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Ten years and two days ago, I heard Urger had arrived in town and had rafted up to Pegasus,  so

I had to come down in the late afternoon and shoot this, setting sun just post-Mahattanhenge notwithstanding.   While there, I was asked to take close-up photos two days later of Urger at the Statue.  “Sure,” I said, “as long as you provide a boat I could do that from.” 

Upon a decade’s reflection, I regret we could not have arranged to get photos of Urger with more vessels in the sixth boro, especially with the larger tugboats of NYC 2012, to show difference of scale. You know what they say about hindsight . . . .

When I showed up at Pier 25 on July 14 at 0800, City of Water Day, the light was much more favorable.

Captain Wendy was cleaning up the wheelhouse, and

bosun “mean Mike” was atop the wheelhouse polishing the brass. Happy b’day, Mike!

Once the Atlas Imperial was warmed up and lines cast off, we headed over to the Statue, where

we figured out our position relative to the 111-year-old NYS Canal tugboat, and many photos were taken.

Then the intrepid crew and boat made their way over to Governors Island, where several thousand City of Water Day visitors

toured Urger, a sign I thought that the tug would go on forever, making history tangible, bidding downstaters to come upstate to that waterway that was Urger‘s home turf surf. It was a pleasant thought, and Urger did go on for the next five years.  Now . . . she ‘s in Onondaga County hamlet of Lysander, waiting.  My most recent (May 2022) Urger photos can be seen here.

All photos, WVD, who posted this montage together the next day.

Stay tuned . . . more July 2012 posts coming up soon.

The 2022 City of Water Day–July 16– website can be found here.

Urger got some love yesterday, and tugster was there to document it.

Wait . . . is that Urger?

No . . . that’s tug Seneca

and there is the Capt. Wunder getting some visitation in and 

telling stories about the days he was her captain, but

“there’s more,” he said. 

The older step-sister is here too. 

The tugs were a place of pilgrimage.

Recall they are now seldom-seen but certainly not forgotten. 

Want to make a poster?  Write my email and ask for a full-size version of this image.  Once you get it, send it far and wide to enthusiasts who lament her isolation as well as enthusiasts who can take her out of isolation.  

All May 9, 2022 photos taken by WVD with arrangements by the Canal Society of NYS.  Please share this post far and wide to the family of Urger and Seneca fans. 

 

 

This is a Carlotta in 1921.  I’m curious about the large structure on the after deck.  Is that cargo being carried?

Here’s a Carlotta 13 months later, looking the same except that large stern structure is missing.  The 1913 MVUS shows a steam tug Carlotta 56′ x 13′ x 5′ built in Boston in 1879, but registered in Buffalo as of that date. 

Aimed at canal passersby, this billboard

was located in Little Falls, most likely above lock E-17.  Steam tug George E. Lattimer was built in 1899, 59′ x 16′ x 7′ in Buffalo.

This view of lock E-17 shows a formidable structure, especially without trees on Moss Island.

I had to throw this photo in.  I took it in October 2014 of the 1901 formerly steam-powered  73′ x 15′ x 9′ fish tug Urger at the same location slightly different angle, showing a tree-covered Moss Island and virtually no windows in the powerhouse to the right of the guillotine lock door. 

Jumping back nearly a century, with lots of steam and drama, Geo. E. departs the lock and the rockpile that was Moss Island back then. 

Steamer Merchant tows a string of barges round a bend, which I believe is somewhere west of Brockport. 

From Roger N. Benson:  “A third-class wood steamer Lily was built in 1882, hailed from Buffalo NY.  Lily was 103′ x 22′ x 9′. She was registered for the Barge Canal on May 13, 1922.” Those dimensions make her a fairly large tugboat for the Barge Canal. 

The rails would likely have come from the Lackawanna Steel Plant, which that same year was acquired by Bethlehem Steel.   The area of the plant is currently the site of a wind farm called Steel Winds.

Here an eastbound Lily approaches lock E-11.  Interestingly, since the caption says the covered automobiles are Maxwells, they would be coming from one of the Midwestern plants, obviously not the original Tarrytown NY plant. Maxwell was declining at the time and as of 1922 would just have been taken over by Walter P. Chrysler, before he created the Chrysler Corporation.

I have to end with this photo I took in October 2014;  it’s the same photo of Urger as above, just with the golden morning light color restored.

Thanks to the Canal Society of New York for use of these photos;  the two versions of the Urger photo, WVD.

When this tow came off Oneida Lake headed west, 

I wondered how many folks would interpret this incorrectly, that this was a tow and not a push.

Ditto . . . heading into lock E-23.

 

Of course, regular readers of this blog know precisely what is going on. After a long hiatus at the dry dock in Waterford, Urger has been pushed across the state to the dry dock in Lysander to be hauled out and mothballed, maybe and hopefully to be revived when the time is right, like a cicada or a future astronaut traveling light years in suspended animation . . . .

For more people than not in the “canal corridor” of New York State, Urger is without doubt that best known tugboat, the only one that thousands of New Yorkers have set foot on . . . . 

