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Here’s something to celebrate:  the 90th anniversary of fireboat John J. Harvey.  There’s a party, and you can get your tickets here.

From the 1931fireboat.org site, the fireboat was “the boat was launched in Brooklyn on October 6, 1931. and commissioned on December 17..” with many superlatives “the first fireboat powered by internal combustion engines and the first that could pump and maneuver simultaneously… the largest, fastest fire fighting machine of her time, capable of pumping 18,000 gallons per minute, roughly the equivalent of 20 terrestrial fire trucks. The innovations of her design influenced all subsequent fireboats.”  

Who was John J. Harvey?  “Firefighter John J. Harvey was pilot of the steam fireboat Thomas Willett. In February 1930 a fire broke out aboard the North German Lloyd Lines ship Muenchen.   Willett came alongside and her crew started working aboard the burning ship. The fire could not be contained and a series of massive explosions rocked Muenchen. The largest explosion sent a section of steel plate through the pilot house of Willett, killing Pilot Harvey instantly. All except for John J. Harvey survived the disaster.   John J. Harvey was the first New York City fireboat named after a member of the department.

In early October 1937 Mayor Fiorello inaugurated the two-way radio system, linking all nine FDNY fireboats.

The Harvey/Normandie story is complex;  even more so is the Harvey/World Trade Center story.

 

FDNY retired her in 1995, and “placed up for auction and bought by her present owners on February 11, 1999.”  Note the condition of her starboard propeller in drydock in 2000.   Refurbished, she made her first voyage on August 4, 1999. She performed and pumped well, signaling the first of many new trips as a preserved historic vessel.

She appears in many maritime festivals outside NYC, as here in Oyster Bay, and

here at the Waterford Tugboat Roundup.

To close out, here are some of my photos of Harvey, dazzled in memory of the camouflaged vessels of WW1.

 

She not only looks good:  she also moves, her bow slicing through the river as here in September 2013.

 

I once rode as guest on Harvey years ago . . . July 4, 2009, from Manhattan to Poughkeepsie, as reported here.

Happy b’day and long may she sail.

 

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve not been to the Great North River Tugboat Race since 2014, but in normal times, September 5 would see the next race.  But we’ve dispensed with the “normal times” concept for the time being.

In selecting the batch for this post, I wanted splash, froth, bubbles, and the effervescence the river can react with when tons of steel and thousands of horsepower push through the ever changing water.   The next two photos are from that 2014 race. 

It was overcast during the race, but an hour or so later, when pushing contests were happening and

the wakes flattened out and we sized up USAV MGen. Anthony Wayne, patches of blue appeared.  I should leave you in suspense about how this push went.  Let me put it this way;  they left town not long after the push-off.

2013 was an equally overcast day, and again, not to identify every tugboat in that lineup, it appears that W. O. Decker has either jumped the gun or activated its jet drive and will soon rise up out of the Hudson on her hydrofoil assists. I’d guess the latter.

See what I told you . . . Decker has gone so far ahead that it’s already over the horizon.

Second lap maybe for Decker?

It’s starting to appear that in 2012, as in ’13 and ’14, it was overcast.

It was great to see Buchanan 12, usually burdened with a half dozen stone barges, disencumbered and frothing up the river.  That’s the 1907 Pegasus back there too.

In 2011, I was able to get a photo of the racing craft along with sky spray by one of the fireboats present, likely 343.  What’s remarkable comparing the photo above with the one below is the color of the water;  hurricane Irene had dropped a lot of rain upstate and all the tributaries sent that into the Hudson with tribute in the form of silt.

Quantico Creek and Maurania III did an excellent job of stirring up the water.

But again, it was overcast and hazy over silty water.

However, in 2010, we had blue skies that really accentuated the DonJon boats like Cheyenne and

the harbor colossus, Atlantic Salvor.

In 2009, there were wispy clouds, allowing the “queen of the day” to be Ellen McAllister. But look who else showed up!!!!

Urger.   Urger would EASILY have won the race, but she was doing what she does best . . .  urging all the other boats and crews to be fleeter than she, holding herself back, allowed herself to be that day.

All photos and commentary, WVD. See you at the races in 2022.

 

 

The “4” here refers to the dry dock, not the fourth post in this series.  The last post on Caddell  was Something Different 57.  And in the “high and dry” series, this would be number 11.  I’m just trying to anchor this post in the previous body of work. Also, I believe this dry dock was originally built as an auxilliary floating dry dock (ARD) by the USN to lift submarines out of their watery habitat, but I can’t corroborate that.

In Dry Dock 4 a half dozen years ago was the pilot boat New York.  I put this first so that the vessels in the rest of the photos can be compared against a standard, the dimensions of the same dry dock.

See above for scale.  On this date, winter 2014, Dry Dock 4 was shared by W. O. Decker and schooner Pioneer, currently both in Albany getting refurbished and improved. 

This boat’s a mystery to me;  the livery on upper pilothouse says it’s a Reinauer boat, but I took this photo over 10 years ago and have lost track of its identity.  You may know?

