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I’m thrilled to discover entirely new stories, like this one, which I found after following up some info I’d seen on a historical marker sign in Bath, NC, a month ago. Click here and scroll to see the historical marker. I saw it briefly in the headlights but took no photos.
When I googled “floating theater bath nc,” I learned a book had been written about this barge and immediately ordered a copy of the book, where I got the stories, including the one about “G-string” shows, which I’ll explain at the end of this post. I guarantee you’ll be surprised. Click here for some details about Prof. Gillespie’s process in writing the book.
James Adams used two tugs–Elk and Trouper— to move the “floating theater” from town to town in the Chesapeake and the estuarial fingers of North Carolina back in the days when movie theaters and certainly mass entertainment penetrated into all the hamlets and backwaters of this portion of the US.
Although I’d never heard of this entertainment in the backwaters where I was born, it’s fairly well covered with blogposts like this and newspaper articles like this. The Chesapeake Log has done a story. In fact, there’s a group that wishes to recreate the barge.
Needless to say, any project on the water always faces this danger from its element, among other perils.
Between venues, Elk and Trouper would tow the barge, like horses moving the old time traveling carnival to the next town.
Now about “G-string” shows . . . From page 63 of the book, “there were three primary comic characters in the repertoire theater . . .[one was the G-string character], an old man, the geezer. He was evolved from the 19th century comic Yankee character, sometimes with a dose of the frontiersman thrown in. … squeaky male voice and a goatee-like beard. The cartoon Uncle Sam is a G-string character.” I’ve looked online for other references to this meaning of G-string . . . with no corroboration.
Who knew? Edna Ferber and her Showboat . . . which I don’t know well . . . I thought that was based on Mississippi traffic. The sixth boro and the Hudson have their very own Lehigh Valley 79 Showboat Barge as in here, here, and here. There was once the floating entertainments of Periwinkle and Driftwood . . . now all gone.And the whole eastern seaboard has Amara Zee . . . (scroll) Caravan Stage Company.
I think it’s high time Edna Ferber’s story gets reinterpreted as a movie, this time including Elk and Trouper.
While I was out documenting the excitement of the annual merfolk migration, there was an equal amount of excitement on all the waters that comprise the sixth boro. Of course, your focus is your choice. All photos here were taken by David Grill and used with permission.
The Liberty Challenge brought in racers from all over the watery parts of the globe.
Vintage and contemporary petroleum vessels populated the KVK.
Hats off to the passengers and crew of Pegasus and all the others out enjoying what makes NYC special .
It’s Gerry Weinstein, showing evidence of being in the engine room and
and Pamela Hepburn.
For the photos in this post, hats off for David Grill.
Here’s the index for previous Twin Tube posts. This freight vessel is 64′ x 19′ x 8.5, and I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that it is one of the first Blount built vessels ever, launched in 1951. Here’s the index to all my previous Blount posts.
This is how I imagine her, but recently . . .
the boom has been missing. I don’t know the story, but I’d like to.
Most larger cargo vessels provisioned by Twin Tube have their own on-board cranes, so maybe the boom was removed to avoid having to negotiate the dock lines as she had to here in a blinding snowstorm back a year and a half ago.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
Unrelated but important: If you are local, free and have the slightest inclination to make merry, there’s a soiree on Lehigh Valley 79 THIS Friday night, as a means to consolidate doubloons to keep the barge afloat. Details here. See you there, if my best approximation of pirate hood. Here’s a post I did nearly five years ago. And one more.
Once these were wooden barges, which
Once there was even a sixth boro barge called Periwinkle, no doubt painted in that color, a popular nightspot.
Here’s another barge called Driftwood, whose paint scheme and additional storage transformed a coffee (or whatever else commodity) transporter into an off-off-Broadway-even-off-the-island entertainment palace. Only stories remain and can be told by David Sharps, who
created the Waterfront Museum out of a wooden barge he literally dug and pumped out of the Hudson River mud, saving it from the fate of those barges above. The two fotos above come courtesy of David Sharps. Now the barge, the 1914 Lehigh Valley 79 tours with 1907 tug Pegasus, and other
vessels like the 1901 Urger, featured in many posts on this blog, help us visualize what those ruins in the top fotos once looked like and serve as places of entertainment even today. Here’s one set of fotos of Urger high, dry, but cold.
