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Two days ago, the compact 1969 Jay Bee V (38′ x 12′ x 5′) set out on a journey that’ll be followed on this blog.

Hint:  It’s even a bit smaller than, for example,  1930 W. O. Decker (50′ x 15′ x 6′), which has some enclosed living space, compared with Jay Bee V‘s lack thereof.

Arguably, Jay Bee V and W. O. Decker have occupied the same niche in harbor work, although at different eras.

I’ve seen Jay Bee V working at Caddell’s back in 2016 here  and in 2015 here.

That looks like a bundle of new line for towing or tackle to me.

As I said, Jay Bee V is setting out on what may be its greatest ever journey.

She’ll exit the Kills and turn for the North River.

And if you’re wondering where she’s headed . . . she’ll spend some time on the New York State Canals, where I hope to see her next week.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

Wrangell, Alaska is almost 7000 sea miles from New York.

Harley does have a number of fleets, but the Olympic fleet

seems to have arrived in the sixth boro this month.   Ernest Campbell (1969) is one of several tugs that have retained the last name of the previous owner.

C. F. Campbell (1975) is another.

The other day they cooperated to get Long Island into a dock at IMTT.

Has this 60,000 bbl barge been sold out of Moran’s fleet?  If so, when did that happen?

 

Then last week I caught the 2012 Lighning in the boro,

a 2000-hp tug of the Gulf fleet.

 

The 1999 andrea (3000 hp) has been here for almost three years, if my recall is correct.

 

They’re all Harleys, along with Dr. Milton Waner, St. AndrewsHMS Liberty, and more.   And thanks to Kyle Stubbs, here and here are a set of Harleys from the Pacific Northwest.  And here’s one more . . . from San Francisco.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

In Bayfield WI, this park adjoins a complex named Reiten Boatyard condos,

but the namesake is a gentleman who–with his crew–partook of the food intended for their own wake.  The story?  Click here.

Now you’d imagine that this fish tug–Dawn–would have been built at the Reiten boatyard.  Nope.  She’s another Burger Boat product from 1928.

South Twin was Bayfield-built, 1938.  It fished until 1995 but since then has been a yard ornament in Red Cliff.

Heading south on the Bayfield peninsula, we come to Washburn WI, where I saw John D, which appears to be a greatly modified fish tug.  Maybe I’m wrong but I find no info on her from my sources.

The fish tug site has this to say about H. W. Hocks:  “built at Milwaukee, Wis., in 1935, by Harry W. Hocks, the 50 ft. x 14 ft. all-steel vessel was originally equipped with a 100-120 hp. Kahlenberg oil engine. By the early 1940s the boat had been sold to Reuben Nelson, Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Nelson re-powered with a Model D13000 Caterpillar diesel. In 1955 Clyde and Clarence Anderson, Algoma, Wis. purchased the boat, and fished her up until 1991, when she was sold to Cliff Parrish, Brimley, Mich.”

In the village of Cedar River MI, I spotted Art Swaer VI, which I believe was built as late as 1974.

Nearby trap net boat Robert J tied up.

Now way over by the Bruce Peninsula, it’s Mamie and

Anzac K.

 

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Thanks to Steve Wunder for the photo below taken yesterday in Fonda NY.  To the right, it’s a new 2018 Marine Inland Fabricators 25′-3″x14′x5′ Clydesdale pushtug, either hull 323 or hull 324.

BUT, to the left and much more significant, it’s Urger, a few miles east of where the 1901 (!!) tug is said to be intended as a land display, sans integral hull, i.e., it’ll never float or tour the waterways again.

I intend this post as a followup to last week’s here, where I wanted to illustrate what we New Yorkers stand to lose, if this lock 13 park plan gets carried out.   In following up, my intention is to underscore our potential loss.

The photo below shows Urger in 1940 in Waterford, operating as a steam tug. At that point, the tug was already 39 years old.

Urger was launched in 1901 as fish tug  Henry J. Dornbos, by Johnston Brothers, a fact still visible on the bitt below.  The company was founded in 1864 by J. W. Johnston, a direct descendant of the none other than James Watt.

The rest of the photos here come from the archives of Bob Stopper, canal ambassador extraordinaire based in Lyons, NY.

Urger has likely been seen and touched by many more people than any other Canal tug or other New York State symbol, particularly because from 1991 until 2016, it crisscrossed the state’s waterways from May until October, doing programs for 4th graders and festivals for the general public.  Schools bused kids to the canal parks to learn about NYS history, technology, and the environment.  Before any program, crew cleaned, painted, and polished.

