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I have not been back to a closeup of the scrapyard in the Arthur Kill since last spring, but recent correspondence both in the comments area of the blog and private and directly to me prompt this revisitation. Click here to see the original post from August 2011. Let me just add that this vessel–Bayou Plaqumine–was originally called Junior Mine Planter (JMP) MAJOR ALBERT G. JENKINS, built 1921 in Bay City. MI. She didn’t become Bayou Plaquemine until after 1951. The photo below shows her location since the early 1970s.
Here’s the view looking northward from Plaquemine‘s bow, and
from a slightly different vantage point.
and in the opposite direction.
Here’s the text of an email I received last week and for which I am very grateful. “The Jenkins (aka Bayou Plaquemine) was captained by my grandfather, David B Nettles; the Jenkins was used to tow gunnery targets for the Navy and the shore batteries to take target practice with back in the 30’s in addition to her other duties while stationed in Pensacola, FL. My uncles and father all spent time aboard the Jenkins during their childhood and young adulthood. There was a second vessel stationed there as well, a twin sister of the Jenkins. I have photos of both. In fact I have one of the bronze bow emblems that was mounted to the Jenkins bow. I know she was docked at Fort Barrancas and at times Old Fort Pickens. I grew up with many stories about the vessel being shared. The family is all gone now but me and cousin or two. So the stories are all but gone now.”
Cold and damp winter weeks are a time to celebrate the past by telling its stories and sharing photos of its many faces. I hope this prompts more sharing.
I’ve paid attention to the recent activity on the blog in relation to “189 Ghost Ships,” including a question I received today about anyone having photos of the ghost fleet maintenance crew, including 85!! civilian employees. I’d love to see and post some of these photos if you are willing to scan them and share using my email address on the upper left hand side of the main tugster blog page.
By the way, sometimes conversation happen on the FB side of this blog; I’d rather they happen here so that archiving of comments is more certain than on FB.
All photos here by Will Van Dorp and taken in May 2010 and August 2011. If you want to see more of the scrapyard and a few of the stories, please order Graves of Arthur Kill. Click on the image of the DVD to get ordering info.
In a previous post, I mentioned I was very subjectively dividing the canal into zones from west to east, and I continue that here, and this post is the most personal. Place a compass needle in the place I did kindergarten through grade 12, and make a circle around it with a radius of about 2o miles. All these photos were taken inside that circle. Although I did move away from there almost 50 years ago, I’m still surprised how little I recognize. Of course, the water perspective here is one I never had as a kid. Start here, I’ve driven on that road . . . Route 31 between Macedon and Palmyra a hundred plus times, but I did feel like an amnesiac seeing it this way.
Leaving lock 29, there were a lot of folks, but I didn’t know them.
This is the beginning of the “spillway” I needed to cross when I walked to first grade. The bridge–much like the one in the distance–had an open grate deck, which terrified me the first few days.
I was happy that a friend waved from the Galloway Bridge on the westward trip and another on the eastward trip.
Route 31, travelled many times, lies just a hundred feet of so off the right side of the photo.
Port Gibson, population less than 500 in 2010. New York state must have a few dozen towns, cities, hamlets, and/or villages with “port” in the name.
I know this farm on a drumlin well in Newark, NY. Although the population less than 10,000, Newark is what I considered a big town.
Beyond those trees to the right is a principal street in Newark.
This is the port of Newark.
Just outside Lyons, NY, population under 4000 and shrinking, awaits Grouper, subject of many posts including this recent one.
Inside the village of Lyons . . . a mural on a wall that borders the location of the previous iterations of the canal depicts what might once have been here.
Outside of town, these “wide ditches” are the actual “enlarged canal” of the 19th century.
And ruins like these . . . I never knew existed even though I knew the place name “Lock Berlin.”
Why did I never know the railroad through my world then crossed in places like this . . .?
I’d seen these grain bins from the road but never imagined the canal lay right behind–or “in front of” –them
Quoth the eagle . . . you can’t go home again if you never really knew your home to begin with.
Al photos by Will Van Dorp. Many thanks to Bob Stopper who showed me what I should have seen a half century ago.
I’m moving eastward from yesterday’s post with my very subjective dividing of the NYS Canal system into zones. Very subjective, we then move into New York State’s third largest city–Rochester, which also happens to be what I learned about as “the city” as a boy. If someone worked “in the city,” that meant Rochester. In the photo below, technically in Greece, you can see the junction lock, the gates leading to a lock on the original and possibly the enlarged canal. Those iterations of the Erie Canal went straight here, the Barge Canal (the early 20th century iteration) forked off to the right, bypassing the city of Rochester.
I hadn’t considered what “bypassing Rochester” would look like, and my zones 1 and 2 were portions of the canal I’d never seen from the water. What it looks like is lots of bridges, with signs to places I knew but otherwise no traces, no familiar skyline.
Approach lighting system for the airport I took my first flight from,
but otherwise bridges, some beautiful . . .
some footbridges . . .
and others very serviceable vehicle and waterway structure . . .
with some people in view
as well as some current commercial buildings
and bridges some complete . . .
Certainly there are vestiges of industrial marine usage
not used in decades.
The creation of a kayak park and boat house is one of many transformations that make recreation the current Erie Canal’s industry.
I have a personal connection with the Pittsford canal front: as a boy, I harvested pickles for a neighbor, and one Saturday night I got to ride the farm truck to the piccalilli plant, right near the Schoen complex. If only time travel were possible and I could take that truck ride to the pickle factory again . . .
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
Notwithstanding all that . .. sometimes the thought that a day is the first day in the rest of one’s life is superlatively vivid. Enjoy my pics and maybe you’ll get this sense also.
