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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. 

Palatine Bridge is where the lodging was, but the trail runs on the south side here, so when I departed at a bit past 0700, I needed to cross back to the Canajoharie side and then head east.  In the middle of the river/canal, a boat heads east as well, to get out of the canalized river before the locks close  . . . a few days hence.  As I write this, the canal has closed for the season.   The photo below was taken in the same location as photo 4 here

Visible to the east of Canajoharie is the Noses, a geological fault, the gap that has made this a trail since time immemorial.  See the fog between the two ridges?

Here’s a shot from the Thruway a bit to the west, but the photo illustrates the localization of fog in the Mohawk valley in early fall . . .  the water is still warm whereas the air is at least 20 degrees cooler.  The fog effectively illustrates the water course.  Yes, I have a crack starting in my windshield.

Back to the gap, I took this photo from the bike trail, the southernmost thoroughfare through the gap.  Next is 5S, next are the four lanes of the Thruway aka I-90, next  . . . where the boat is is the Mohawk, and beyond that and not visible in this photo are the existing railroad–Amtrak and freight–and then 5N.  The vessel is Hornblower Express, being repositioned to Toronto, also getting through the system before it closes for the season

The bike trail here looks like this.

The next town headed east is Fultonville, across the river from Fonda.  Traveling on the water, you barely sense Fultonville, but named for the artist and tinkerer associated with steam-powered river transportation, this town has been here since the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825.  Below, that’s the Fultonville Reformed Church.

A bit east of the church is the old West Shore freight house, a remnant of the  previous life of the bike trail . . .   once the railed trail 

A half dozen miles to the east, we cross Schoharie Creek.  That’s the Thruway bridge in the distance;  Schoharie Creek is the Mohawk’s largest tributary.  The Mohawk and lock E-12 lie behind the photographer here.

Still see the Thruway bridge in the distance?  The bridge serving as my photo platform and bike trail here no longer serves cars and trucks . . 

As I rode I craved fruit.  This time of year, the wild grapes are very tasty.

A half dozen miles east of Schoharie Creek is the old lock 28 and Yankee lock.  The ridge in the distance is the location of Amsterdam NY.

Here that ridge continues as part of western Amsterdam NY.  Note the rail traffic on the opposite side of the Mohawk?  Pink containers come from pink ships . . .

A half dozen miles east of Amsterdam is Rotterdam Junction NY, the home of the Mabee farm, and this the oldest house extant in the Mohawk Valley.  Adjacent to it is the old Mabee family cemetery.  I first came to the Mabee farm more than a decade ago for the building and splashing of Onrust.

And another stretch beyond that, just before lock E8 is the Hungry Chicken Market and country store in an excellent location not 500 feet from the bike trail.  I knew I was approaching my day’s objective . . . Schenectady, so it was a good place to have a snack before the end of the day’s ride.

That’s it for reportage and photos from my day 6.  I could have continued on to Waterford that day, but I was ready for a shower and a rest.

I spent two nights in Camillus because the forecast saw high winds and rain.  A day in bed did me good, although I felt a bit guilty until the rains came.  In early afternoon, when I took the photo below, I took this color photo from my window, feeling happy to be indoors. 

The next morning, headlamp on, I made for the bike trail.  I was crossing the main rail line when the sun rose.  After several miles of riding, I crossed it again because of an unmarked detour on the trail.  A trail bridge at the SW end of Onondaga Lake was under construction or repair, which led to a long back track.  For a story highlighting the connection Syracuse once had to tide-and-salt water, click here and scroll to the bottom.

I had google maps as well as Gaia GPS, and it cost me a lot of data, but I made it through the labyrinth that was Syracuse.  Highlights were the Niagara Mohawk Building, and  

a short revisit outside the Erie Canal Museum. Significant is the fact that Erie Boulevard, seen to the right on the photo below, is a portion of the 19th century Erie Canal that has been filled in.  Other “Erie Boulevard” locations in NYS are also atop these filled waterways.

Once east of the streets of Syracuse and eastern suburbs, I made it to the 36-mile Old Erie Canal State Park, a welcome relief, and a must-pedal area of the trail.  The trail lies atop the towpath, and long stretches of extant canal have water in them.  I saw folks fishing.

A few years ago in the fall I’d visited Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, where I took these photos of circus life on the canal.  There’s much more to see as well.  For now, I had miles to go . . . so andiamo.