 

Think about 1901.  Life expectancy for US men was 47.6 years, and for women, 50.6!  Companies like Harley Davidson and Ford wouldn’t form until 1903, also the year the Wright Brothers made their first flight.  There were 15 automobiles registered in the 45 states of the US, where the population was all of 75 million; Utah had been the last state to enter the union in 1896.  The world’s tallest building was Philadelphia City Hall at 548.’  US Steel had not yet been created, and Standard Oil would go another decade before being broken up.  RMS Cedric was the world’s largest ship, and Titanic was not even on the drawing board. The US was involved in a shooting conflict in China. 

Literally thousands of New Yorkers of all parts of the state and ages have benefitted from Urger at a canal port near them, like this future mariner.

Time is critical here.  Unless minds get changed, we could be days or even hours away from Urger‘s life as a boat permanently sunk, which IMHO, would be a significant loss.  Please share this post with friends, local schools, and other networks.  Also, contact your federal, state, and local political leaders.

Click here for most of my previous Urger posts.

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.

In the first installment of this series, I mentioned photographers.

They/we do trip over each other trying for that perfect shot.  Imagine how many heads and elbows have intruded on my careful framings.

The need to protect electronic/optical gear from rain enforces unusual costumes, quickly ditched when precipitation stops.

The parade attracts automobiles as well as exhibitionists, and this photographer seems to have missed that lovely Chevy passing her by, unless

she was trying to capture this Mercury.

Cars aplenty and supporting causes, and even

tractors  . . . might serve as props for urban cinematic settings….

Finally, mermaids seem to be as opinionated as the rest of the population these days, some even

escorting aliens from far beyond the planet.

For next year, consider putting together a uniform with a friend, or even

bringing your place of employment to the streets of Coney.

By now, I’m looking for photos folks took during the 2018 parade.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

The parade–rain or shine–starts with music, specifically the bass drum played by founder Dick Zigun, accompanied by whatever ensemble pulled together.

But there’s so much more music.  Batala New York is among my favorites;  hear them here but turn volume way up to replicate how they sound on the street.

 

Gypsy Funk Squad is another favorite.  Hear them here.

And so many more groups whose names I never knew.

 

 

These dancers sponsored by a Mexican restaurant were fabulous.

 

Lots of groups . . .

 

. . some just marching, because that’s what you do in a parade.

Even the emergency services seem to enjoy

 

the duty. . .

rain or shine.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

I’m going to miss the mermaid parade this year.  And, yes,  I AM going to miss it.

But you don’t have to.  Click here for info to get started on your way.   It’s free, although you can choose to pay for access to the staging area where I took some of these photos.

This’ll be the second time I miss since I first went in 2004.   I go because of the mermaids, of course.  Mermaids tell me they often linger below the surface in boat photos I take.

Seriously, while making my way around the five boros and beyond, I see scenes that would make powerful images, but it might be creepy to intrude into strangers’ lives to get those shots.  In fact, I’m not really a people-photographer, yet the mermaid parade is all about posing.  Paraders want their photos taken.  Once a mermaid even asked to take MY photo, but some sort of electromagnetic pulse zapped her camera.

If you’re not from the greater sixth boro, the parade happens on Coney Island, now a barrier beach.  Some history of the esprit of the beach I alluded to in this post from 2010.

Hints of NYC’s diversity emerge along with the denizens of the deeps.

 

 

 

 

A body paint artist there seems to take inspiration from coloration on amphiprioninae.

 

 

There are even mermen, or in this case someone I know posing as a navigator about to be dragged off course and possibly to see Davy Jones by a siren.

A lot of families come to the parade; in this case, a friend’s daughter attracted the attention of a mermaid with magic powder.

 

 

Each year a king and queen are named . . . as is true for many of the parades that happen each year in the boros, and

this royalty needs to be there before the marchers step off.

As I said, I’ll miss it this year, which has prompted me to have another glance at my photos of past years.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp.

 

. . . illustrating what will be lost if present course is maintained.   If you don’t know what’s likely to happen imminently, Urger is NOT to be reefed.  But, it’ll be beached at Thruway Lock 13 “living history” exit, with holes “punched” in the hull and that beaching will cost –I’m told–over $3 million.

Why should you care?

First,  listen to this engine, as I recorded it four years ago on a calm day above Amsterdam NY.  Click the thumbnail below left for the sound from inside the engine room and . . . right, from outside.  It’s like the steady panting of a racing horse.  Click here for a list of remaining Atlas-Imperial engines, although I don’t know how out-of-date this info may be.