Anyhow, with five minutes of your time, you can help LV-79 and Pegasus collect a $250,000 grant for ongoing repairs. Just click here–AND each day until May 21 on the icon upper left side of this blog to vote. Partners in Preservation has chosen to award $$ by grant applicants demonstrated ability to use social media. So please vote . . . and ask a handful of your friends to do so as well . . . .
Unless otherwise attributed, all fotos by Will Van Dorp.
Since I woke up this May morning from a dream about attending a meditation session, the logical choice is to start my day writing a post that reflects upon–well–preservation. Two weeks ago I wrote about the Alwyn Vincent project. To quote the site, “she’s finally out,” and on the steel wheels ‘n rails of a synchrolift.
She was getting her “haircut and a shave” even before she stopped moving. When all logistical arrangements converge, the late 1950s tug will travel over-the-road 60 or so miles to its new life, as a functioning steam tug on a freshwater reservoir.
To support the self-described ‘Bunch of Crazy Farmers’ (personified by Andy, in orange below) who now own the tug, the Alwyn website says they “selling space for banners of about 1 metre square, at R5 000 ($US 639.30). The advertisements are mostly in connection with agricultural products and services, partly because everybody knows who are responsible for saving this historic vessel! Partly also, it’s because those are the firms we know, support and can ask!”
I suppose they’d accept US sponsors as well; book your space on the hull! Contact Elma on email@example.com
told some of the story. A sister vessel–New York Central #16–was saved only to end tragically at the Bourne Bridge rotary in Massachusetts, just six years ago.
The late Don Sutherland told of spending the last night aboard #16 . . . I wish I’d recorded his telling that story. I have recorded Norman Brouwer telling the story of buying this pierside house from #16 from the late John J. Witte, and I hope to share details of that project soon.
Not everything can be preserved . . . On Friday I caught Cheyenne –a current Witte (officially DonJon Marine) tug–heading from the East River into the Upper Bay pushing a load of (I believe) fine scrap, chopped up pieces bound for recycling. Just a week ago, Cheyenne was pushing some preserved vintage jets.
Some valuable artifacts might not be saved much longer unless dreams convert into reality and $$; others like Liemba and Yavari seem to live way beyond their expected lifespans in spite of their being out of the spotlight.
Which brings up this part of a dream: Partners in Preservation is dangling cash $US 3 million, and . . .<<<Tug Pegasus (1907) and Waterfront Museum Barge aka Lehigh Valley 79 (1914) have teamed up in a grant application for $$ for preservation work each vessel needs. As a component of the decision-making about who gets the $$, Partners in Preservation have a “socialmedia-meter” running from now until May 21. To help Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79 register high on this “meter,” you can do two things from wherever on the planet you may be: 1) befriend them on Facebook and get dozens of your friends to befriend them as well, and 2) vote DAILY here. DAILY! Seems like a crazy way to run an election, but . . . that’s social media and in this case, the cause is worthy.>>>
And later this afternoon–1300–1700h I’ll be down on Pier 25 minding the plank between 79 and Pegasus, as part of Partners in Preservation “open house” weekend.
Thanks to Colin Syndercombe for the Cape Town fotos; all others by Will Van Dorp.
Sort of related, here’s a “tale of two projects” post from about a year ago.
Tugboats in the sixth boro of New York City vary not quite infinitely, but almost. Consider Pegasus (1907), here with Lehigh Valley 79 (1914) alongside. And my social medium tells me they’re about to link up and travel again soon. Watch Pier 25.
Rounding it all out . . . is JoAnne Reinauer III (1970), here passing the unmistakeable Torm-orange house of Torm Thames (2005), and see this spotlight by selfabsorbedboomer.
Having called this set almost infinitely varied, I must say there’s NOTHING operating in the sixth boro quite an unusual as Joseph Thompson Jr. (portions from 1944), the tug portion of an ATM unit currently working the North Coast between US and Canadian ports. Thank’s to Isaac Pennock aka tugboathunter for introducing me to this vessel; For the dizzying set of transformations, read the bio by boatnerd here . . . and follow the fotos, especially the ones by Mark Vander Meulen, Steve Hause, Lee Rowe, and Rod Burdick.
Foto of Discovery Coast by Joel Milton; all others by Will Van Dorp.
