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This is a singular image, a 1969 tugboat in a century-and-a-half-old graving dock in Brooklyn. Some of you maybe saw it on FB, but not everybody wades in FB waters. What makes this photo so powerful to me is such a combination of composition, subject matter, and light that different people will look at this and see not all the same things. Some might see beauty, and others defeat . . . or power, or fatigue, expense, challenge . . . . It strikes me as not unlike this Mark Twain passage on conflicting ways of seeing a river. And I’ll stop myself here.
Click here for a favorite I took of the 1969 YTB-803 Nanticoke, now Robert E. McAllister.
Thanks again to Donald Edwards for permission to use this exquisite photo.
And while we’re on a Mark Twain morning, at the end of this post is a clue to my summer/fall employment.
If you’re going to the market event in Manhattan today, look for signs like this, painted what must be Ceres
blue. This is the west end of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, closest to Vinegar Hill. Beyond the East River there, protruding into the sky to the right, that’s the empire State Building. Ceres has arrived, and
Excuse the poor quality foto. Could someone explain the dried (?) birds’ wings?
There was seaweed . . .
wild artichokes, and much much more.
Morgan O’Kane played, parents shopped and talked, and and kids danced.
If you’re local and have time, get down to the New Amsterdam Market today . . . on the opposite side of the river here.
Congratulations to Erik and the team for a very big accomplishment. Although there’s lots of work left this season, season two starts up soon. Here’s some preliminary info on the vessel, which was modified in the construction. In case you’re wondering . . . Erik’s estimate is that Ceres sailed only about twenty percent of the trip.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who alone is responsible for any errors in reporting.
More Seth Tane fotos.
Foto #1. It’s 1979, 34 years ago. What I see is no structure on Pier 17 Manhattan, lots of covered warehouses and a ship on the Brooklyn side. Extreme lower right of foto . . . is that the floating hospital? There’s another large white vessel to the left of lightship Ambrose. There’s a vacant lot just to the south of the Brooklyn side access to the Bridge. And a large ATB looking tug in the Navy Yard. What have I missed?
Foto #2. W. O. Decker–in my posts here and here and many other places–comes to pick up a tow, Poling #16. Digression: if you do Facebook, here’s the Marion M (shown in the second Decker link there) updates site with fotos. Lots of intriguing details in the background of the Navy yard here.
Foto #3 Driving Decker here is most likely Geo Matteson, author of Tugboats of New York. A 2013 “reshoot” of this cityscape is a “must do.”
Foto #4. Tied up at Pier 17, Decker remakes the tow to get the tanker alongside.
All fotos by Seth Tane.
If you’re interested in collaborating in a documentation of the changing harbor, particularly the evolving articulation between the sixth boro and the other five, please contact me. See address upper left side.
Here was 7.
Below . . . that’s Weddell Sea, last here (second foto from last) in green. Seeing a vessel like this is not unlike “doctor’s office” nekkid . . . so much more is revealed, and I don’t mean just physical.
To see many more fotos of her afloat, click here.
Amy Moran–telescoped-up-house– was here literally half a year ago.
And four years older and upstate New York-built . . . here’s James Turecamo.
Finally . . . about to be high and dry, here was Barbara McAllister just driving into Dry Dock #1 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard last week. Click here for a short lecture on Dry dock #1 by a Yale architecture professor.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who hopes to get some great high and dry later this week.
Question: PT 109, where is it today and what was its life span? Answer below.
At my last count, Kingston, NY was home to four World War II PT boats. In milder weather than today, PT 728 travels the river with passengers; the occasion for this foto, taken in November 2009, was the arrival in the sixth boro of USS NewYork. PT 728 was built in Annapolis, but others were built in New Orleans and in the sixth boro’s own Bayonne, NJ.
A few days ago I stumbled onto video 1 of 3 of ELCO manufacturing in Bayonne. Enjoy it here. More manufacturing here. This clip shows a group of PT boats heading up the Hudson and traversing locks in the Erie and Welland Canals; great short brief glimpses of locking and of at least one 1945 tug, passenger vessel, and commercial shipping in the Welland Canal. Finally, here’s a brief report on a New Orleans-built PT boat restoration project.
Thanks to Ken’s comment, I went in search of info on the most famous of PT boats, the 109, associated with the president who was sworn in exactly half century ago yesterday. PT 109 was an ELCO, launched into Newark Bay on June 20, 1942 and fitted out at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Anyone have any fotos?
Answer: 1200′ below the surface in the Solomon Islands. Its service life was barely one year, sinking on August 2, 1943.
Foto above by Will Van Dorp, who needs to get more PT boat fotos.
Allen Baker has worked on four of the five Great Lakes in recent weeks and shares the next four fotos. Massachusetts has that low, upswept “laker look” that reminds me of Grouper, which I’ve not received updates on. Any guesses on location of the shot and launch date of Massachusetts?
For launch date, you were right if you said . . . 1928! She’s 79′ x 20′ x 12′ and operates with Great Lakes Towing. And then there’s Manistee, delivered in May 1943 to Reiss Steamship Company. Since then, her original triple expansion
steam power plant was replaced by a slightly-more powerful 2950 hp diesel engine and equipped with a 250′ self-unloader. By the way, Reiss once owned Grouper, also.
Like most lakers, Manistee is long and narrow (621′ x 60′ x 35′), with a bluff bow, maximizing cargo space, and a wheel house forward with a stern “island” over the power plant. The oldest laker operating on the “big lakes” is St. Marys Challenger, still hauling bulker cargo since its launch in February 1906!! It still uses a Skinner Uniflow 3500 hp steam engine.
I took the next two fotos in Muskegon, MI, in June 2008, where Paul H. Townsend has been idled since 2005. A fascinating detail about Townsend is its conversion: built in Wilmington, CA in 1945, it was lengthened from 339′ x 50′ to 447′ x 50′ in 1952 . . . in Hoboken, NJ. The wheelhouse was moved forward in a separate modification in 1958 on Lake Erie. If you click on the link above, you’ll find before/after fotos.
When last sailing, she hauled gypsum or cement, now more frequently carried on barges pushed by the likes of Samuel de Champlain. Notice the same fleet colors. In this 2008 post, notice the second vessel (in a Lake Ontario port) down in the same colors as Townsend.
A “laker” moved into the sixth boro in the summer of 2005. Ocean and Coastal Consultants and Bayshore Recycling use Valgocen (ex-Algocen) in the dredged materials decontamination process (See p. 2 in this newsletter.). Valgocen currently lives along the Raritan River,
startling me every time I notice it. A laker . . . in an estuary. But there it is was, repurposed. The foto below–as the one above– shows it in the St. Lawrence on its way to the sixth boro towed by tugs from Atlantic Towing Limited. See important update at the end of this post.
Thanks to Allen Baker for the first four fotos, and to Kent Malo for the last two.
Unrelated . .. I’ve been reading DieselDuck’s archives, not homing in on any particular post, just enjoying the sweep of their focus. Check them out here.
UPDATE: Jeff’s comment got me looking and –sure enough–Valgocen is no more, having reborn as J W Shelley, back at work on the Great Lakes, as of this writing between Montreal and Lake Erie. Thanks, Jeff.