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I have not been back to a closeup of the scrapyard in the Arthur Kill since last spring, but recent correspondence both in the comments area of the blog and private and directly to me prompt this revisitation.  Click here to see the original post from August 2011.  Let me just add that this vessel–Bayou Plaqumine–was originally called Junior Mine Planter (JMP) MAJOR ALBERT G. JENKINS, built 1921 in Bay City. MI.  She didn’t become Bayou Plaquemine until after 1951.  The photo below shows her location since the early 1970s.

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Here’s the view looking northward from Plaquemine‘s bow, and

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from a slightly different vantage point.

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and in the opposite direction.

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Here’s the text of an email I received last week and for which I am very grateful.  “The Jenkins (aka Bayou Plaquemine) was captained by my grandfather, David B Nettles; the Jenkins was used to tow gunnery targets for the Navy and the shore batteries to take target practice with back in the 30’s in addition to her other duties while stationed in Pensacola, FL. My uncles and father all spent time aboard the Jenkins during their childhood and young adulthood. There was a second vessel stationed there as well,  a twin sister of the Jenkins. I have photos of both.  In fact I have one of the bronze bow emblems that was mounted to the Jenkins bow.  I know she was docked at Fort Barrancas and at times Old Fort Pickens. I grew up with many stories about the vessel being shared. The family is all gone now but me and cousin or two. So the stories are all but gone now.”

Cold and damp winter weeks are a time to celebrate the past by telling its stories and sharing photos of its many faces.  I hope this prompts more sharing.

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I’ve paid attention to the recent activity on the blog in relation to “189 Ghost Ships,” including a question I received today about anyone having photos of the ghost fleet maintenance crew, including 85!! civilian employees.  I’d love to see and post some of these photos if you are willing to scan them and share using my email address on the upper left hand side of the main tugster blog page.

By the way, sometimes conversation happen on the FB side of this blog;  I’d rather they happen here so that archiving of comments is more certain than on FB.

All photos here by Will Van Dorp and taken in May 2010 and August 2011.   If you want to see more of the scrapyard and a few of the stories, please order Graves of Arthur Kill.  Click on the image of the DVD to get ordering info.

 

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Many thanks to John Skelson for sharing these photos . . .  and I’ll leave you guessing for a day or so.

Notice the vessel westbound in the background.  In the foreground, that’s Caddell’s with an Erie Lackawanna tug and a dilapidated ferry.    The mystery vessel is what’s in the background.

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The bridge needs no identification although the Bayonne shore in the background looks opener than it currently is.

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The number of tugs is just fabulous.

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And to return some color to the blog, here are Gary (right) and I sharing a beer after the show last night.  Thanks to all who attended and to the crews of five interesting documentaries.   I hope to see more of the festival Saturday and Sunday.

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Again, thanks much to John Skelson for sharing the mystery photos.  Now . .  please weigh in.

 

First the specifics . . . 70 Henry Street Brooklyn Heights Cinema tonight at 7 for reception with showing starting at 8.    After the show, stop by at Park Plaza Bar about .1 mile nearby.

So it’s appropriate to lead these NYC Municipal Archives photos off with tugboat Brooklyn.

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Next  in an icy North River  (?) . . . . . . Richmond.

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Launches  Bronx and

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Queens.

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Passenger steamer Little Silver, which ran between the Battery and Long Branch, NJ in the first decade of the 20th century.

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And finally . . . John Scully, a very classy Dialogue (Use the “find” feature to search) built built tug

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And the connection . . . here’s what boats of this vintage look like today in “disintegration experiments” in waters everywhere.  I took these in August 2011 while Gary and I filmed Graves of Arthur Kill.

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Some boats of this time, of course, still operate like Pegasus (1907) and Urger (1901)

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while others try to stave off time so that they might once again like New York Central No. 13 (1887).

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More from the archives . . .  aerial of Pier 40 and the Holland Tunnel vent . . . photo said to be taken in 1955.

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Photo said to be “three-masted schooner” in 1937.  Clearly that’s not a schooner there with the GW Bridge in the background.  Anyone know what sailing ship that might have been?

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Photo by Sam Brody February 1938.  Ferry Hackensack foreground with Jack Frost Sugars over on the Edgewater, NJ side.

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Todd Shipyard, 1935-41 . .  .  Here’s a list of what was built there and an aerial view (you may have to scroll horizontally) of what it today is occupied by IKEA.

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SS Normandie . . . headed for the North River piers.

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City of Chattanooga December 1937.

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Brooklyn docks as seen from Brooklyn Heights, November 1937.  Here’s a Munson Lines flyer.

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Here’s the schedule–sorry for all the repetition–for Wednesday evening’s documentary portion of the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, where Graves of Arthur Kill will be shown.  Gary and I will hang for a while at Park Plaza Bar after the show. It may be mobbed?

I didn’t want to call this post “something different 19” because clearly it wouldn’t be different from the previous days.  A pattern has emerged, and then I realized that part of the pattern is that these photos depict some of the unidentifiable vessels lost in boneyard or ship graveyards like the one focused upon in the documentary Graves of Arthur Kill.   Here they are, in their prime or at least working although forgotten.

All the photos in this post were taken during the Great Depression, by photographers who were funded through the WPA, Works Progress Administration.  I am grateful this documentation happened.  And my caption are based on the captioning–specific or general–accompanying the photos in the archives.

Below . . . US Gypsum tug.   notice the Bayonne Bridge on the horizon near the left edge of the shot.

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Photographer Ralph de Sola took this shot of tug Sarah and much smaller one without a name I can find.

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Caption says SS Brennen May 1937.  But I believe the vessel passing Pier A is actually SS Bremen.  Assorted small boats here I can’t identify.

