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Many thanks to John Skelson for sharing these photos . . . and I’ll leave you guessing for a day or so.
Notice the vessel westbound in the background. In the foreground, that’s Caddell’s with an Erie Lackawanna tug and a dilapidated ferry. The mystery vessel is what’s in the background.
The bridge needs no identification although the Bayonne shore in the background looks opener than it currently is.
The number of tugs is just fabulous.
And to return some color to the blog, here are Gary (right) and I sharing a beer after the show last night. Thanks to all who attended and to the crews of five interesting documentaries. I hope to see more of the festival Saturday and Sunday.
Again, thanks much to John Skelson for sharing the mystery photos. Now . . please weigh in.
So it’s appropriate to lead these NYC Municipal Archives photos off with tugboat Brooklyn.
Next in an icy North River (?) . . . . . . Richmond.
Launches Bronx and
Passenger steamer Little Silver, which ran between the Battery and Long Branch, NJ in the first decade of the 20th century.
And finally . . . John Scully, a very classy Dialogue (Use the “find” feature to search) built built tug
And the connection . . . here’s what boats of this vintage look like today in “disintegration experiments” in waters everywhere. I took these in August 2011 while Gary and I filmed Graves of Arthur Kill.
Some boats of this time, of course, still operate like Pegasus (1907) and Urger (1901)
while others try to stave off time so that they might once again like New York Central No. 13 (1887).
I didn’t want to call this post “something different 19″ because clearly it wouldn’t be different from the previous days. A pattern has emerged, and then I realized that part of the pattern is that these photos depict some of the unidentifiable vessels lost in boneyard or ship graveyards like the one focused upon in the documentary Graves of Arthur Kill. Here they are, in their prime or at least working although forgotten.
All the photos in this post were taken during the Great Depression, by photographers who were funded through the WPA, Works Progress Administration. I am grateful this documentation happened. And my caption are based on the captioning–specific or general–accompanying the photos in the archives.
Below . . . US Gypsum tug. notice the Bayonne Bridge on the horizon near the left edge of the shot.
Photographer Ralph de Sola took this shot of tug Sarah and much smaller one without a name I can find.
I’m intrigued here by the “car float” marked “Brooklyn Jay Street Terminal . . .” shifting rail cars from right to left. Is that a McAllister tug on the far side? And is that how the Staten Island ferry terminal looked in the late 1930s and what is the building on the water left side of photo where the Coast Guard Building is now located?
Here’s an intriguing E. M. Bofinger photo dated June 1938, taken from . . . foot of Wall Street? If Bennett Air Service is at all related to Floyd Bennett and the now unused Floyd Bennett Field, it’s noteworthy that Floyd Bennett himself had died–age 37– in April 1938. Click here for many more Bofinger photos.
Another photographer of water scenes in the archives is James Suydam. Here are piers 13 through 15, the area currently just south of South Street Seaport. Prominent against the sky then was 70 Pine, just to the left of stepped back 120 Wall. The other two are 40 Wall (with antenna) and 20 Exchange, south of 120 Wall.
Here’s a photo attributed to Treistman, said to be taken from the top of Seamen’s Institute and looking over the same piers as shown in the previous photo.
Again, the context here . . . Wednesday night, come see the Graves of Arthur Kill, our documentary screened at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival on tugboats and other vessels of this era and older and what became of them.
And if you’re free the night before, check out this program on salvage sponsored by Working Harbor Committee.
You may recall previous posts here and here about these machines called “alligators” or warping tugs, flat bellied vessels used in timbering a century ago that could pull themselves across short stretches of land between bodies of water. These photos were sent to me by Steven Smith who owns a camp near where the photos of wreckage in the second link above were taken. The images that follow likely show that same tug in its prime. Steve writes that in the early 1920s, the tug was “shipped on a flatbed railroad car to the RR station at Bemis, Maine, next to Mooselucmeguntic lake – it steamed over to Upper Dam, over the carry to Richardson Lake then to Middle Dam and then down the Carry road to its home on Pond in the River all under its own power .” Notice the name Roebling on the spool of cable. Alligator worked on the lakes from 1923 until about 1953.
In this close-up, notice the levers and U-joints employed to raise the props and shafts during land transits.
The next two photos below show while the Alligator was in transit from the Bemis RR station to Pond in the River: two lakes and two transits on dry land to get to Pond in the River
Thanks much to Steve Smith for sending along these photos. Credit for the top four photos goes to Brown Company Collection, Michael Spinelli, Jr. Center for University Archives and Special Collections, Herber H. Lamson library and Learning Commons, Plymouth State University, and that’s in Plymouth, NH.
And the timing . . . check out this story about the annual celebration of alligators below NYC . . maybe connecting the various parts of the sixth boro.
OK . . . I’ll admit that I’m foolish enough to think every day is Christmas, every day in New Years, . . . and I could go on.
Let’s go back to November 1997. Tugboat Spuyten Duyvil delivered a barge carrying a Torsilieri truck carrying a Norway spruce bound for Rockefeller Center.
The tree was felled in Stony Point. Click here for the article by James Barron detailing the tree transaction.
If that tree is 74 feet, that’s a long trailer.
You gotta love those red balls. By the way, Hughes logo on the barge was painted out for this transit.
Here were some fotos taken in the Upper Bay. I highly recommend getting the children’s book version of the story in part to see the artistic liberties taken in rendering both tug and truck.
Fireboat John D. McKean does the honors.
Although I’m still working on locating more pics of this event, including Joyce Dopkeen’s shots of the offloading process, I am thrilled to share these with you here.
