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OK . . . I’ve got had with the the “vessel demolition” gag.  How embarrassing!   .  Check the comments for part 3;  the problems with the design are real.  Talk about confirmation bias!  Yes, I do not like the structure, a $200 million place to take selfies!  Egads!

Here’s a call to help with a renewed effort to return Lilac to full operation;  I’d say that’s restore and not just preserve.  You might recall the photos I posted in November 2020 that gave the illusion that the lighthouse tender was underway using her own power.   

This is a wish list for parts for getting Lilac back together, and some of these might be quite scarce.  Four of the 13″ port lights are missing.

Here’s a close-up.

Also, a set of 12″ or 14″ ventilation stacks as seen on the bow below

and below.  Ideally, they would be of riveted construction and can pivot.

Details of Lilac can be seen in these two posts I did back in 2007.  In the photos, you see both the port lights and ventilation stacks.

A lot of restoration or preservation projects are getting more difficult by the year as parts and people with the needed skills become more and more rare, but miracles have already happened with Lilac, miracles such as descendants of crew coming forward with stuff.


It’s been a while since Lilac appeared here, but this illusion of the steamer under way on her own power was thrilling.  I’m not adept enough at photo manipulation to add the right measure of smoke from her stack.  

And yes, the prime mover here is Michael Miller, with Susan nearby as well.  .

Like a vessel steaming in from another era,


it was great to see Lilac under way. 

All photos, WVD, who is unaware of the length of her duration at Caddells.

Photos of her engine can be seen here.

Here are previous posts in this series.

There is some self-disclosure here:  since last winter and thanks to my movie-buff son, I’ve gotten hooked on movies based on comics.  So, recently, to my surprise, while watching Gotham, I saw Marie J. Turecamo and one of the 6000s in a CGI-noir of an East River scene.  She’s unmistakeable.  Season 1, episode 11 has all these, along with some FDNY vessels, a NYCDEP tanker, and recognizable barges.

And with apologies to the actor, that is one of the Harley boats, St. Andrews (my guess) or Liberty.

And this . . . ABC-1, with a very odd mast.

I realize some of these are not tugs, but categories are made to be challenged.  In the next two photos, I’d heard that Lilac was used for a Daredevil scene, so I watched the series–not liking it at first–until I got to the scene.  By the time I got there, I was a fan.

Clearly filmed in the Navy yard, I have to say I’m impressed by the magic of cinema, and that’s why it’s the economic powerhouse it is.

All “screen-grabs” by Will Van Dorp.

Somewhat related:  Come celebrate the launch of film maker Thomas Halaczinsky‘s “Archipelago New York”: June 18th, 6PM at Rizzoli Bookstore at 1133 Broadway Manhattan.

I was reading the NYTimes Magazine on January 10, 2016 and on pages 4 and 5 saw this advertising spread . . . . It’s clear that 70 Vestry is selling a view, and what is that view?


It’s Pegasus and


Lilac.  Great.  Maybe I could call it Pegasus/Lilac Real Estate.


But look at where the prices start for this real estate?  No problem either, but it seems there


could be a contribution to those projects that make up the view that was advertised?

To see the spread, check the NYTimes Magazine of January 10, 2016.

This summer has taken me to memorable places and points in time, one of which was this comparison of the NJ-side Holland Tunnel vents today and thirty years ago.

This morning as I walked to a meeting on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, I took this set of fotos, all within a quarter mile . . .  More time travel?


Here’s a perspective of Lilac and Pilot from an angle that was not available–due to construction–as recently as two months ago.  Click here (foto #11) for more info on Pilot, the 1941 tug along Lilac‘s starboard side.



Fair early morning sun illuminates tug Red Hook and the CRRNJ building, seen here 30 years ago.


Brendan Turecamo passes the Hoboken Terminal, originally completed in 1907.   For a look at what’s behind the Terminal, click here.


Tailing Brendan Turecamo was El Galeon Andalucia, presumably headed south for Puerto Rico and Florida.


In Spanish . . . is the phrase “Felices vientos,”  I’m wondering . . .  Also, is El Galeon Andalucia the same vessel that I saw a half year ago in San Juan then called Galeon La Pepa?



All fotos taken this morning between 7:30 and 8:30 by Will Van Dorp.


Pier 25 is unmistakeable on the Hudson side of lower Manhattan.  I posted fotos of Lilac moving to Pier 25 aka “historic ships pier” back a year and some months ago.   On some of those fotos, you can see bowsprite catching lines from the Miller’s Launch crew assisting Lilac’s arrival.  Bowsprite also goes by the name “Christina Sun,” who is half of the art show proclaimed on the dockside sign below.

Here she was hanging the show last weekend.  If you’ve looked at her site much, you’d have seen her rendering of RB 45614 (below) on her artblog here.

The other half of the art show (up til the end of August!!) is Frank Hanavan.    I’ve painted with Frank, like here on this bowsprit at least six years ago, and posted on this blog here back in 2007.  This foto and the next by Maggie Flanagan.