After a four-day festival of introducing New York folk to historic vessels and (more) . . . Pegasus escorts Lehigh Valley 79 back to Red Hook.
So if I had to list the “more” in question, I’d say . . . history and stories of the port and days gone by and “fire mops” and leaky pipes with names like “old Faithful” , glimpses of present but ever-changing skylines, demonstrations of docking and departures, churning up mud bottoms and making white frothy spray, lurching and rolling and pitching on the Hudson, and
now it’s homewater bound, heading for Red Hook;
but first, a quick stop in Erie Basin for
Ok, I used to call group some of these in “from the line locker” or call them “whatzits,” but those don’t fit well here. I’m not sure “anomalies” fits completely here, nor were all these taken in the sixth boro, strictly contained.
Thomas D. Witte is shifting a tanker into a dock here, along with Laura K Moran. I’ve never seen a Donjon vessel shipshifting , although it might occur frequently. Tanker was Stavronisi, launched 15 years ago in Crimea.
Prisco Ekaterina, also Black Sea-built though less than two years ago, has an unusual (IMHO) bulb on its bow. It looks like a paddle prow.
Thank Poseidon . . . and whole lot of other folks, sixth boro waters are fairly clean. This weekend I saw thousands of these (unidentified) fish, the longest two here headed right about six inches long. Porgies?
The “barrel buoy” with strobes duct-taped in place seems to follow the dredge crews around the harbor. That’s Hubert Bays , not quite 10 years old and four feet longer than W. O. Decker, in the distance, maybe off to deliver bunker fuel?
A Bowsprite foto from about a month ago shows Pegasus heading up to Cold Spring with Lehigh Valley 79 on the hip. I wrote about the almost-two-hundred-year-old combined age unit here.
Here’s another “whatzit” headed up the North River snapped by Bowsprite just before mid-September. To me it looks like a Turkish gullet. Anyone know it?
This foto is dedicated to Dave, unlit neon is the best . . . until night falls, of course.
All fotos, unless attributed to Bowsprite, by Will Van Dorp.
A week ago Lehigh Valley 79 closed up business at the dock in Brooklyn, keeping a weather eye open but eager to begin its gallivant northward on the hip of Pegasus. Ultimate destination for 79 is the Roundup in Waterford, or as some say … Waterchevy. Waterwärtsilä?
By Friday morning Earl had weakened, veered, and gotten delayed; both captains’ word was “Travel with the tide. Cold Spring would be destination for day 1.”
We steamed past familiar landmarks and
under the Tappan Zee.
By the time we approached the Bear Mountain Bridge, the only accommodation needed was to prepare
the towing lights.
<<I guess this stowaway took that as signal to come up for fresh air .>>
By nightfall, barge and tug were secured in Cold Spring, and despite
gale-force gusts funneling down past Storm King all night, all was well at dawn.
From here, Pegasus returned to the sixth boro, and Lehigh Valley 79 was passed like an enormous baton carried on the nose
The bottom foto comes from Paul Strubeck. All others by Will Van Dorp, who hopes to be at the Roundup soon.
I dedicate this post to Mage, who notices when I neglect the cruise ships that make up part of harbor traffic. All the following fotos were taken Friday and Saturday, September 3 from Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79 between Red Hook to Cold Spring, about 50 miles upriver from the Battery (aka southernmost tip of Manhattan).
We left Queen Mary 2 behind in Red Hook.
Grande Caribe — an inland cruiser — waited at Chelsea Piers, as
Caribbean Princess docks here at Pier 88, a stroll away from the Empire State Building.
Champion passed us south of the Tappan Zee. Anyone know anything about Champion?
Off Hook Mountain we crossed Glen Cove, who moves all manner of products for people . . . so –by stretch — Glen Cove fits into this post as well.
Commander is a tour boat working out of Haverstraw; here she follows us northward from the Bear Mountain Bridge. To me , this is the most beautiful stretch of the Hudson. The link at the start of this paragraph reveals Commander‘s rich and storied past dating back to World War 1.
A day after we passed her at Chelsea Piers, Grande Caribe leapfrogs past us between West Point and Cold Spring.
Penn No. 4 herds people in solo vessels (SVs?) like a border collie moving sheep or goats or cows.
River Rose is a classy sternwheeler out of Newburgh with
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.