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Today the sixth boro and environs face Henri, whose story is yet to be told.  August 26, 2011 . . . I was at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and these Hurricane Irene signs were up.  When Irene’s story was told, it had done unusual damage upstate far from salt water;  here’s more.  Some repairs took until 2016 to complete.  From here I took the ferry to Whitehall in Manhattan, and then over I walked to South Street Seaport, where I wanted to see storm preparations.  See the story at the end of this post.  

In late August 2011, I was documenting a slow decomposition, getting footage of what became a documentary film called Graves of Arthur Kill. Gary Kane was the producer;  I was the director, or something.  If you’ve not yet seen the documentary, you can order it by clicking on the disintegrating wooden tugboat image along the left aside of this blog page.  Some of the vessels in this post are discussed by multiple sources in the documentary.  Keep in mind that these photos and the footage in the doc recorded these scenes a decade ago, almost to the day.  Hurricanes, freezing and thawing, and just plain daily oxidation have ravaged these already decrepit vessels for another 10 years, so if you were to go to these exact locations, not an easy feat, you’d see a devolution.

I’m not going to re-identify all these boats–already done elsewhere and in the doc–except to say we saw a variety of boats like this tanker above and the WW2 submarine chaser alongside it.

Other WW2 vessels repurposed for post-war civilian purposes are there.  More were there but had been scrapped prior to 2011.

See the rust sprouting out from behind WW2 haze gray.

In the past decade, the steam stack on this coastal ferry has collapsed, and the top deck of the ferry to the right has squatted into the ooze below.

Some steel-hulled steam tugboats we never managed to identify much more than maybe attributing a name;  they’d been here so long that no one remained alive who worked on them or wanted to talk about them.

We used a rowboat and had permission to film there, but the amount of decomposing metal and wood in the water made it nearly impossible to safely move through here. We never got out of the boat to climb onto any of these wrecks.  That would be if not Russian roulette then possibly some other form of tempting fate.

Most emblematic of the boats there might be this boat, USS ATR-89, with its struggling, try-to-get-back-afloat stance.  She was built in Manitowoc, WI, a town I’ve since frequently visited.

Wooden hulls, wooden superstructure . . .  I’m surprised they’ve lasted as long as they have.

Since taking this photo in August 2011, I’ve learned a lot about this boat and its four sisters, one of whom is now called Day Peckinpaugh

I’ve spent a lot of hours this month pulling together info on Day Peckinpaugh, launched as Interwaterways Line 101;  the sister vessel above and below was launched in July 1921 in Duluth as Interwaterways Line 105. The ghost writing in the photo below says Michigan, the name she carried during the years she ran bulk caustic soda between the Michigan Alkali plant in Wyandotte MI and Jersey City NJ via the Erie Canal.  Anyone local have photos of this vessel in the sixth boro or the Hudson River?  I have a photo of her taken in 1947 transiting a lock in the NYS Canal system, but I’ll hold off on posting that for a few weeks when the stories come out. What you’re looking at above and below is the remnants of a vessel currently one century and one month old. 

The Interwaterways Line boats were designed by Capt. Alexander McDougall, who also designed the whalebacks of the Great Lakes, like Meteor. Here‘s a whole blog devoted to McDougall’s whalebacks.

This ferry used to run between Newburgh and Beacon;  on this day in August 2011, we just rowed our boat onto the auto deck.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned Hurricane Irene and going over to South Street Seaport Museum.  Two of these vessels here have seen a lot of TLC$ in the past decade. That’s a good ending for now.  Helen, with the McAllister stack, is still afloat and waiting.

All photos in August 2011, WVD.

A final sentiment on Graves of Arthur Kill . . . Gary Kane and I set out to document what was actually in this much-discussed boneyard;  we wanted to name and show what existed, acknowledge what had existed but was already gone, and dispel some of the legends of this place.  We were both very proud of the work and happy with this review in  Wired magazine.  If you still want to write a review, get in touch.  It would be like writing a series review of Gilligan’s Island, but still a worthy exercise.

 

The whole trip, dock to dock, lasted almost exactly 24 hours, although given some delays, it could have been a few hours shorter.  Call this post “day and night,” or more accurately, “day, night, and day.” Here was part a.

Let’s start some hours later on day 1.  Most river traffic does not draw spectators like this did.

 

Even the family dog came out.

Twelve or so hours after that, a blistering summer sun had given way to the Thunder moon, here lighting a path northeastward from Staten Island.  I took this photo before 0500.

 

After biding time for a few hours here,

Nathan G let go lines and Slater began the  final leg of the trip to the yard;  Sarah D is over there, but the illusion is almost that Slater is underway on her own power,

watchman mimicking deck gun, pointing the way.

