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Today’s post comes out of a response I received yesterday from retired FDNY dispatcher and historian, Al Trojanowicz, who wrote, “The full photo is fire aboard SAUGUS, American Export Lines (1919) with fireboat WILLIAM F GAYNOR (1914) alongside, and a mystery vessel off to left. Appears to be similar configuration to the quarantine tug, and original print shows and what looks like a government pennant displayed with a circular or ships-wheel design. The information below is all I have found on this fire, and was the caption pasted to the back of the print. Those ladders seen on forward well deck may be accessing the hold – or from another vessel rafted on the port side.”
The caption pasted on the back reads: “10/2/1926 Fire in freighter Saugus. Photo caption READS “FIREBOATS STAGE SPECTACULAR BATTLE AND SAVE FREIGHTER!” Fireboats fought a brilliant battle, October 2nd, and saved the freighter Saugus from burning to the water’s edge in the East River, New York. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the rolls of thick black smoke issuing from the hold, attracted passing craft, and fire patrols. This photo shows the ship which was loaded mostly with cotton, removed frantically by the hands, off New York City.” (10-2-26) [Photo shows fireboat William J. Gaynor alongside Saugus. An unknown launch is rafted outboard of Gaynor, and an unknown vessel to the left.]
The caption says . . . East River, but the background to me looks like Staten Island seen from mid-Upper Bay.
So here’s a closer up of that unknown vessel. Is it flying the USPHS flag?
I’d speculate that this is a US PHS cutter. I’ve been unable to find a listing of these–like McClintic–based in New York. Also, although today’s FDNY boats have medical response equipment on board and FDNY personnel receive first responder training, back in 1926 they probably did not. And this raises another whole set of questions like, what was training like in the 1926 FDNY, what medical equipment if any was there on board FDNY vessels, and would USPHS vessels have a role in assisting during fires on the water and along the shores and docks? It ask strikes me that–given the amount of smoke emanating from the stacks of these steamers made a fire on the water look very different from one today, where all the smoke you see is from the emergency, not the routine use of fuel. Finally, I’m guessing this fire was not catastrophic consequence given that no story appears in the NYTimes archives and SS Saugus continued in service until 1946, when it as scrapped.
Al also sent along this photo of the Buffalo fireboat Cotter (1900), still in service. Here is a photo of it in 1924, probably in Buffalo. At that date it was still known by its original name, William S. Grattan. In 1928, while fighting a fire on the Buffalo River, it was heavily damaged and rebuilt.
Many thanks to Al Trojanowicz for these photos and questions. Click here and scroll for more information from Al on FDNY Marine division.
Note: This is day 13 of December, tugster’s classic/historic vessel month. If you have photos/stories to share that fit the “classic” parameters, please get in touch.
Here are the previous ones.
This FDNY boat has never floated in the sixth boro, although it should be here this coming Tuesday.
I wanted to catch this vessel in the resplendent colors of October along the Erie Canal.
Watch here for sixth boro harbor news for the time of a welcome ceremony at the Statue of Liberty. William M. Feehan and all his loved ones should be proud.
All photos here by Will Van Dorp.
I’ve long subscribed to the notion that getting there should be as thrilling as arriving, so . . . let’s continue the ride backward past this 1914 post . . . to . . . 1910.
Below . . . it’s the Statue cruise of the day loading where it does today. Notice a roofed Castle Clinton–formerly fort, immigration center, music hall– in the background left.
NYC tug Manhattan . . . built 1874! Now where do her bones lie?
Steamer Brighton assisted by New York Tugboat Company’s Geo. K. Kirkham.
Front and center here is Celt (scroll through) , the yacht with many reinventions that now languishes in a creek west of Cincinnati, waiting for me . . . There’s lots of intriguing traffic in the background.
Thomas Willett built in 1908 by Alex Miller of Jersey City for a fortune in the amount of $335,000.
And finally . . . a 1911 photo of a a vessel captioned as SS Momu . . . . Tug and pier are also unidentified. The logo on the stack should help someone.
That’s it for today. I hope group sourcing can teach us more about these photos.
Along this stretch of . . . bird habitat, Meow man has signed in . . .
and an official boat might just be verifying the authenticity.
Meanwhile, I’m just over two miles off the center of the VZ Narrows bridge . . . doing some of my own verifying. Those round objects . . . half a dozen of them . . . are they . . .