Again, many heartfelt thanks to Bill Hughes for sending these photos and to John Skelson for reformatting them.
I hope to have more belated “christmas” fotos soon.
This series is used to catch up on items started.
Gregory Farino took this foto from the wheelhouse of a tugboat on the Congo River around 1980. He does not recall the name, as he was just catching a ride. My question is this: would the minimal detail of the stem bitt and shape of the bow surrounding it give the impression that this may be an “American” style tug serving the end of its life on an African river. The problem with that theory is that most of the Congo River is separated from the sea by waterfalls. Although I heard stories when I lived there and there are and have been shipyards above the falls going back to the time of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” I have no hard information that any vessels were taken around the falls by train and reassembled for use here. Anyone help?
Recognize the vessel below? The foto was taken by Jan van der Doe. Today it’s called Samuel de Champlain and appeared in this blog recently here.
Although it was built in Texas in 1976 as Musketeer Fury, it operated for a while as well as an Italian tug called Vortice, shown here post-fire. Here’s what frequent contributor Jan van der Doe wrote a few weeks ago: “While plying the waters near Trieste in 1993, she suffered a devastating fire to her upper engine room and deckhouse. The accommodations were completely destroyed and much of the steel deck and superstructure warped from the heat. The vessel was laid up in Italy until McKeil Marine Ltd. purchased Vortice on spec in the mid-’90s and towed her to Hamilton, Ontario. The engines were not damaged, probably the reason the tug came to Canada. I [was] onboard a few times during her lay up in Hamilton.” Here’s a link and foto suggesting the fire happened on the Atlantic off the Azores.
Excuse my parenthetical insertions, but Capt. Thalassic wrote this of Sachem, featured here recently: Sachem was built (1902, Pusey & Jones, hull #306. By the way Cangarda was built in the same yard in 1901 as hull #302) for J. Roberts Maxwell. It had elegant lines and significantly a very large main cabin for entertaining. Power was provided by a Fairbanks 8 cylinder slow speed diesel. During WW 2 the yacht was passed to the Navy and I believe engaged in submarine patrols and training in the Caribbean. After the war it was sold to the Circle line and probably had the most elegant lines in a fleet of converted landing craft although I am sure the direct drive diesel was terrifically difficult to maneuver with in NY harbor. Eventually it was retired and sold as junk to an organization known as the Hudson River Maritime Academy which was based in West New York NJ. The organization was less about maritime or learning than it was about drinking and it went bust. The owner of the pier sold the vessel to Butch Miller from Cincinnati. (Butch owned a company founded by his father that had developed those augers which you see on all those utility trucks.) Butch would drive a van from Ohio to NJ to renovate and get the vessel running. This proved almost impossible and Butch was convinced that he had to get the vessel closer to home. He purchased a Murray Tregurtha unit and plopped it on the rear deck. His first plan was to sail up the New England coast, down the Saint Lawrence. He sailed out of NY harbor with a complete compliment of road maps and promptly ran aground in the fog. He was towed back into NY harbor and was put up in Newtown Creek for another year. Eventually he headed north up the Hudson. The helm was a lawn chair on the roof and steering was done with a broomstick tied to the controls on the MT unit below. Amazingly Butch got upstate and through the canal all the way to Buffalo (I often repeat his description of the canal as “floating through a corn field”) and then through Erie, Huron (where he was detained by Customs for wandering over the border line near Windsor/Detroit). He went all the way down Michigan to Chicago, through the Chicago River to the Mississippi, down the Mississippi to Cairo and then up the Ohio to the Cincinnati area. It was truly an adventure of a life time and it is incredible he made it. As far a I know the vessel sits in a backwater on the Kentucky side of the Ohio near Cincinnati. It is sad retirement for an elegant vessel but it was an amazing adventure. It is fun and satisfying to see that every once in a while the eccentrics with old boats do live out a dream. ” In this Halloween season, it may just be part of the entertainment there . . . given this story. The foto is by Seth Tane, showing Sachem in that appears to be waters off Yonkers.
Let’s sign off with this vessel . . . Bertha. See the foto on the left margin. Surely this can’t be lost!!
Thans to Gregory, Jan, and Seth for use of these fotos. I look forward to any and all followup to these fotos.
Two words juxtaposed in this headline from May 1914 NYTimes are not ones I expect to see . .. “Roosevelt” and “tug.” Click on the image and (I hope) you’ll get the rest of the article.
Below is Aidan, the Booth Line steamer which returned the former President from Belem, near the mouth of the Amazon.
On October 4, 1913, Roosevelt boarded the vessel below—S. S. Van Dyck–-for Brazil. Departure was from Brooklyn
Pier 8, to the left below. Click the foto to see the source.
What’s driving this post is Candice Millard’s 2005 The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, which I just finished reading. Learning about the namesake–Candido Rondon— for the vessel in foto 8 here while in Brazil last summer prompted me to finally read this book. Ever know that the ex-US President was stalked by invisible cannibals as he and Rondon led a joint Brazilian/American group down a 400-mile uncharted tributary of the Amazon, now referred to as Rio Roosevelt (pronounced Hio Hosevelt).
Well-worth the read!
. . . the premier marine motor sports event in the sixth boro . . . the 2013 Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition.
I first attended in 2006, and when I look at fotos for the past seven years, I’m amazed by all the changes I see. I hope you enjoy this album even if I don’t enumerate the vessels that no longer work here or look as they do in these fotos.
What surprises will 2013 bring? Don’t miss it. See you there . . . .
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.
By the way, here are some of the competitors from 61 years ago . . . .