Once in the KVK, a blazing summer sun returned, replacing the Thunder moon.

Pier assignment received, the tugs eased the destroyer escort into the dock.

Many thanks to Bill Stolfi and Steve Munoz for the first three photos;  the sixth boro harbor photos by WVD.

For more info on USS Slater, click here and here.

As I approached the stoplight, I had to look twice . . . is it possible that

a repurposing of the super bull crane has been implemented?  I know it’s sometimes breezy out this time of year, so might this be a sturdier way of supporting traffic signals?

I made the next available turn to check it out . .  that is indeed a large structure to dangle a traffic signal from.

 

Shooting over the fence, I confirmed that it is the one-and-only and twice-named Left Coast Lifter, twice named so in fact.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who will be following this not-so-easily-hid crane.  I’ll have to start looking for it from other perspectives.

Adding to its previous unofficial renaming, how about Traffic Light Heavy Lifter, Richmond Terrace Lifter,  New York Wheel Alternative . . .?  Got a better name?

Below is a late-add photo of the crane as seen from Bay Ridge Flats today . . . evidence of how large that crane is set along the north side of Staten Island.

 

And let’s start with the more . . . more photos and info on previous posts.    CCGS Samuel Risley appeared here.  She’s currently approaching the Soo.  What I didn’t know when I posted a photo of her on Lake Ontario is that she was returning from her first trip to Greenland (!!), where she was providing icebreaking support for a supply mission to Qaanaaq aka Thule.

Madison R–and I’ll do a whole post about her soon–now calls Detroit her base, I’m told.

Summer fog veils a Canadian cat and an Erie Canal buoy boat above E11.

How many folks pass by Day Peckinpaugh each summer and have no clue what she is (ILI 101… launched in May 1921!!), how long her work history  (1921–1995) has been, how wide a range of waters  (Duluth to Havana, I’m told) she covered, where her sister  (ILI 105) languishes . . . . .

She gets attention.

Here’s the blue-and-gold yard above E3!!

Yup that’s Urger among them.  And yes, the pause button on scuttling has been activated.

In the legends of Ford, a sign once marked this power plant adjacent to the Federal Lock in Troy as a Ford facility.   Could this have become the location of Ford’s imagined electric car plant?

And this brings us to Troy, these walls where construction workers have staged their equipment.

Scaffold, ladders, floats, and Jackcyn

 

 

and Lisa Ann.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, who’s been working his way back to the sixth boro from the heartland.

If you’re local and would like to learn more about the New York State Canals, consider joining the Canal Society and coming to their fall conference . . .  on Staten Island.  I’ll be involved in two events . . .

 

Here’s another photo shared by Ingrid Staats.  If you’ve been to this blog before, you recognize the bridge, but what are Vega and Altair you might wonder.  The ferries are aptly named, since they are two characters in a Chinese love story, Vega the weaver girl and Altair the cowherd.

Here they operated within the fleet of the Bergen Point Ferry, both built in 1946 and discontinued in 1961. 

The ferries were sold after discontinuation of the service, and both were lost in 1961:  Vega off New Jersey and Altair between Mexico and Cuba deep in the Yucatan Channel.   These are small boats to be going to Mexico:  61′ x 38′ x 8′, but another of the set, Deneb, made it and appeared in the Mexican registry.

To drive along Richmond Terrace these days, you don’t get the same sense crossing Port Richmond Avenue that you would have had 70 or 80 years ago . . .  click on the photo below for a photographic tour of what used to be a crossing into NJ.

I used to have a photo of the sign still hanging near the ferry until quite recently, but when I gallivanted around there a few days ago, it was gone and my photo is as well, victim of one of my misguided cullings to reduce the memory demands on my computer.

In that recent gallivant, I did look along the west side of Port Richmond Avenue at this church and graveyard. 

This is some old NYC history, and

names memorialized in places are reflected here . . . .  Prall’s Island today is uninhabited but known to everyone who travels through the Arthur Kill.

Many thanks to Ingrid for use of the Vega-Altair photo.  More of her photos to come.

And while you’re at the Reformed Church, go another 100 yards inland and check out Nat’s Men’s Shop and buy some warm work clothes.

 

As seen from Richmond Terrace, it’s a like a faucet …

Zoomed closer in and seen from this side, there’s a swirl to the flow.  We’ve seen sweet commodities;  now we’re at salty ones.

Guess the world’s leading producers of salt by monetary value before getting the answer, clicking here, where you’ll find that not all salts look alike. Any idea where this salt comes from?  Answer follows.

You can also quantify by tonnage, as seen here. One of my biggest surprises this summer hinged on seeing Manitowoc leaving the Cuyahoga laden with salt mined from beneath Lake Erie! 