Who is that unmasked fellow with a t-shirt that reads “tug boating is a contact sport”?

I have it on the best authority that exactly five years ago yesterday, he was in the Urger wheelhouse piloting the now nameless vessel through this very same lock, very much mechanically alive.

 

All photos yesterday, WVD, who offers this post as contribution to #URGERjourney.

Edna A has appeared on this blog by that name;  it was also here as HR Hawk

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve not been to the Great North River Tugboat Race since 2014, but in normal times, September 5 would see the next race.  But we’ve dispensed with the “normal times” concept for the time being.

In selecting the batch for this post, I wanted splash, froth, bubbles, and the effervescence the river can react with when tons of steel and thousands of horsepower push through the ever changing water.   The next two photos are from that 2014 race. 

It was overcast during the race, but an hour or so later, when pushing contests were happening and

the wakes flattened out and we sized up USAV MGen. Anthony Wayne, patches of blue appeared.  I should leave you in suspense about how this push went.  Let me put it this way;  they left town not long after the push-off.

2013 was an equally overcast day, and again, not to identify every tugboat in that lineup, it appears that W. O. Decker has either jumped the gun or activated its jet drive and will soon rise up out of the Hudson on her hydrofoil assists. I’d guess the latter.

See what I told you . . . Decker has gone so far ahead that it’s already over the horizon.

Second lap maybe for Decker?

It’s starting to appear that in 2012, as in ’13 and ’14, it was overcast.

It was great to see Buchanan 12, usually burdened with a half dozen stone barges, disencumbered and frothing up the river.  That’s the 1907 Pegasus back there too.

In 2011, I was able to get a photo of the racing craft along with sky spray by one of the fireboats present, likely 343.  What’s remarkable comparing the photo above with the one below is the color of the water;  hurricane Irene had dropped a lot of rain upstate and all the tributaries sent that into the Hudson with tribute in the form of silt.

Quantico Creek and Maurania III did an excellent job of stirring up the water.

But again, it was overcast and hazy over silty water.

However, in 2010, we had blue skies that really accentuated the DonJon boats like Cheyenne and

the harbor colossus, Atlantic Salvor.

In 2009, there were wispy clouds, allowing the “queen of the day” to be Ellen McAllister. But look who else showed up!!!!

Urger.   Urger would EASILY have won the race, but she was doing what she does best . . .  urging all the other boats and crews to be fleeter than she, holding herself back, allowed herself to be that day.

All photos and commentary, WVD. See you at the races in 2022.

 

 

Happy 120 years old, Urger!  I urge you  to read the note at the bottom of this post.

And . . . .Oops!  I read the timer wrong. Bidding for Grouper, in Lyons NY,  ends about six hours from now. 

Lyons is a county seat, but it’s possible to take a photo of lock E-27, right in the town,  such that it appears to be rural.  A row of buildings to the right separates the canal here from a major street, Water Street;  to the left, there’s a strip mall along NY-31.

Lyons is the home of Muralmania, and it shows;  this was one of two murals just west of lock E-27.  The next lock, E-28A, is about a mile away.

Just before getting to lock E-28A, you see the section workshop buildings.

That’s Route 31 paralleling the canal.

At the top of the lock chamber, you have a great view over into the Lyons Dry dock.  Whatever is in the dry dock during the navigation season is surplus, in need of repair, or beyond repair.  Grouper is there, its rusty stack with its yellow ring visible in the foreground.

Staged and waiting for deployment are a set of tugboats, dredges, and a quarters barge aka “floating lodging,” like the one being auctioned off with bidding ending late this afternoon.  To repeat, I’d misreported closing of bidding in an earlier post, but today it ends.

We negotiate another low rail bridge before coming up to lock E-28B, about 4 miles to the west of E-28A.

 

In the port of Newark, I catch up to Sweet Love, a small trawler I caught at the Narrows last August.  The lovely storefronts in the village disappeared thanks to the misguided efforts in the 1960s called “urban renewal.”

West of Newark at Wide Waters is the hamlet of Port Gibson, Ontario County’s only port along the Erie Canal.  During the 19th-century iteration of the canal, this was a port.

The bridge here has just been refurbished.

From there, the canal narrows as we head west.  The rain started falling as well. 

 

 

We had miles and locks to go, but we called the trip “over” when we got to the Port of Palmyra, because of a breach in a spillway ahead. 

All photos, WVD.

Sign the card here to celebrate Urger‘s 120 years.  Its future too is threatened.

In six days, the gates along the NYS Canal system will be staffed and lifting/lowering vessels across the state.  This is the third in a series of posts about the vessels that have worked to keep the canals functioning. 

Not all these vessels, like Wards Island below, remain;  it’s now over 50′ under surface of salt water on Hempstead Reef, scuttled.  The bow of the tug here, Syracuse, does continue to work as she approaches her 90th birthday.

Below you see the 88-year-old tugboat Syracuse towing a group of canal vessels late in the season back in 2014.