. . . could they be . . see that one splash . . .
harbor seals? This one seems to negotiate for that rock with . . . a ruddy turnstone . . . ?
See the press release here for the NYC Audubon tours here.
Read here about the seal scientists who were on board yesterday also.
What is that canoe-shaped object in the upper left side of this photo?
Anyhow, forget about the cold and book a seal and bird tour . . . on only a few Sunday trips left.
All photos by Will Van Dorp. Nearly three years ago I reported on a seal I interviewed on Fire Island.
Somehow . . . don’t ask me how . .. meow man seems to have “signed” what used to be a white ceramic mug that usually occupies my desk. How DID he deliver that? . . . !@#@!!
The last post in this series–24–was quite obscure. And this one . . . could be called ex-government boats.
The foto below comes thanks to Scott Craven, who caught the vessel upbound on the Hudson near the Bear Mountain Bridge. At first I thought it was a re-purposed 65′ WYTL. With a bit of research, however, I learned it’s the retired Massport Marine 1, Howard W. Fitzpatrick (scroll through to the 8th foto). Note the traces of removed signage along her port side. She’s now replaced by American United. Again, scroll though, and you’ll see the folks on Windermere posted a foto of American United high and dry at the Canadian shipyard here. Click here for more info on Massport. Fitzpatrick launched in 1971 from a now inactive shipyard in southern Illinois, just north of St. Louis. So does anyone know where Fitzpatrick is headed? Great Lakes? the Mississippi system? Maybe a reader upriver can report?
On a rainy day back in mid-April, Gary Kane caught this display on the East River, just south of Roosevelt Island.
All this talk of retired fireboats and mention of Gary Kane give me an opportunity to suggest you buy the documentary produced by Gary Kane and myself called Graves of Arthur Kill. One of the major voices/story tellers in that documentary is a retired FDNY engineer.
Thanks to Scott Craven and Gary Kane for use of these fotos.
From John Watson: When I saw Explorer of the Seas (EOS) leave the dock, I turned on the NY Harbor webcam to be able to watch it leave port after it exited my window view. Carnival Glory had not yet left, so I kept the webcam feed up. Thirty minutes later I checked on Glory’s progress only to find EOS on her way back in. No cruise is THAT short , I thought, so I turned on the marine radio. The pilot said, “…there were waiting on the pier.” Late passengers getting VIP treatment? It turned out to be medics for a sick passenger. EOS went nose in instead of stern first, as it usually does.
Thanks, John. My addition . . . passengers on Explorer of the Seas got a special treat: three times exploring the underside of the Verrazano Bridge on one leg bound for sea. Also, in the first foto, notice Meagan Ann pushing a scow? Time elapse from the first to the fourth foto was less than an hour.
the serene before Irene. As of Friday, the USCG Captain of the Port announced the following: “Commercial deep draft vessels greater than 300 gross tons are not authorized to remain in port alongside a pier after 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011. All vessels must be out of Bay Ridge, Stapleton, and Gravesend Bay Anchorage Grounds by 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011. Only one barge per commercial mooring buoy, with a tug in the vicinity, is authorized after 1800 on Saturday, August 27, 2011…”
NYC officials dictated that 300,000 residents of certain low- lying zones evacuate. Public transportation will cease at noon today, Saturday. From the morning NYTimes, find these other announcements. Doubleclick enlarges most.
the 1958 Black Knight, the Goudy & Stevens yacht featured here three years ago . . . then also running from a storm albeit a thunderstorm that time.
… is that a terrified face appearing like stigmata on the second porthole from the right, and a grinch-like demon on the one to its left? … will ride it out at the dock. I hope the “custodians” in the SSSM offices know our eyes are on them as those same eyes are on the vessels left at the dock.
And who will be in the harbor . . . I’m guessing these folks and ones like them–police, Coast Guard, mariners working on the big ferries and certain private commercial vessels … For frequent updates, read Hawsepiper, Paul the pirate, a scholar who works on an oil barge. Paul . . . if you could get me keys, I’d move your truck outa Zone A.
Be safe. I’m staying on high ground inland.