I stopped to see vestiges of 19th century industry, like this clay pot factory, located for easy and safe transport of the fragile cargo.  Now . . .  we choose to use plastic ones . . .

Onward . . . I zoomed through Canastota, my “easy goal” for the day.  Then Icrossed the NYS Thruway and headed for Rome.  The trailside of the Verona town buildings made for a “canvas” for muralists.  The Stark’s Landing reference means that this location a century and a half ago served as a transport and cargo handling center.  

Now this section of the canal was empty and although land was farmed, no indication remained of the previous supply chain modes.

Eventually I crossed the contemporary canal at lock 21, passed the junction lock, and followed the NE bound trail into Rome.  For some good views and the “junction lock” and the NE bound trail, click here and see photos 3 and 4 from last.  

It was another 50-mile day . . .   technically longer given the detour just west of Syracuse city.

Report and photos . . . WVD.

When you see lettering like that, you know it’s either old, or pretending to be.  In the case of this Prudence, it’s the real deal.

All kinds of details can be found in this article, but if you want to hear it from me . . .

She dates from 1911, all wood, built at the Irving Reed Shipyard in Boothbay ME as Madeleine, and is one of less than a handful of “coastal steamers” still extant.

She survived the 1938 hurricane.

In 1921, she was sold from Maine to Bristol RI interests who named her Prudence.  At one time and possibly still, she has rope steering.  That I’d love to see.  Once steam, she was dieselized more than a half century ago.

All photos, WVD.

Recently reefed . . .   Jane.  I took this photo from the Arthur Kill in September 2016.

Built in 1939 at Pusey and Jones, she went from Jane to Adam J to Jacklyn to Erica to Jane . . . and now to the bottom as a fish house off Jones Beach NY;  she lies in 51′ of water.   Here‘s the story.

Hoss (1962 and ex-Chauncey and Sharon C and sister of Patricia and Kristy Ann Reinauer) was put down off Ocean City MD less than a week ago, 81′ down, I’m told.  Here‘s a link, but it’s on FB.  I took the photo below near Norfolk in January 2011.

Information catch-up . . . A couple weeks back I did a post on the 2001 Great Noith River Tugboat race, and there was a question about the Class 1 winner.  Powhatan won according to the

trophy.

See it upper right side.

However, to further complicate matters, Rich Violino writes:  “ I along with Steve Munoz was aboard the Janet McAllister. On the trip back to the yard, we were told that the Z-Two had been declared the winner. But as the trophy attests, that was not accurate.”  With such a contentious result, I’m happy there’s not millions hanging on the results.  It is, after all, a fun day out . . . at least I think it is. 

And below . . .  over by South Reach, the green icons is CMA CGM Panama;  she certainly has a record for the number of escorts.

And finally, from a post I did five years ago with photos from Harry, check out what a harbor crowded with recreational boats looks like . . .   Click on the photo for the context.

Photos from HT, Steve Munoz and WVD.

 

 

I’ve never “reblogged” before, but this is a good post and a good day to do it. Nine years on from this post, and 19 years on from the event that prompted this, I’d have thought we’d be more united.

tugster: a waterblog

Knowing what I knew, Maurania III headed up to the North River–where recently she raced– could only mean one thing, especially

given her accompaniment by Ellen and Elizabeth, also wearing the canvas frocks.  What it meant was that

USS New Yorkhad done its local doing and was

bound for sea.  We’re two days off the one decade anniversary of

quite the tragedy.

By the way, I’m with Bloomberg on this one: please stop calling it ground zero.  Let’s move on because time has moved on.

Also, for the record, we have a local election in my voting district, and I will hang up every time pollsters call and ask if I feel less or more secure now than before 9/11.  It’s a stupid question.  IMHO, be vigilant, but there NEVER is such a thing as complete security, although I’m grateful for those who endeavor to keep…

View original post 23 more words

As of this morning, USS Slater is back to Albany again, after its latest shipyard visit.

Below, thanks to Tim Rizzuto, are some photos from exactly 27 years ago, showing two McAllister tugboats assisting the large Russian, now Ukrainian, tugboat Gepard, which successfully delivered Slater from the Mediterranean to the sixth boro. I know this is a digression, but Gepard has an “exciting” history.  It’s still working, currently in the Black Sea.