Tender #1, along with most of the other tenders, are now in their 10th decade.

Ditto #9.

Curvaceous boats are out, and state-of-the-art boxy ones are in. 

Boats like Waterford approach their eighth decade. 

Grand Erie and Urger, both inactive, have been featured here many times.

And boxy, mostly nameless replacements have replaced them.

Urger here exits the lower side of Lock 17 in Little Falls as the sun illuminates the chamber.

All photos, WVD, who salutes the crews who operate these boats, even the finicky old ones.  If you’re sailing the canal this summer and see these boats and crews, give a wave but also give them wide berth, as they diligently work to keep the waterway open.

Of course, if you need a guide, check out my virtual tours based on my boat transits and my one bike trip.

T minus 23 days,  that is, for all of us who remember the early days of NASA  . .  . 23 days until the NYS Canals open soon after sunrise on May 21.  If you have the opportunity, get yourself to one of the portals and see the excitement.

At several intervals before then, I will post countdown photos of NYS Canals boats;  all photos of old boats they are, ones that require lots of maintenance, but many folks find them beautiful and desire they be kept in some functioning condition, like old horses put out to clover, not the glue factory.   All these photos I took during the 2014 season, when I worked on the canal.  I won’t include a lot of text here;  besides time constraints, I’ve already included such info in previous posts and years.  Also, let me introduce a new archive, an ongoing project by a young, active Great Lakes mariner. See it here, and the root site is here.

June 2014 in Little Falls, day one of my employment, I waited on the wall for the 1901 Urger. That’s a Quarters Barge #14 (QB14) to the right, a  lodging afloat for canal workers assigned to projects far from home. I slept in the quarters on Urger.

Seneca escorted a tender across Oneida Lake and has arrived at the east end, Sylvan Beach.

Urger here passes Governor Cleveland in a previously unpublished photo.

Syracuse here near the Oswego portal illustrates

the NYS Canals connection with the Great Lakes.  This can be and is a portal to the Gulfs of Mexico and Saint Lawrence, and thence to all the watery parts of the planet. 

Derrick Barge (DB) 4 here transfers dredge spoils from a scow to a bank needing bolstering;  in the distance you can see the beauty of rural Mohawk Valley.

Tender #6, here near Albion, can no longer be seen unless you’re breathing air from a regulator 80′ down 2.5 miles off Shinnecock, a very distant corner of NYS.

Heading for the western end of the canal in Tonawanda,  the aptly named DeWitt Clinton chugs along with purpose between Medina and Middleport.

Pittsford here stands by an ancient scow on another bank near the Rochester suburb of  . . . Pittsford.

All photos, WVD, who has many more to share before the canal opens.  I’ll avoid replication as best I can.

If you want to see more of the canal now, check out my April 2020 covid project, a virtual tour, here.

 

 

An omen of the future . . . in 2013, Urger was laid up, sans her problematic prop shaft.  Here she’s nez-a-nez with Day Peckinpaugh.

Gowanus Bay was looking good.

NYS Marine Highway was well represented,

as always.  And following two of the four NYS Marine Highway boats there was Cornell, Frances and Margot‘s senior by the better part of a decade.

If you’ve never attended, trust me when I say the fireworks show is extraordinary!  Here from the bulkhead a dozen or so thousand spectators

and a few on solo craft

are captivated by the show.

I can’t tell you much about Iron Chief,  except that it has nice brass, a working steam engine, and was for sale in 2012.   In that link, you hear it run.  Of course, in the distance that’s ex-Atlantic Hunter, now Little Giant.

For me personally, 2013 was my first time to see the Blount Small Ship Adventures vessels head into a lock.

 

Besides tugboats, you never know what or who you might see.

it’s bowsprite of the blog and the etsy shop on an underwater mission.

Here’s the line up.

All photos, WVD.

Back in 2010, I did four posts about the weekend, which you can see here.  What I did for today’s post was look through the archives and just pick the photos that for a variety of reasons jumped out at me.  A perk is each of the four posts has some video I made.  One of these photos is from 2006.

Again, I’m not listing all the names, but you may know many of these.  In other cases, you can just read the name.  If you plug that name into the search window, you can see what other posts featured that particular vessel.

Below, here the pack that locked through the federal lock together make their way en masse toward the wall in Waterford.

You’ll see a lot of repetition here.

The photo above and most below were taken earlier than the top photo;  here, Chancellor and Decker head southbound for the lock to meet others of the procession beginning in Albany.

 

 

2020 is Decker‘s 90th year.

 

 

 

Nope, it’s not Cheyenne. Alas, Crow became razor blades half a decade back.

Technically, not a tugboat, but Hestia is special.  We may not have a functioning steam powered tug in the US, but we do have steam launches like Hestia, with very logical names.

 

 

You correctly conclude that I was quite smitten by Decker at the roundup back 10 years ago.

 

All photos, WVD.

And Shenandoah was not from 2010. It was 2009.

 

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