McAllisters Brothers was originally called Dalzelleagle.  I believe it’s currently in the sixth boro but mothballed.

The Fireboat John J. Harvey had some work done in Dry Dock 4 .  She has a long and storied career.

Doris Moran is a 4610 hp tugboat that does some sixth boro work, although she’s currently in Louisiana.

East Coast has not appeared on this blog very often.  She used to tow the sugar barge, and she may well still do so.

Let’s get to the end of this post with Clipper City, having some bottom work done on a cold winter’s day eight years ago already. 

All photos, WVD, who’d love to know more about the history of Dry Dock 4.

 

 

Call this “thanks to Steve Munoz 20:  the 9th Annual North River Tugboat Race September 2, 2001.”   As Steve writes,  “The tug race on 9/2/2001 was  nine days before 9/11/2001. I was on board the tug Janet M McAllister for the race. My son was on board a Seabulk oil tanker docked in Bayonne and he could see the Twin Towers from his cabin porthole. As the tug headed up the Upper Bay I was going to take a picture of the Twin Towers and decided not to since I had so many already. Little did I, or anyone else, know that they would not exist nine days later. I wish I had taken a picture.

[Participating] include tugs McAllister Bros, Janet M McAllister, Empire State, J George Betz, Mary L McAllister, Irish Sea, Dory Barker, Powhatan, Dace Reinauer, Beaufort Sea, Resolute, Growler, Z-TWO, Janice Ann Reinauer, Katherine, Amy C McAllister, James Turecamo, Kathleen Turecamo, Emil P Johannsen;  also, includes fireboats John D McKean, John J Harvey.

I’ll not identify all the boats here.  As you know, some of these boats, like Dace Reinauer, look quite different now. Also, many boats here, like Janet D. McAllister and Powhatan,  are no longer in the sixth boro,

Z-Two is now Erin McAllister, and in Providence RI.

Emil P. Johannsen is laid up, I believe,

in Verplanck NY.

 

Beaufort Sea has been scrapped.

There were tugboats to port and

tugboats PLUS a fireboat to starboard.  Two things here:  I love the water thrusters deployed from Z-Two.  And Powhatan is now a commissioned Turkish naval vessel known as TCG Inebolu;  as such it was involved a month ago in the tow of a Bangladeshi corvette, BNS Bijoy, which had been damaged in the explosion in Beirut harbor.

 

 

 

Again, many thanks to Steve Munoz for taking us back to September 2, 2001 with these photos.

A different series of tugboat races happened decades earlier, as attested here.  An indicator of how different the world then was is the fact that back then, a rowing contest was included, and crews of ships in port took part.  Those days of break-bulk cargo had ships in port for much longer periods of time,  and “port” included places along the Hudson.

 

Let’s do 2013 and 2014, or redo them, same conditions as I stated yesterday. But first let’s look at the 2013 crowd, packing in like you wouldn’t with covid.  Here was the crowd at 1010 and

by 1035 they had grown significantly.

The compulsory muster takes place, irrigated by fireboat John J. Harvey.

Once the race begins, a front-runner like Decker

might soon get left in the wake.

The fire boat slices up from behind and

propels itself between two Miller boats.

Pushoffs happen next, sometimes quite equally matched like here, with 3900 hp countering 4200.

Let’s jump ahead to 2014, with the arrivals on the watery carpet,

the processing to the starting line,

and get straight to racing without all the preening and posturing.

Someone seems a bit oversize in that gray livery.

This is a fairly mis-matched pair:  Wayne at 5100 hp, and Ellen at 4000.  Maybe a re-match is in order Wayne v. Ava.

Thanks to Jeff Anzevino for this shot, the Media Boat has military background in common with Wayne.

After Wayne has strutted its stuff in the push-offs, some of the boats lined up for the roping the bollard.

Let’s hold it up here.  All photos, WVD.

 

Heraclitus has to be the classical philosopher most referred to on this blog.  I thought of this person again as I returned into the city after my longest ever so far time away;  this is a familiar place of six boros, and yet it does not seem familiar.  It is new, renewed by multiple sunrises and by my recollection as I gallivanted afar, seeing new places.   We enter beneath the GW, which I’ve never seen lit up this way.

On the water side of a wild and dynamic clutch of architecture, Pegasus stands guard,

 

As we make an initial run to the Upper Bay, we pass a renewed Harvey, a resolute Frying Pan, and an ever working Chandra B.

Hunting Creek follows Chandra B up to the cruise terminal.

USCGC Shrike waits near FDNY’s Hudson River station and the sprouting Pier 55.

Ernest Campbell brings more fuel to the cruise terminal.

Sarah Ann (I believe) delivers waste, passing the Battery, where Clipper City awaits another day of passengers.

As we circled back to dock, an unfamiliar tug was southbound.

Robert T and that livery are not ones I recognized, until

I realized this was the old Debora Miller.  Who knew!!??