Since I posted here a half month ago about WIX-327 USCG cutter barque Eagle, visiting the sixth boro, I’ve read Capt. Gordon McGowan’s The Skipper & the Eagle, which details the months he spent in 1946, post-war Hamburg, refitting Eagle (his orders were that appropriating Eagle and getting her safely to the US should happen at NO EXPENSE to taxpayers in this country). If you need a good read, to end the summer, this is it. McGowan’s success depended on many things, maybe the foremost of which were Eagle‘s seaworthiness and the brotherhood of the sea that bridged the divide between Capt. McGowan of now-christened Eagle and Kapitanleutnant Barthold Schnibbe of ex-Horst Wessel.
A hurricane struck Eagle on the final leg of the journey–between Bermuda and New York. As Irene approaches, consider these excerpts from McGowan’s book, written about the experience of being in an open bridge, exposed to wind, rain, and wash.
“In the rising seas the swells were beginning to overtake us, each crest coming in from a slightly different angle, and delivering a wallop to the underside of our old-fashioned overhanging counter” (195). [McGowan added six additional helmsman to the two then on the three linked wheels.]
“Whitecaps had long disappeared nd been replaced by angry streaks gouged on the breast of the waves by the claws of the wind. Puffs became roaring blasts of wind. The average velocity rose above fifty knots. This brought another change. The streaks on the surface vanished, giving way to clouds of spray as wavetops were sheared off by the wind … The stinging pellets of water fly horizontally downwind” (196).
“The early skirling and piping of the fresh gale through the rigging had risen in volume and in tone to belowing and shreiking. The vast sound seemed to fill the world. Voices of men died away and became inaudible. Lips moving, neck cords and veins standing out recalled the silent movie days. Here were faces transmitting thoughts by expression alone. Here was sound without sound. It pressed upon eardrums and bodies as a solid thing. The singleness of this mighty roar brought about a solitude … The voice of the storm was more than a roar. There was a sharp tearing sound–the ripping of the fabric of the gates of hell … The fore upper and lower tops’ls were the first to go. One moment they were there; a second later they had vanished. It seemed incredible that all that remained of the broad spread of sail were these ragged little ribbons” (200).
“I turned to the idea of heaving to. The ship had begun to dive and wallow like a wounded wild thing. Each time a wave overtook us I looked apprehensively astern. As the stern began to lift on the face of a wave, the bowsprit dipped deeper and deeper until it disappeared from sight. When each crest swept from aft forward, the stern settled deeply upon the back on the wave, and the bowsprit pointed toward the sky” (202).
Sorry . . . you’ll have to read the rest. Then there’s also Drumm’s book, which I haven’t read.
All fotos taken Friday by Will Van Dorp, who might not post tomorrow.
A South Street Seaport update: Pioneer and Lettie G. Howard have departed for Kingston.
Friday, July 1 means it’s the start of a long summer holiday weekend, marking 235 years since the independence declaration was signed. Because fireworks flash and spark unchecked in a plethora of state and federal budget debates, I thought time called for government boats shooting water. FireFighter II under the Verazzano Bridge today seemed
Fireboat Curtis Randolph has seen 32 years of service already in Detroit.
Actually not one of these three boats . . docked near Curtis Randolph is a government boat: Huron Maid is a pilot boat (see in at work in this “boatnerd” video), Joseph J. Hogan is mail boat . . . as is
the 62-year-old J. W. Westcott II.
Newark. Judging from this video, Newark and Jersey City have twin fire boats?
Closing shot: is this what 50,000 gpm looks like? For an effective quick summary of the features of Fire Fighter II, see this video. Fire Fighter II and its twin–343–have more than 16 times the water-pumping capacity of FDNY’s first fireboat, William F. Havemeyer.
All others by Will Van Dorp. Happy Independence Day. Be independent!
GB15 was here.
About the foto below, I love surprising discoveries like this: Rikers Island has a launch, Officer Guy Hudson. I wonder if the launch has ever figured in searches for escaping Rikers’ inmates. Click here for foto and video tour of Rikers.*
Below foto taken last weekend, Kojima has made the sixth boro an “annual” stop the past two summer solstices! I also spotted them here in early summer a few years back, too. Suppose they come for the mermaid parade?
Thanks to Captain Zizes for this foto of the Bravest, the most recent FDNY Marine unit, commissioned less than a month ago on May 26. Info thanks to Harold Tartell.
Another shot of EPA Bold arriving through the Narrows a few weeks back. I love the small boat on a trailer on starboard side. Bold was docked at Riverbank State Park–the park over the sewage treatment plant!!–less than two weeks ago.
