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All these fotos I took yesterday afternoon.  Of all the fotos that were taken in greater New York yesterday, these represent probably one billionth of the total.  Besdies the fotos I took on my camera, I took about 10 others, on four other folks’ cameras.  This is New York in springtime;  these people were from four countries:  India, Switzerland, Canada, and the US.  Although the fotos–the ones of tourists as well as the ones below– are quite random, a predictable unity exists.  Can you guess the tug below?

My eyes often “misread.”  From a distance I perceived the name of the yellow tanker to be Atlantic Mule.  I liked that connection with basic transportation.  Shortly after I recognized the name as Atlantic Muse, an appropriately-named Atlantic Concert happened past.  Music was conjured up in my head and feet.

The tug above out-of-focus beyond the apple blossoms was Davis Sea, here being overtaken by Atlantic Concert.  A mere three months–less than 100 days!!– ago, I did this post and video of Davis Sea struggling with ice a hundred miles upriver.

As I composed a shot of tanker Apollon, a pigeon intruded.

This egret was not an intrusion.

A century ago–maybe two centuries ago–there was a stone trade.  Then rock was transported in old schooners, slow and expendable;  now it’s done in dinged up scows and a variety of tugs.  Specialist II looks long and lean here.  She was last in the blog foto’d out of the water.

So on a Monday morning like this, I’ll say something true about feeling lucky to live in New York and know the people I do.   Have a fabulous week;  may it go so fast we don’t fall into the potholes.

All fotos taken Sunday, April 11 by Will Van Dorp.

Just in case you haven’t guessed, tugster rides the tour  bus into the outskirts of Talltalesville sometimes . . . and in his offices along the KVK is reputed to converse with historical personages (more on this at end of post) and  . . . birds.  Like earlier this week, I was just comparing Easter dinner notes with Merg, one of my favorite red-breasted mergansers, and the conversation turned toward olives , my favorites, pitted kalamatas.  Did I say this “office” is near Snug Harbor, a place ghosts reputedly inhabit?  In this link see the last one third for ghosts.

When I noticed Merg’s crest was a bit wilder than a few minutes before,  I followed its line of sight and

I understood.  Shape and scale were both formidable.

Our conversation interrupted, Merg veered to starboard

as this leviathan followed.

Enough already, croaked Merg, heading for the east.

And if the immensity of the blue vessel were not enough, from alongbehind appeared . . . is it Laura K?

That was it for Merg, who dove.  Oh, the great blue container ship is Maersk Kalamata, the closest vessel to 1000′ loa I’ve seen in boro 6 in a bit.  Note Robbins Reef light just forward of the bow.

Marginally related:  the foto below dates from March 2, 2010 in the KVK.  I thought it was a seal.  I saw something (dark shape just to the left of bubbles) swim quite fast just below the surface, but now I’m thinking it might be a dolphin.  Anyone weigh in?  I know there’s not much fotografic clue here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Personages:  A few weeks ago, while I was relaxing on the dock aka my “office” in front of Sailor’s Snug Harbor, an older man ambled down the stairs and walked over to me.  I watch my back and front, so paid attention for awhile.  When he avoided eye contact  and seemed harmless and as fixated on the water as I was, I went back to shooting what passed.  After a few minutes, he waved and said, Foto, foto,”  while pointing to himself.  No matter what I said or asked, all he said was “foto foto,” so I figured why not and snapped his picture.  When I asked his name, he handed me a pizza menu.  Strange, given that he was Asian and I would swear he was Ho Chi Minh or at least his body-double recently.  By the way, HCM lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn between 1912 and 1918 after having worked in the galley of a ship a few years.)    I wouldn’t make this up.  So if that was you, get in touch and I’ll send the foto foto.

Birds just know things, like February geese gather north of the Narrows or



pintails flock to Newark Bay or



buffleheads assemble in Arthur Kill or



pigeons puff up and perch in Jacob Riis Park or even


“some kind of” sandpipers forage along Gravesend Bay or



in summer egrets meditate above the Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor, but



although there’s a tugboat art exhibit at the Noble Maritime collection starting this Sunday afternoon, nowhere have I found a press release!! Be along Richmond Terrace this Sunday at 2 pm for a tug parade in honor of the opening. But why no information about the exhibit online?

UPDATE: Here’s a link to that tugboat exhibit.  And a time-forward link to the parade the birds foretold.

Photos, WVD.

For three magical years I lived on a boat 20 or so miles east of JFK Airport. There were challenges, especially in winter, but one of the treats was the ever-changing mix of birds. My favorite was the black-crowned night heron, the only bird that terrified my parrot. When the heron would land on the lifeline to scout for food in the water, the parrot–usually our raucous watch bird–would retreat to his cage and shrink in the corner. “Heron fish” were plentiful there: we used to watch him spear and gulp at the rate of at least once per three seconds. Here’s a heron on a mudbank along the Hackensack.


Notice the head feather. I was quite surprised when I saw this heron in an urban environment as well. These next two photos were from a dock.


And next. How can it concentrate on fishing or maybe how can the fish concentrate on checking for a stealthy feathered predator on the dock?


By the way, this is an unretouched photo. Camera info is on my about page. A friend reports seeing groups of night herons flying past her 47th floor window on the Upper East Side; she speculates the population along Newark Bay and the Hackensack is the same as the one on the East River and Flushing Bay, less than 10 miles. We commute, and birds are more independently mobile over obstacles like water and natural and artificial cliffs than we are.

And the picture above, hardly as interesting as the night heron, the omnipresent waterbird, the gull juvenile, something I’d never seen until last summer. Living on the abutment of a long gone bridge across the Hackensack, this juvenile only  gull parents could love was being spoiled by two adults bringing it food.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


July 2020