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Fleet Week is part of the official marking of Memorial Day in the six boros of NYC each year. Maybe someone can tell me how long ago this tradition began.
This is the day set aside to honor those who died in America’s wars, but the listing earlier in this sentence does not list all of the skirmishes that resulted in the death of American military personnel. Take the Battle of the Pearl River forts aka Battle of the Barrier Forts. Know the details? I’ll tell you about it in a minute, but I stumbled upon this neglected monument in NYC about five years ago. It was overgrown. The public couldn’t see it because it’s fenced off.
As it turns out, the stonecutters misspelled two names here, and two others listed here as killed were not.
The Barrier Forts Monument is located inside a closed-to-the-public area of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. For an interesting article on the battle and the monument, click here. For a wikipedia treatment of the event, click here.
I stumbled onto the event depicted in the rest of the photos here last week and had only the phone camera. Any ideas on what’s going on?
What I’d happened upon here is two workers of the NYC DPR Arts and Antiquities division cleaning up the Richmond Hill “doughboy” war memorial. The crew told me they do this one each year in May as a preparation for today.
All of this brings me to a thought I’ve carried today. I retire from teaching this month, a pensive process of deciding what comes next and revisiting students and colleagues from the years extending back to 1973 and in places in five countries where I’ve worked.
There was a student in one of my classes back in 1979 who died in Desert Storm in January 1991. This link identifies her as Staff Sgt. Tatiana Khaghani Dees. I knew her as Tatiana Khaghani, a student on an F-1 visa in the US who wanted to be a lawyer. A FB link goes on to describe her death this way, and I paste it in here, since not everyone does FB.
“USA SSG Tatiana Khaghani Dees, from Congers, NY in Rockland County but originally from Tehran, Iran drowned after stepping backwards off a pier in Dhahran while avoiding moving military cargo. She was unable to swim due to all the gear she was wearing. She was assigned to the 92nd Military Police Company, 93rd MP Battalion, 14th MP Brigade, V Corps based in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Tatiana leaves behind two children: Lena and Joseph. On 28 May 12, I received an email from Tatiana’s son Joseph. He thanked me “for remembering the great women who served our country” and included this photo of his mother.
According to SSG Bill Hancock: I wanted to clear up the events that lead up to Tatiana’s death. It is reported incorrectly on your site. Tatiana had immigrated from Iran to the United States and was assigned to 2nd platoon (squad leader) 92nd MP Co, 93rd MP Bn, 18th MP Brigade, (not the 14th MP Bde) from Baumholder, Germany. Tatiana and 2 soldiers in her squad were pulling guard duty at the port. They saw a man taking pictures from atop one of those large cranes. Tatiana sent her 2 soldiers up to investigate. Both soldiers handed Tatiana their M-16s so she was holding 3 M-16’s and wearing full gear including Kevlar and flak vest. She stepped back from the base of the crane to get a better view of her soldiers as they climbed when she fell into the water. She was found an hour or so later and still had all her gear on and the 3 M-16’s. I think she was found in 50’ of water around 11 p.m. She was a great squad leader and person. Her troops held her in high regard.”
For Tatiana, all those who have died in too many wars, and all the families, let’s keep some solemnity in this day.
Entirely related: American war dead still abroad.
Also related, an 1889 poem written by John Greenleaf Whittier called “The Captain’s Well”
Call this Simone at the “7” in the sixth boro. Bound for sea.
A large part of what drives my continuing this blog is the satisfaction of trying to capture the magic of the traffic in NYC’s harbor, what I call the sixth boro. And some boats and companies conjure more magic than others in my very suggestible mind. But take Simone, she ‘s not a new boat–1970-launched–but consider her recent itinerary: a year ago she had just returned from Senegal, and a year and half ago she had traversed the Panama Canal at least twice and made trips to California and Hawaii. I’m impressed by that. This is why I left the farm all those years ago.
To digress just slightly, here’s a photo of Simone one day earlier than the ones I’ve taken. Birk Thomas of tugboat information.com took this. This photo was taken just west of the Bayonne Bridge–looking south– and shows better than any photo I’ve seen the immense progress that’s being made of the raising of the Bayonne Bridge roadbed.
Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of these photos of Simone, here heading out with MSC Monica, a smallish and oldish container vessel.
I’d be thrilled to get a job on a Tradewinds vessel, but for now I can watch Simone pass by and say “ah.”
Thanks to Birk for the photo already attributed, and all the others by Will Van Dorp, who says “ah.”
Here was a post from a year and a half ago when I missed Miss Lis.
As for Ipanema in the links above, I’ve been there, and here was the first of 25 posts from there.
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.