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Yesterday, I had permission to board the 1905 ferry Binghamton for the first time in almost four years.  I had studied my 2011 photos a little, but the boat is so changed inside that I really should have printed out some 2011 shots to try to replicate them.  That said, it’s so modified that that might not have worked in some cases.  Enjoy.

Shoreside entrance in October 2011

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and the same mirror but more context in August 2015.  Preserved or cashed in?

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The south end in October 2011

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and in August 2015.

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The whole vessel in 2011, noting the detail left on the wheelhouses

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. . . and  in August 2015.

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East side as seen from NYWaterways in 2011,

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with a (blurry, sorry) close-up;

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and yesterday, August 201,

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with a close-up,showing that someone clearly detached the name board and stowed it on the river side of the wheelhouse.

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The top level east side of the bar in 2011, and

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2015, showing a more sinuous row of clerestory windows mostly broken.

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This is looking southward along the river side lower level and  . . .

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same shot from 2011 but cropped closer to the landing and

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the same landing in august 2015, with the surveyor showing scale.

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This is looking northward toward the GW Bridge in 2011, and

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and the current less enclosed view.

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The rest of the photos just document the current historic ferry as she looked on August 5, 2015.  For comparison, check “Last Call 1, 2, 3 . . .”   and “After Last Call 1  and 2” .

These are the remains of built-in benches, not add-ons.

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This is looking northward toward the GW Bridge along the west side and

 

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a close-up of decking on that quarter.

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On the same side this is the passageway once leading to the four-cylinder double-compound reciprocating power plant rated 1,400 horsepower,  and from

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from farther southward showing silt left by higher tides.

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This is the opposite passageway to the engine on the sunny riverside,

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and the same from farther southward.

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This is the grand staircase looking southward shoreside

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with mirrored ceilings creating a dusty but otherwise Escher-like possibility as go up to the bar.

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This is the south end of the bar deck looking across the river, and the same

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direction as seen from farther northward.

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A patron at this bar might be very tired and very merry, but the mixologist prepares no more drinks and this

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ferry is definitely out of service.

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And we need someone to update Edna.

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All photos by Will Van Dorp.

Click here for some photos of the ferry by Vlad and Johna.   Here’s an almost 20-year-old story about the sad demise of one former owner.

Some of you asked what became of the faux sidewheeler that had been beside Binghamton.  Here’s a foto I took in June.  In July it was still this way.

Behold the hideousness of its facade.

And the dirty secret that it had not only a faux but also a single sidewheel.    Well, call this . . . going, going . . .

Gone.  The “deckhouse” of Neo-Binghamton is no more, as evident from this foto taken on October 4.  It was removed some time since early August.

Note the row of clerestory windows above the coverings on the top deck of the real Binghamton.  They serve to backlight

the beautiful yellow-red stained glass on both sides of the saloon.

My prediction is that with this Newport News vessel . . . there will come no miracle nor will nature nibble away at her for years.

A large mechanical monster will devour her, leaving only memories and

the above ovoid on some old google maps and lots of shoreside constructs with (to newcomers) an implusible Binghamton in the name:  Binghamton Raquetball, Binghaton Deli, Binghamton Plaza, Binghamton Estates . . . .

Fotos by Will Van Dorp, and satellite images from googlemaps.

Stories about parties here made this my primary destination for the recon.  Binghamton is the sole survivor of six identical “double-ender” steam ferries built in Newport News, although by cursory external examination, I’d say calling her a survivor at this point is an exaggeration.

Binghamton arrived in a sixth boro at a time when 150 or so similar ferries served these waters!    How many crossings carrying how many passengers would she have seen between 1905 and 1967?   How many livelihoods?   Her passenger capacity was 986!

Plus vehicles.  In the early years that would be horses, too.

Anyone can share fotos inside in the heyday of the restaurant?  How do I get permission to get fotos of her interior today?  It seems tragic for her to crumble into the river like

these docks slightly to the north, which come

with their own engine parts depot.    Maybe this is a remnant of the disappeared shad fishery of Edgewater.  Here are names of some of the last shad fishermen.  By the way, in the foto above, that’s the Way Upper West Side across the water.

From Edgewater Marina, I followed Thomas Witte and Cheyenne southbound,

past the Crab House, past these barges

of yore,

and past this pier housing with storage for cars beneath.  Now if I lived here, I’d surely buy and amphicar . . . and maybe equip it like an alligator tug . . . and if 10,000 other residents of the sixth boro shoreline had similar equipment . . .   I pause in contemplation.

So ends the recon report.  I need to get up here again soon and then continue my tramp up to the north of the GW Bridge, where tropical

birds like these inhabit the trees.  Who knows what else I might find there?  I’m not in the commercial blogging business, but I do intend to check out Cafe Archetypus.  Anyone recommend it?

All fotos and any errors here by Will Van Dorp.

Note:  the interactive map (first image in Loose Ends 1) can get you to this area: just head north along the river.  Binghamton can clearly be seen, although on the map, the crane barge is not alongside.

For some historical fotos of the area of my recent tramp, click here for railyards, banana piers, pier houses, the “bridge that never was” thank you very much, 1950s cars awaiting a ship for export, crashed ferry stabilized by a tugboat,  old style planting poles for shad nets, and you can sift through here to find more nuggets.

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