Maybe someone can assist in identifying the two McAllister tugs.  This photo shows the significant difference in beam:  Gepard 66′ and Slater 37’…

 

From 1993, let’s jump to 1997.  Jeff Anzevino got the following photos as the destroyer escort made its initial trip up the Hudson to Albany.  Jeff has contributed many photos to this blog, going back almost to the beginning.  The tug pictured her is Rainbow, currently called Patriotic, which has been in the Morris Canal for quite a long time.  Patriotic is a 1937 Bushey build.

Also assisting in the 1997 tow were Benjamin Elliot and Mame Faye!

Jeff also caught the tow back in 2014.  And  . . . is that Margot on starboard?  That IS Benjamin Elliot on port.

Many thanks to Tim Rizzuto and Jeff Anzevino for use of these photos.  If you’re interested in donating to USS Slater.org to help defray expenses, click here.

I’d really appreciate identification of the McAllister tugs above.

My previous Slater posts can be found here.

 

Serendipity is as scintillating as any fireworks. And I hope today’s post is an illustration . . . .  Can you make sense of the photo below?

A car carrier came into the sixth boro less than a week ago, and I happened to be in a place that afforded this perspective.  Just luck.  It reminded me of the question about the tree falling in the woods when now one’s around.  If I’d not been at my location when Liberty Promise steamed by, would it really have happened?  What a name, too, Liberty Promise, and a Jones Act RORO with a registry given as NY NY!* This is unicorn-rare, folks.

*Someone got a waiver to make this a Jones Act RORO, built 2010.

I keep most kinds of politics (eg, partisan) off this blog, but celebrating as profound a political holiday as Independence Day . . . the foundation day, is paramount. The oldest magazine in the world, The Scots Magazine, had this reaction in August 1776  to the Philadelphia signing:  “these gentlemen ‘assume to themselves an unalienable right of talking nonsense’.”  That’s some wit!

Take some time in the next few days to think about a country of over 331 million celebrating liberty’s promise, and how that promise gets fulfilled.  My vantage point, my perspective for taking this photo was entirely unique;  no one was within a 100′ of me when I took it; similarly, remember that your perspective on July 4 in the USA is personal, unique, and that means 331 million folks have a different perspective on everything, including liberty’s promise.

By the way, as of this posting, Liberty Promise has just entered Jacksonville FL.

All photos, WVD, whose previous independence day posts can be found here. I plan to spend the day/weekend working,  chasing a “spectacular warship” down the Hudson.

Happy 245th!

 

 

The 1968-built  Chemical Pioneer is a long- and multiple-lived vessel.  Here‘s a photo of her, then known as C. V. Sea Witch, in 1970.  She entered history books in the sixth boro on the night of June 1 into 2, 1973, most of you likely know the story of her tragic encounter, fatal for 16 mariners, collision and subsequent fire with SS Esso Brussels, loaded with Nigerian crude. Fire engulfed both ships and as they dragged anchor under the VZ Bridge, threatened the integrity of the bridge.

Thanks to Steve Munoz, here are photos of Esso Brussels taken several months later

at the Todd Shipyard in Hoboken, which closed two years later, part of a cascade of lost shipyards in the sixth boro.

Later that year she was towed to Greece, where she was rebuilt and emerged from the shipyard in 1974 as Petrola XVII.  She carried the name Petrola--with various number suffixes–until she was scrapped in 1985.

 

Here’s the rebuilt C. V. Sea Witch, now called Chemical Pioneer.

 

Many thanks for these photos to Steve Munoz, who had been aboard McAllister Bros. with his uncle Capt. Bob Munoz.  I could have called this “Thanks to Steve Munoz 20.”

Unfortunately, the disaster of early June 1973 has not been the only one in sixth boro history.  NY Tugmaster’s Weblog devotes a post to some of these, with three most horrific ones occurring in the month of June.  Many thanks to Capt. Brucato for compiling these with links to the final reports.

Interestingly, the hull of PS General Slocum was converted to a coal barge, and it sank in December 1911.  Texaco Massachusetts was towed to a shipyard,  repaired,  and returned to service, as were two attending tugboats, Latin American and Esso Vermont.  Dramatic photos of the Texaco Massachetts/Alva Cape post-collision fire and rescue efforts can be seen here. Alva Cape was eventually towed 150 miles SE of the Narrows and sunk.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

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