Sunday afternoon, Zhen Hua 10 enters the Kills. Does anyone know if “Zhen Hua” means anything? Note Manhattan and the tip of Bayonne to the left, and tug Brooklyn, Robbins Reef Light, and the boro of Brooklyn to the right.
The new cranes arriving and the bridge their squeezing underneath are integrally related parts of the same story, as . . .
… are the cranes and the dredging equipment in the background. Note tug Specialist in the background
Margaret Moran tends the port bow.
Gramma Lee T Moran supplies the brakes and rudder.
The ship completes its journey of thousands of miles. Is it true that Zhen Hua 10 arrived here via Cape of Good Hope?
On the same theme . . here’s a handsome team of tugs, good paint all around. Working on a tandem assignment?
My thought when I read the name on the nearer tug was . . . this is historic . . . Crow‘s last ride; the Bushey tug might also be in the last mile of its thousands and thousands in a half century of work.
She’s being escorted in by Emily Ann . . .
Crow and her sister Cheyenne DO have classic lines!
Machines on shore were already staged . . . .
while not far away a last spring seal lollygags on some warm rusty metal, once also a brand new machine.
And on the other side of Staten Island rubble of a light indispensable a century ago adapts to a new life as a rookery.
Many thanks to NYMedia Boat.
All photos by Will Van Dorp, who will be transiting himself soon. Thursday I leave on a grand gallivant, and in early June–if all goes well– I start a new chapter working on Urger, that handsome young centenarian tug you see upper left at the top of the page.
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.
Last May I traveled willingly into around a corner in time . . . enjoyed it, and posted the “fifth dimension” series that ended with this post. So I toying with the idea of strolling into another. Sadly, about all I know about these photos –other than that they show the sixth boro as it was more than half century ago–is the dates and some names. I hope someone can add some information.
NYPD, 1949. Launch is named for Patrolman/Boatswain’s Mate 2nd class Robert Steinberg, who died in March 1945 while serving in the Navy.
1951 departing (for where?) troopship City of Keansburg. Tug is unidentified.
1952. Lehigh Valley Victor. Notice the Woolworth Building near the left margin of the photo and the Singer Building –demolished 1968– near the center. Is Victor considered a tug?
July 1952 . . . Carol Moran and two other tugs, near Haverstraw.
1953. East River . . . tugboat is Manhattan, floating property of the Department of Docks but I’ve found nothing else. The building partially shown along the left is 70 Pine–I think, and the building in the center of the photo is 120 Wall.
Photo taken by Allen Baker in April 2014 . . . last week . . . of a USS Slater, launched and patrolling the oceans before the photos in this post were taken. Obviously, I’d love to know more about all these vessels.
All these photos can be found in the NYC Municipal Collections.
Oh . . if you recognize the “corner in time”reference in the first line . . . here’s the music, one of my all time favorites.
I’ve been thinking a lot about transitionings myself these days. I might have one coming soon . . . . More on that in a bit.
One summer as a kid I suffered from impetigo. I was terrified because I thought I’d end up scarred as badly as a neighbor . . . . Charles D looks to be suffering into a serious case of something . . .
most likely “prepacitis.” Her partner doesn’t seem to have great coating health either . . .
Alam Aman II might have been away from Port Kelang pretty long. . . . By the way, where is that port?
I had to look it up.
As for my own transitionings . . . well, I go in for a drug test tomorrow, if that tells you anything.
Not worried, though . . . I haven’t even had to study.
Happy Earth Day. Well . . every day should be that, and although I recall and participated in the very first one in 1970, I’m no longer so enamored of the name. Planet Day would be better, and of course every day should be that as well. Actually . .. I’m rather more attracted to declaring this and every day Sea Day. Actually, every day already is, with a parade of random vessels making their way past the KV buoy every day all day.
See that random stuff floating in the foreground on KVK waters?
This was at my feet that same day, all arranged by tide and wind and buoyancy. And here’s more.
Some these pics I took a month ago, a day I’d just heard about the search for the tragic Malaysian Flight 370. What struck me as strange was the reporter’s reference to “sea junk” … a term that seemed to suggest the sea was responsible for debris of all sorts floating there.
Calling it “our junk” would make more sense.
Today is also the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair. If you don’t think the world has changed much in a half century, watch The Magic Bus, a video about a journey from California to the World’s Fair.
OK . . . let’s go back to today. I got work to do. Look at this desk junk . . . my desk. Note the logo on cup and guarded by the feline.
Let mer see . . . happy see day.
Here just over a year ago was the release information about the documentary.
And here’s the BIG announcement: the world premiere of the documentary will happen Wednesday, May 7 at 7 pm at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema and tickets for that evening’s fare . . . including ours are now on sale. Click here for directions to Brooklyn Heights Cinema on Henry Street. If you haven’t seen the documentary, we DO turn back the clock on some of the skeletons in the yard.
Just over a week ago, I stopped to look at the yard from outside, from the muddy margins. Some photos are below. In 2011, Gary Kane and I had permission to film inside the yard from a leaky rowboat, and the footage of “beautiful ruins” comes to you directly from the leaky rowboat. By the way, I had a hand-powered bilge pump that kept our equipment dry.
Fragments with a wading bird,
disintegration with graffiti,
terminally rusted disrepair,
debris still morphing but identifiable,
ravaged whole machines juxtaposed with live ones.
Here was the 2010 end of the “graveyard” series . . . all photos shot in the ship graveyard. Use the search window to see segments 1 through 3. And here is the end of the “ghost puzzles” series, all photos I shot while we were filming the scrapyard portion of the documentary.
Unrelated to some degree, click here for my latest photos in Professional Mariner magazine.