Self-unloaders like H. A. Sklenar involve fewer parties and less time in port.

She certainly spent a short time in the sixth boro.

You could almost see her rise from the water.

So . . . the source of this salt is Mexico.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, with cooperation from Brian at Atlantic Salt.

By the way, VSCL expands here, with some photos taken at sea.

 

Recognize this location for sixth boro riverbank living?

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The fine print there says USNS GySgt. Fred W. Stockham (T-AK-3017), which was just outside the VZ Bridge a few days ago.

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Now it’s over by FDNY Marine 9, as if it were someone’s yacht.  The complex finally looked open, so I wandered in and

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here’s what I saw . . . right here on Staten Island.

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I don’t know who lives here or where the clientele comes from, but I’m positive the President-elect will be checking the residency papers on the opticians selling goggles.  Will there be waivers? here.

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Actually, I left quickly because this place gave me a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy feel.

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Now THIS is a strange juxtaposition in this Potemkin Village.

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But don’t take my word and photos for it.  Click here or next time you’re in Stapleton, check the place out, before new tenant emporiums arrive.

All photos this week by Will Van Dorp.

 

See the two big shoes on the Nadro Marine barge pushed by Margot?  You might also call them “pedestals” for the New York Wheel.  Those are size 110-ton shoes.  A little over a month ago, NY Media Boat caught the legs arriving, the legs which will wear these shoes.

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Here’s a close up with two crew getting prepared to offload these shoes.

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Chesapeake 1000–which you’ve seen working here and here–did the lift.  In the photo below taken just prior to the shoes’ arrival, Chesapeake 1000 is offloading the “multi-axle” furnished likely by Supor.  Sarah Ann assists with the swiveling of the large crane.

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Here’s a closeup of the multi-axle (there’s likely another name for that, but I don’t know it)

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and the drone that someone is using to document the transfer of cargoes.

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Here Margot finesses the Nadro/McKeil SV/M 86 with the shoes to the lift point.

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Here’s another view of the same, looking east.

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At this point, the barge is 110 tons lighter as the shoe is lifted and moved carefully onto the dock.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.  More shoes to come, although my Canadian cousins call them “boots.”

Click here for some details from SIlive.com.  And since it’s always good to see more Margot, click here.

Palabora . . . she’s got LEGS!!!  Italian legs.  … Lei ha le gambe!   gambe that will stand astride that harbor and be noticed, cartwheeling on the shore as traffic goes in and out of the Kills, and

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the legs of Bartholdi’s lady will be forever modestly covered.  So why are they made in Pescara on the Adriatic, and not in an American steel mill?  When you break it down, some parts are from Canada, Holland, Germany . . . .  I have no problem with this fact, but I think it should be noted as such.

Thanks to New York Media Boat for the photo.

Here are previous iterations of this title.

 

 

Of course, there are little known gunkholes in the backwaters of the sixth boro where fossils–living and inert–float.  This one is off an inlet behind one island and concealed by another, a place easily missed, and if seen, it gives the impression of being off limits by land and too shallow by water, near the deadly bayou of Bloomfield.  But with the right conveyance and attitude, it’s feasible if you’re willing to probe.  And the fossils have names like . . .

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Caitlin Rose.  I don’t know much, but built in Savannah GA in 1956?  Relentless.  She’s before my time here, but I suppose she’s the one built in Port Arthur TX in 1950.

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I can’t make out all of the words here.

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Ticonderoga is obviously playing possum. Only a month ago she doe-see-doed into the Kills with the ex-Pleon, the blue tug behind her,

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a Jakobson from 1953.

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Dauntless .. . built in Jakobson & Peterson of Brooklyn in 1936, was once Martha Moran.

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From right to left here, Mike Azzolino was built for the USCG at Ira S. Bushey & Sons and commissioned as WYTM-72 Yankton in 1944.  Moving to the left, it’s Charles Oxman . . .

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was built by Pusey & Jones in 1940 and originally called H. S. Falk., and looked like this below, which explains the unusual wheelhouse today.  She seems to have come out of that same search for new direction as David, from a post here a year ago.

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The photo above I took from this tribute page. 

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The small tug off Oxman‘s starboard, i don’t know.

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The low slung tug that dominates the photo here is Erica, and beyond here is a Crow.

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Someone help me out here?

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And as far into this gunkhole as I dared to venture . . .  this one is nameless.

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Oh the stories that could be told here!  I hope someone can and will.  Balladeers like Gordon Lightfoot could memorialize these wrecks in a song like “Ghosts of Cape Horn,” which inspired a tugster post here years ago.  And looking at the last photo in that old post, I see Wavertree, which leads me to this art- and detail-rich site I don’t recall having seen before.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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