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

This  is an unexpected post, but I watched a movie the other day that involved D.S. 78  barge moving garbage away from a marine transfer station

somewhere in Manhattan.  John J. Harvey shows up in the movie.  And the crewman above, would he be crew or an actor?

And here’s the tug.  Likely someone seeing this can identify it, but I can’t.  Anyone help?  And which transfer station would this be, given the docks and other structures on the other shore? My guess is north of the current passenger terminal, and that’s a maritime Hoboken on the other side.

And which movie was this?

Here’s your last chance to guess.  The biggest clue you’re getting here is garbage and mention multiple times of black-n-white glossy photos, unlike these.

The movie involved some young people getting arrested for dumping garbage in the wrong place.

Got it?

Alice’s Restaurant!   You can spend two hours watching the whole movie, or zoom to about an hour and twelve minutes in and you’ll see the scene.

 

Schooner Ambergris came in from sea in mid-April, but I still don’t know anything more about her.  Anyone help?

Dolphin is truly a yacht;  it’s also likely a winter yacht down south.  Up north, we see vessels like this seasonally.  I can’t identify the burgee on the bow.

Schooner Pioneer, launched 1885!!, has never been a yacht, but in its current much-loved state, it operates only in the warmer half of the year and it’s an excursion vessel.

Passing the Hoboken/NJ Transit terminal, that unnamed trawler is truly a yacht coming north for the summer.

Care for a summer evening on a Chicago Grebe-built yacht?  Here’s the info on yacht Full Moon departures out of North Cove. If you want a full day’s amusement online, you could investigate these other Grebe-built yachts . . . .    Or you could read about this Chicago shipyard and many other topics in this great blog called Industrial History, which I’ve just added to my blogroll.

Sometimes the Erie Canal seems devoid of vessel traffic, but on this day at Lock 17, there were plenty of takers.  As I recall, these cruisers were from Texas, Michigan, Florida, and California!

By the boat name and the VHF manner as I overheard it, I can guess the previous employment of this vessel operator.

Yesterday I went to this location to meet a friend over beer and crab cakes, my first there in quite a while . . .  .  But if you’ve never hung out at Pier 66, you owe to yourself.  Advice . . . if you want a seat, go on the off hours!  It’s been way too long ago that this gathering happened there.

And although I took this photo in the fall, the reminder is clear:  be safe.

All photos and sentiments by Will Van Dorp.

 

Two massive but indistinct enterprises loom offshore while a ketch motors in.  I understand that if I were near to one of those “loomers” . . . they’d be moving faster than I could swim, row, paddle, or walk . . . .

I couldn’t identify the ketch, with the ever-ready bike on deck.

What time is it?

Time to watch the colossal screen?  I’m trying to imagine some applications . . .  circle the boats at the float-in cinema? harbor church service?  a candidate’s debate? a floating classroom?

Only today did I understand that Harvey‘s paint treatment was part of a World War 1 memorial called 14-18 Now.

Click here for 14-18 Now background, leading up to the November 11, 2018 centennial remembrance of the end of the war that was supposed to end all wars . . . .  Even Richard Thompson, one of my favorite singer-songwriters, put out related music.

I NEED to now the story here, this 1930s wrecker on a pier in Red Hook . . . Will that be loaded onto a ship and sent away?  I hope not.  Related . . . I’ve got fodder for another truckster post soon.

Over in Sunset Park (or is this already Bay Ridge??), are these the legs for the Staten Island Wheel that will never stand?

All photos and questions by Will Van Dorp.

Who else greeted Wavertree on the rest of the way home?  John J. Harvey is always in on celebrations.

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Lettie G. Howard was there,

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as was the helicopter.  Feehan presented herself on the far side of Rae.

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Pioneer accounted for

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herself with crew in the crosstrees.

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Pioneer and Lettie teamed up at times.

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Wire showed up.

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New York Harbor School had two boats there, including Privateer and their

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newest vessel Virginia Maitland Sachs, about which I’ll post soon.

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Melvillian throngs came down to the “extremest limit of land” on Pier 15 and 16, for one reason or another, but who were about to be treated to some excellent ship handling.

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Rae took the lead, showing the need for tugboats of all sizes.

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The larger tugs pushed and pulled as needed to ease into the slip

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until all lines were fast and

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and the shoreside work needed doing.

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Bravo to all involved.  If you want to take part in a toast to Wavertree, you can buy tickets here for the September 29 evening.

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If you haven’t read the NYTimes article by James Barron yet, click here.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes I left no one out and who as before is grateful to the South Street Seaport Museum and the photographers’ boat provided by US Merchant Marine Academy and crewed by a set of dedicated cadets.

Often folks ask how one can learn about the harbor or is there a book about the sixth boro.  Volunteering at South Street Seaport Museum is a great way available to all to get access to the water, to learn from like-minded folks, and to start on a journey of reading the harbor and its traffic for yourself.  Each volunteer’s journey will be unique, and willing hands make institutions like this museum survive and thrive.

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