  

Here’s that same engine as seen from below, starboard looking aft, and

here, the camera is looking aft along the port side.

Here’s the view port side looking down.

For whatever value it has, Urger is

one of about two dozen NY vessels on the National Register of Historic Places, has been on that list since November 29, 2001.    Click here for what that means in terms of significantly changing the historic floating structure.

Urger was built by Johnston Brothers Shipyard in Ferrysburg, Michigan, in 1901, originally as H. J. Dornbos, a fish tug.  My point . . . if she’s been around this long and is in this good shape, that’s prime reason to keep her that way.

Urger faced significant change before, back in the late 1980s, ending Canal maintenance duty in October 1987.  Then, Schuyler Meyer (1918–1997) stepped forward with a proposal to save her by making her the “ambassador vessel” of the NYS Canals that she did become.  During those ambassador years, scores of thousands of folks–especially school kids–saw her, walked on her, learned from her about NYS.  Read the whole article below if you have time, but signifiant info is concentrated in the rightmost column.   Look at the image he’s holding in the photo.

Urger is a flagship of NYS history, having made public appearances all over the confluent waterways of the state from Lockport (I don’t have photos of her in Buffalo) to

the famous culvert east of Medina to

Oswego, shown here at Lock O-8 with tug Syracuse to

the Upper Bay of New York City, and all the great little towns in between.   I lack the photos myself, but I know she’s been to the southernmost point of the Finger Lakes and upper reaches of Lake Champlain from this video clip.

So what can be done . . .  especially since, given the imminence of converting Urger to a “static display,” time is so short?

First, share this post with anyone you know who might care about Urger.  Seek out your loud, articulate, reasonable, and well-known advocates who know [connected] people and can speak out in the meetings, press, and blogs.  It’s summer, so key political and agency leaders might not be reading their mail, forwarding it to folks with less decision-making power.  Congressman Paul Tonko would like to hear from you. State legislators might be contacted in their home districts, where you can even walk into their local offices.   Talk to your local mayors, business leaders, and union officials.  I was born upstate but haven’t lived there since the 1960s.

Educators, especially in Canal corridor towns,  have benefitted from the Urger program over the past quarter century.  They might choose to exercise power through NYSUT rather than as individuals if anyone in to better get the attention of government.

Finally, if the choice were between spending no money to beach Urger vs. spending money to keep it afloat and active, that would lend support to the idea of beaching her.  BUT, significant money (in the seven digits) will be spent to beach her at Lock 13 Thruway exit.

Thanks for your attention.  All the color photos here were taken by Will Van Dorp, except the one below, taken by Chris Kenyon in Port Gibson in 2014.

Personal disclosure:  I worked as deckhand on Urger during the 2014 season, on a leave-of-absence from my other life.  I spent about 100 nights and days aboard her between June 6 and October 30, i.e., about 2/3 of the time between those dates.  Some of the hundreds of references to the boat on this blog can be found here.

I hope you agree with me that NYS gains more by keeping her afloat and active than by beaching her.  Pass it on, if you agree.

 

Thanks to John Paul for this photo of the big crane as seen the land area called Spuyten Duyvil in the Bronx.   The tidal strait–entrance/exit of the Harlem river–is also called Spuyten Duyvil.  That 328′ boom shrinks the swing bridge it’s assisting with the repair of.  Of course the crane is the one that arrived from California 4.5 years ago here to raise components of the new TZ Bridge and lower the old one.

Paul Strubeck caught the crane from the water side, showing relative size of crane and swing bridge.  The higher bridge is Henry Hudson crossing.  For much more info on that bridge, click here.

I got these photos yesterday from Inwood Hill Park.  The railroad swing bridge was opened in 1900, although it was closed for most of the 1980s.  Now it carries 30 trains a day and opens about 1000 times a year, mostly for Circle Line boats.

According to this source, maintenance will focus on mechanical and electrical equipment damaged by Hurricane Sandy.   “Navigation strikes” may be another explanation.

The crane is rated at lifting capacity of 1929 tons, powered by three diesel 601 kW (806 hp) main generators and one 91 kW (122 hp) auxiliary generator provide its lifting power.  It has no propulsion power of its own.

The manufacturer is ZPMC, the same Chinese firm that provides state-of-the-art port gantry cranes here and here.

I’m not sure whose crew boat this is,

but the tugs on the scene are Dorothy J and

Robert.

Maybe I’ll find time to go back up that way tomorrow.

 

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