But besides painting in places that require a harness, Frank also paints

en plein air with an easel. In fact, this piece, part of his show, he did ON Pier 25 back in May when Picton Castle docked there for a few days.  Click on that link  (scroll through) and you’ll

see what message was printed on the square sail on the foremast.  Frank’s art is all contained in one room on Lilac, but

bowsprite’s 38 prints are spread through Lilac, leading the observer on a treasure hunt . . .  even through the engine room!

But I can’t look at a piece like this and NOT remember the delightful story on her blog about excavator dredge J. P. Boisseau with remembering the whale that appeared in Lower NY Bay, no doubt coming to check who was scratching the harbor’s bottom . . . and why.

Lilac is a unique vessel open to the public Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  Hours are here.  In fact, this Saturday evening, besides art, you can also see the world premiere of a documentary about MV Liemba, the nearly century old steam ferry (I believe very recently dieselized but still running) on Lake Tangayika.  For a press release about the film from Lilac Museum director, Mary Habstritt, click here.

Historic ships, art, film, music, drinks, warm summer evening on the Hudson in Lower Manhattan . .  . . . .  see you there!!  Bring some $$ too and take home some beautiful marine art for your walls.

Here’s Frank’s official site.   And here’s Christina’s online “sketchbook.”

Unrelated:  Here’s a 13-minute interview I did with John Doswell of Working Harbor Committee (WHC) back in 2010.  I’d never heard it until today.  And remember  . . . here’s info on the WHC-sponsored 20th annual tugboat race coming up in NYC’s sixth boro in less than three weeks!!

Today marks the end of the four-day historic ship festival and the official opening of Pier 25.  Friday and Saturday I worked on Pegasus.  Click on that link and you can find details of her history, starting from her inception as Standard Oil No. 16, including a time when she sported the flying horse on her stack.  1907 was a recurring number in the history-oriented tour:  the date of Pegasus launch in Baltimore and the date of the opening of the Kenneth M. Murchison-designed Hoboken terminal of the Erie Lackawanna Railroad.

Drydock tug Hoboken dates from 1963, but

Yankee ferry, the only surviving Ellis Island ferry, entered service in 1907.  Click here for much more about the Philadelphia-built Yankee.

Here’s a view of Union Dry Dock & Repair company . . . from Pegasus.

Also giving tours on the water was the historic John J. Harvey.   Type Harvey into the search window on this blog and you’ll see more fotos I’ve taken over the past five years.

Folks including me took fotos of Harvey from Pegasus, just as folks on Harvey zoomed in on us.  In the cowboy hat, it’s Mitch . . . of Newtown Pentacle.

Over 150 folks enjoyed a FREE!@#@!  Hudson River ride on Pegasus Saturday.  Lucky them!!  I’m just saying . . .  this is a rare treat, and you could make it less rare by joining in this way or that.  FYI . . . the engine burns about 35 gallons per hour, if I recall correctly.

If you’re in or around the sixth boro tomorrow, you may see this scene above.  I took that foto about a month ago.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who yesterday befriended MV Algolake. a bonafide facebooking, literate ore carrier!   Be the first among your FB friends to befriend an ore carrier;  for me it’s therapeutic, helping me forget the bulk carrier Alice that has made distance between us!!

You’ve got only three nights left to see the first run of “The Report of my Death,”  a docudrama written and directed by Adam Klasfeld and starring Michael Graves. Don’t miss it.  “Written” in the first sentence should maybe say “compiled” because the script has been constructed using rare and unpublished prose gleaned from Twain’s letters and notebooks.  And what better stage exists  in all of  New York than ON the sixth boro.  Brian’s shots here show the set in rain mode and capture Iggy, ship’s cat.  In the foto below, nature’s house lights begin to dim, and


Bowsprite catches this glimpse of Tugster saving the best seats in the house . . . er . .  . on Lilac.


Lights continue to dim.  Most associate Twain with light reportage of his earlier writings, but in the last years of his life, his writing turned dark and sarcastic.  “Reports of My Death” draws from this darkness.  The setting for the performance is a lecture tour of the British empire; such a tour a century ago would obviously be made by sea.  And Lilac as a venue works well for this; Michael Graves points to the lights in Hoboken . . . and –magic–we’re entering the port of Suva . . . or Manilla . . . or


London.  Twain’s prose mentions dolphins, and –presto–we see them with the actor over Lilac‘s bulwarks.  Or albatrosses . . . and they glide overhead.


Never has a chandelier looked better than suspended from Lilac‘s buoy-lifting boom.


High bulwarks and forepeak enclose the audience and performer in an intimate space en plein air.


Where is Lilac and the three remaining performances?  Pier 40.  At dusk, look for the building along West Side Highway with a trapeze school on the roof.   Below the aerialist is a net, a dock, and  . . . the sixth boro.

See this article on summer stages from the NYTimes a few weeks ago.


All fotos except Bowsprite’s, by Will Van Dorp.

Unrelated:  Given how dynamic and diverse the sixth boro is, I was pleased to learn earlier this week about a new waterblog:  Everyday East River.  Check it.  My only regret about this new blog is that I can’t find a way to contact the blogger.  Anyone help?

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March 2023