;  they’d been here so long that no one remained alive who worked on them or wanted to talk about them.

We used a rowboat and had permission to film there, but the amount of decomposing metal and wood in the water made it nearly impossible to safely move through here. We never got out of the boat to climb onto any of these wrecks.  That would be if not Russian roulette then possibly some other form of tempting fate.

Most emblematic of the boats there might be this boat, USS ATR-89, with its struggling, try-to-get-back-afloat stance.  She was built in Manitowoc, WI, a town I’ve since frequently visited.

Wooden hulls, wooden superstructure . . .  I’m surprised they’ve lasted as long as they have.

Since taking this photo in August 2011, I’ve learned a lot about this boat and its four sisters, one of whom is now called Day Peckinpaugh

I’ve spent a lot of hours this month pulling together info on Day Peckinpaugh, launched as Interwaterways Line 101;  the sister vessel above and below was launched in July 1921 in Duluth as Interwaterways Line 105. The ghost writing in the photo below says Michigan, the name she carried during the years she ran bulk caustic soda between the Michigan Alkali plant in Wyandotte MI and Jersey City NJ via the Erie Canal.  Anyone local have photos of this vessel in the sixth boro or the Hudson River?  I have a photo of her taken in 1947 transiting a lock in the NYS Canal system, but I’ll hold off on posting that for a few weeks when the stories come out. What you’re looking at above and below is the remnants of a vessel currently one century and one month old. 

The Interwaterways Line boats were designed by Capt. Alexander McDougall, who also designed the whalebacks of the Great Lakes, like Meteor. Here‘s a whole blog devoted to McDougall’s whalebacks.

This ferry used to run between Newburgh and Beacon;  on this day in August 2011, we just rowed our boat onto the auto deck.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned Hurricane Irene and going over to South Street Seaport Museum.  Two of these vessels here have seen a lot of TLC$ in the past decade. That’s a good ending for now.  Helen, with the McAllister stack, is still afloat and waiting.

All photos in August 2011, WVD.

A final sentiment on Graves of Arthur Kill . . . Gary Kane and I set out to document what was actually in this much-discussed boneyard;  we wanted to name and show what existed, acknowledge what had existed but was already gone, and dispel some of the legends of this place.  We were both very proud of the work and happy with this review in  Wired magazine.  If you still want to write a review, get in touch.  It would be like writing a series review of Gilligan’s Island, but still a worthy exercise.

 

Here are previous iterations, newest hulls that have become less new hulls. 

Look closely just forward of the ferry and you’ll see a ready-made caption that this ferry is NEW.

I’m also pretty sure this is the first post featuring Dann Ocean’s Colonel.

The ferry departed the shipyard in panhandle Florida only eight days before.  For outatowners, the Staten Island ferry is free, over 200 years old, and was partly owned at one point by Cornelius Vanderbilt.  This new ferry cost just over $100 million;  two more of the class will follow.

Here are more facts about the SI Ferry.

The ferry’s namesake is a Staten Island native who died in Afghanistan almost exactly eight years ago;  for the story of SSG. Michael H. Ollis, click here.

 

The ferry was eased into the docks at Caddell Dry Dock yesterday by Colonel, James E. Brown, and Ruby M.  At Caddell’s, the plywood will be removed from lower windows and the SSG Michael H. Ollis will be prepared for service.

All photos, WVD, who hopes to hop a ride some day soon.

 

See the note at the end of this post.

Traffic in the harbor of NYC, aka the sixth boro, has a lot of unpredictability.  I tend to do a fair amount of categorizing in this blog. 

For example, this was a surprise.  Usually this vessel–Admiral Richard E. Bennis–shuttles the river between Haverstraw and Ossining,

but here it must have had business in the Upper NY Bay. Bennis had a distinguished but tragically short USCG career.

A more typical sixth boro scene is this:  Jonathan C assisting an 8200 teu Maersk ship out to sea.

The only markings on this ferry is the name, Schuyler Meyer.  Its namesake had a storied life, but my favorite stories relate to his 1991 saving and reimagining tugboat Urger.  That story is mentioned in this article from a few years ago.  It’s expanded upon in Riverhorse by William Least-Heat Moon.

In the warm months, lots of small boats take fisherfolk out to hook what’s schooling.

More containers come into the port escorted by James D., a Moran 6000.

Joyce  D. moves a small deck barge to a shoreside project somewhere.

Andrea takes bunker fuel to a recently arrived ship.

Explorer-class CMA CGM Amerigo Vespucci comes in at dawn . . . hazy dawn, with at least four tugboats getting it around Bergen Point.

A warm morning brings an NYPD launch out about

the same time as this small dragger (?) explores the outside of the channel as CSCL Brisbane comes in.

All photos, WVD, of this place that always has a rich variety of traffic…

Now if you have a few free hours, go sit somewhere near the bay, dangle your toes in the water if you like.  Or, read tugster.  Or, a new option has presented itself:  watch this new high-res harbor cam sited near Lehigh Valley Barge 79 aka the Waterfront Museum.  Or  . . . do all three at times you can.  Waterfront Museum does their cam through “stream time live”, where you can also pay attention to shipping at points in the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, and Alaska.

And if you can and if you feel like, send some $$ in the direction of the Waterfront Museum.

I’m preparing a “road fotos” post from last week’s gallivant, but along the way, I walked along a portion of the Lehigh Canal.

 

After I return to CSF with a camera, I’ll pick up part 1 again.   For now, let’s look at another ferry line that crosses the Sound.  By the way, how many ferries do you see in the photo below?

It was a foggy day in Port Jefferson that I chose to walk on for a jaunt across the Sound.

Grand Republic, certainly not the first vessel to carry that name, was getting some maintenance, so her sister vessel, P. T. Barnum, would be my ride. More on a much-earlier Grand Republic and a question at the end of this post.

This Grand Republic and this P. T. Barnum were launched four years apart, in 2003 and 1999, respectively. Mr. P. T. Barnum was a co-founder of the line, creating a ferry route that ran between his hometown of Bridgeport, nicknamed Park City,  and the port in Long Island farm country, Port Jefferson.

We backed out of the dock of a very foggy village of Port Jeff.

Here’s a phenomenon I don’t understand:  on either side of P. T. Barnum, I saw these rainbows.  Why there?

Mid-Sound we passed Park City.  She’s the oldest (1986),  smallest, and greenest of the current fleet.  When Park City was launched in Florida, she apparently made alligators fly;  read about it here.

Back in March, while in Seaside Park, one of the big parks in Bridgeport, I watched Park City sail into the port.

Later that same windy and cold March day, I watched Grand Republic sail in.

Here I’m looking north from just inside Port Jefferson harbor.  It’s worth a glance at a map to see how protected this harbor is.

All photos, WVD.

Related:  I’ve heard there’s a difference between the McAllister family and the McAlister family, the latter referred to here.  Can anyone jog my memory?  Of course, that may be yet another story than the one recounted in the 150 Years of Family Business book, in relation to the tugboat Iona McAlister.   Has anyone been to the Greenpoint bar called Grand Republic?

Mostly unrelated:  Here are two interesting postcards, one featuring the Starin  fleet, which McAllister acquired to form their own ferry business, and second . . . an appropriation of the Statue both from 150 years ago.

If you ride the ferry or just visit Port Jeff, spend a few minutes inside the office for some vintage photos like Nonowantuc (a native name for part of the Port Jeff area) and

Victor.  Info on all the boats can be found here.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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