Yesterday’s post featured a Robert Allan tug in Italy; here’s Fire Fighter II, the latest Robert Allan-designed fireboat in the sixth boro.
Special trash skimmer DEP Shearwater . . . I’d love to hear more about it, and is Jamaica Bay still around also?
Unrelateds: Has no one gotten a foto of Cangarda in the past 36 hours? Does the unique vessel only steam Captain Nemo-style under concealment of night?
And the NYTimes CityBlogs had this article recently . . . a story about the tug Petersburg; a foto of a certain deckhand handling Petersburg lines appeared here almost two years back on tugster . . . see the last foto.
Finally . .. if you’re free Sunday night, come to BAM’s short film series for Jessica Edwards’ Tugs. I think I’ll be there.
*Embedded in the Riker’s Island link is some interesting budget info: Riker’s recent budget info (?.. ok this takes more sourcing) reveals that it spends $860 million at the correctional facility to “control” [wikipedia’s term] 14,000 inmates with 7000 corrections officers and an additional 1500 civilians; less than 20 miles to the southeast, Nassau Community College (NCC) spends $200 million to serve 22,000 students with 740 fulltime professors number currently in flux) and an undetermined (by me) number of parttime professors and administrative folks. I realize that Rikers has to feed, house, etc. their 14,000 “controlees,” but also added into the equation should be that NCC students depart with skills for upwardly mobile jobs.
Toot ‘n Blink, a sound event, tooted and blinked in a small portion of dusk on a big harbor that never sleeps, but you may have missed it last weekend. The audio archive from WFMU is here: click on upperleft MP3 (or pop-up player) and then (if all works) advance the slider bar to 59 minutes into the show. If it doesn’t work, click here for a description of an event celebrating the “harbor and boat as a musical instrument.” Below, voice captains Joan LaBarbara and Ed Herrmann call out commands to an assembly of small boats divided into the quayside fleet and night squadron.
The best place to experience Toot ‘n Blink was from a central location (mission control aka the conductor’s station) on the east end of the Battery. From my vantage, I could hear the commands from the voice captains, hear the fleet respond both over the dockside PA and across the night water, and see the blinkings directed toward us.
Charlie Morrow’s inspiration for this was a sound ‘n light extravaganza orchestrated in the Caspian Sea port of Baku on November 5, 1922, the fifth anniversary of the Soviet Republic. It was toots and blinks magnified a million-fold: “A spectacular, called the Symphony of the Factory Sirens, [combined] a huge cast of choirs (joined by spectators), the foghorns of the entire Soviet Caspian flotilla, two batteries of artillery guns, a number of full infantry regiments (including a machine-gun division) hydroplanes, and all the factory sirens of Baku. Conductors posted on specially-built towers signaled various sound units with colored flags and pistol shots. A central ‘steam-whistle machine’ pounded out The Internationale and La Marseillaise as noisy half-tracks raced across Baku for a gigantic sound finale in the festival square.”
Wow!! Foto below shows the “sound captain” for that event, composer Arseny Avraamov.
Bravo to Charles Morrow and crew. Seriously, I enjoyed the half hour, which reminded me of an acoustic guitar solo with some call and response from the audience.
I’d really like to out-Avraamov Avraamov. Imagine a Super Blink ‘n Toot for some upcoming harbor celebration: call it FLASH ‘N BLAST. Orchestrate bells into squadrons. Wire entire buildings to blink, and the blimp fleet to wink back. Synch all horns from buses, taxis cars, trucks, ships . . . or let them blow at will. Throw in a few million kazoos and any vuvuzelas left over from World Cup celebrations. Mix in serendipitous car alarms, howling dogs, and all the wild parrots of Brooklyn . . . Call in jackhammers, fireworks, foghorns to synchopate … And to really pulsate, bring in all then late-night booze cruise boats with their deafening thumpa-rumba-drumba-boom rythyms.
OK, I hear you . . . it’ll never work . . . . Hmmmm… b- b- b- but … if a smart phone can relate the Moby Dick epic . . . and if Boardwalk Empire’s Atlantic City can be built on a Brooklyn waterfront parking lot, then maybe movie magic can make the harbor and all its vessels into a huge 3D musical instrument/video.
All color fotos here by Will Van Dorp.