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I vividly recall June 2010.  Let’s take June 3.  The two Hornbeck tugs there are Erie Service and Eagle Service, now Genesis Valiant and Genesis Eagle.  Minerva Anna is at one of the easternmost IMTT docks; today she’s eastbound in the Indian Ocean. But in the middle of it all,  GLDD’s Liebherr 966 was getting the channel down to 52′, if I recall correctly. Was that 966 dredge the same as New York?   In the distance the Empire State Building stood alone;  from this perspective today, you’d see WTC1.

Later the same day, and I don’t recall what the occasion was, Conrad Milster brought his big ship’s whistle down to South Street Seaport Museum, and ConEd hooked it up to ConEd steam pressure.  Hear the result here.  To date, this video has received 88,000 plays!!  Here and here are some videos of the legendary Conrad.  A few years later, I went to a marine steam festival in the Netherlands;  I took a river ferry from Rotterdam to get there.  When I stepped off the ferry and walked up the gangway to the dock, there stood Conrad.  Of course he would be there.

June 17 brought the return of Reid Stowe‘s schooner Anne after 1152 days (more than three years) at sea without seeing land!  Here‘s the NYTimes story.

Notice the toll the sea took on the paint.

For more photos of Anne, inside and out, click here.

As serendipity would have it, the day Anne returned, Artemis departed, going on to successfully row across the Atlantic in just under 44 days!  Recently, Reid has displayed art inspired by his voyage, as seen here.

June 26 John Curdy invited me to see a good bit of the Delaware River fronting several miles north and south of Philadelphia.  Overseas Anacortes was not yet launched at that time. As of today’s post, she’s in the Gulf of Mexico off Corpus Christi.

Here is Penn’s Landing and Gazela, which I sailed on later in 2010, but that’s a story already told here.

All photos in June 2010, WVD.


I borrow this title from an event I’d love to see more photos of, an art trip marking National Maritime Day in May 1987 and reported on here and here.  What better way to leap into the future with blasts from the past, borrowing again.

My purpose in this post is to inform about a unique celebratory event at the Pratt campus in Brooklyn that will not be repeated after this week, Wednesday December 31 late into January 1 wee . . .  Here are the directions:  “There will be two gates open, one on the corner of Dekalb and Hall Street; the other is the main vehicle gate on Grand and Willoughby Aves.  Grand Ave does probably not show on maps because  there are super blocks on each side of Willoughby.  Once on the campus head for the smokestack or follow the noise to the calliope.   Closest subway stop is Washington\Clinton on the G train.  Get out at the Washington end of the station.  One block along  Lafayette ,  turn left around the church.  One block down Hall Street you will see Pratt Institute.”

Here and here are previous posts I’ve done on the whistles Conrad Milster has at Pratt.

Here are some of my photos of steam whistles, my tribute to steam . . .

aboard Belle of Louisville,


at the Pageant of Steam,



and all the rest at the Stoom fest near Rotterdam this past May.   Like the 1930 steam tug Roek.




Or the 1933 British Navy torpedo recovery vessel Elfin.



Yes, that’s a child playing on the torpedo.


Or the 1893 Pieter Boele .  . . a steam tug with a bowsprit.



Or the 1915 Hercules.



Dress warm and come bathe in the sound and steam hooked up by Conrad Milster at Pratt.  I’ll see you there.


All Most photos by Will Van Dorp.  The photo above is by the inimitable bowsprite, who captured steam and cold water rituals here 4 years ago.

First, unrelated . . . thanks to Norman Brouwer for his corrections/additions to my “Circum …2” post;  once I get any other comments, I’ll make corrections and re-post.  Norman, maritime historian, thank you.

Horns , , , well, actually, more than one.  But can you identify this one below, which awed me?   Joel–over 6 feet tall– gave permission to use this foto, in which he serves a “scale model.”  Considering the size of this horn, what is its origin?  Answer follows.  For the record, I asked Joel to show how “awed” he was;  he may have heard my garbled request in a very noisy powerhouse as “odd” instead.


The person behind the horns in Brooklyn (you can hear them below) is Conrad Milster, engineer at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.  Conrad–posing here with a few of his horns– says horns have fascinated him since the days he worked on the Hudson River Day Line.  See a vintage Day Line TV commercial here.


And here’s more.  Notice the ruler projecting downward from upper left side of foto.  Conrad has manufactured the “brassier” of these horns, as


he did this calliope.


Notice the white marble base outside the window beyond the calliope on the left side of the foto above.  Here’s an apt figure carved there and


some others, intriguing although slightly marred by ancient–no doubt– vandals . .  or bowdlerists


Back to the horns, the one in the middle–note the size–dates from just post-Civil War era, when it was safety equipment on the ferry Landsdowne, running between Detroit and Windsor.   Yes, you will hear it at the end of this post.


Conrad also collects gauges from the era of steam.  Here  are some previously of the the steamer Orange, running between Newburgh and Beacon, New York.  Many thanks to Steve Turi for passing along the following two links:  live steam voices on New York harbor the sixth boro from 1987 here and here.  If you read the first  paragraph of the first brochure, you’ll see Conrad listed as “special consultant.”   If you look at the second foto in the second link, you’ll see this traveling steam horn exhibit got towed through the Canal by none other than the 1929 tug Governor Cleveland, recently part of the River Day trip.


By the way . . . horns or whistles ? . . .  I can’t quite sort it out.  Steam horn/whistles have largely disappeared from our lives.  As a kid in an agricultural town way upstate, I recall the whistle atop the cannery, announcing shift changes.

OK, give a listen to Conrad’s whistles here.  Conrad is the man in the one-piece wearing the green/yellow ski hat.  Blowing the horns is an annual New Year’s Eve ritual at the Pratt campus.  Other videos can be found in the links on the YouTube page.

The mystery horn from foto 1 blows at between 2:20 and 2:30 of the clip above.  Guess its provenance?

SS Normandie!!!  The horn was saved from the scrap pile and lives on to sing another day and another . . . .  Thanks to Allen’s suggestion, I went looking for a Normandie video:  here it is including the ecstasy, a horn, and the agony.

Hear’s my call to action:  let’s get all the horns we can available on YouTube.  And I’m directly appealing to someone from Kristin Poling–whose horn I recently heard–to help me set up a time/place for me to film/record the horn. I’ll sit on the appointed riverbank and record the sound, the song.    And here’s another, anyone looking for a harbor culture project . . .  organize a reprise of the 1987 “live steam voices in NYC harbor” event?  Here’s current info on Arden Scott, of that event.

Many thanks to Conrad Milster.

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