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I’m intrigued here by the “car float” marked “Brooklyn Jay Street Terminal . . .”  shifting rail cars from right to left.  Is that a McAllister tug on the far side?  And is that how the Staten Island ferry terminal looked in the late 1930s and what is the building on the water left side of photo where the Coast Guard Building is now located?

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Here’s an intriguing E. M. Bofinger photo dated June 1938, taken from  . . . foot of Wall Street?  If Bennett Air Service is at all related to Floyd Bennett and the now unused Floyd Bennett Field, it’s noteworthy that Floyd Bennett himself had died–age 37– in April 1938.  Click here for many more Bofinger photos.

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Another photographer of water scenes in the archives is James Suydam.  Here are piers 13 through 15, the area currently just south of South Street Seaport.  Prominent against the sky then was 70 Pine, just to the left of stepped back 120 Wall.  The other two are 40 Wall (with antenna) and 20 Exchange, south of 120 Wall.

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Here’s a photo attributed to Treistman, said to be taken from the top of Seamen’s Institute and looking over the same piers as shown in the previous photo.

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Moving back over to the other side of Manhattan, it’s SS Conte di Savoia at the pier with an unidentified steam tug to the left.  For a photo of the liner with more color, click here.

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Again, the context here . . .  Wednesday night, come see the Graves of Arthur Kill, our documentary screened at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival on tugboats and other vessels of this era and older and what became of them.

And if you’re free the night before, check out this program on salvage sponsored by Working Harbor Committee.

 

Here just over a year ago was the release information about the documentary.

And here’s the BIG announcement:  the world premiere of the documentary will happen Wednesday, May 7 at 7 pm at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema and tickets for that evening’s fare . . . including ours are now on sale.  Click here for directions to Brooklyn Heights Cinema on Henry Street.   If you haven’t seen the documentary, we DO turn back the clock on some of the skeletons in the yard.

Just over a week ago, I stopped to look at the yard from outside, from the muddy margins.  Some photos are below.  In 2011, Gary Kane and I had permission to film inside the yard from a leaky rowboat, and the footage of “beautiful ruins” comes to you directly from the leaky rowboat.  By the way, I had a hand-powered bilge pump that kept our equipment dry.

Fragments with a wading bird,

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disintegration with graffiti,

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commingled wreckage,

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terminally rusted disrepair,

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debris still morphing but identifiable,

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ravaged whole machines juxtaposed with live ones.

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Here was the 2010 end of the “graveyard” series . . . all photos shot in the ship graveyard.  Use the search window to see  segments 1 through 3.  And here is the end of the “ghost puzzles” series, all photos I shot while we were filming the scrapyard portion of the documentary.

I hope to see you at the May 7 showing at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema; here again is the link for details.  Also, if you do Facebook, please go to the Graves of Arthur Kill page and click like.

Unrelated to some degree, click here for my latest photos in Professional Mariner magazine.

 

I’m excited to be doing another showing of Graves of Arthur Kill tonight.  I hope to sell some copies, but I also look forward to hearing others’ stories of visiting the marine scrapyard over on the Arthur Kill.

Over the years i’ve done two series of blogposts on the yard:  the ghosts series and the graveyard series.   Another way of viewing the place is as disintegration.  Enjoy these fotos and then I’ll explain where in a perfect world with endless resources I’d like to go next.

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So I’d be thrilled if I could work with someone who could do time lapse simulation like this and this.   I’d take a vessel like Hila aka ATR-89 from the time it arrived at the yard, and project its progressive disintegration over about a century.

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Meanwhile, we have our imaginations.    By the way, we’re selling the video also at Noble Maritime, all proceeds going to the museum.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.

By the way, bowsprite has her own commercial activities operating South Street Seaport’s 14 Fulton Street pop-up shop.

Porthole v. portlight difference?  See if this helps.  Know this location?

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It’s Quester, the legendary “yellow submarine” in Coney Island Creek, which I traveled up with tide/current taxi a few summers back.

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Below is the ruins of PC-1264, one of two World War 2-era subchasers disintegrating in a scrapyard in Staten Island.  Learn more about it in our documentary Graves of Arthur Kill.  Here are some stills I took while we were filming.

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ATR-89 –built 1944– is also in the documentary.

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This vessel dates from 1950 and has been restored to not only working but also

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yacht-like status.

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These fotos will serve as teasers until

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I get that post together about the tour vessel concierge Nan gave me.

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Here’s a post I did a year and a half ago about a tugboat still working on the Hudson that lost its forward portlights.  The second foto above (yes, that’s me) was taken by Marie Lorenz.  All others by Will Van Dorp.

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?

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On a rainy day back in mid-April, Gary Kane caught this display on the East River, just south of Roosevelt Island.

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It was the John D. McKean, a retired FDNY fireboat.  McKean was Camden, NJ built about 60 years ago.  Anyone know what her future may be?

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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.

This piece of private property along Staten Island has intrigued many, inspired some.

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Who knew that water and oxidizing metal or decaying wooden structure could have such beauty? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It evokes feelings of mystery,  mortality, and …

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more.  Some people photograph it, some paint it . . . .  Gary Kane and I filmed the marine scrapyard in the summer of 2011, and we are grateful to DONJON Marine Company for permission to do so.

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Some people call it an accidental maritime museum and think history;  others feel only poetry or visual art.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some see machines, and others  . . .  magic.

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Some vessels there are snipped up, harvested  . . . if you will, whereas

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others just dissolve.

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In the foto above, it’s Gary Kane, the producer, camera operator, and editor of this project and others.  Gary and I offer our 30-minute documentary film here for $11.99.  Click here to watch a trailer.

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We also welcome invitations to show the documentary.  Email me with the invitation.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

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