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I’ve done so many Grouper posts over the years that I should recap. The photos you see below show a tugboat called Green Bay, which was built in Cleveland OH in 1912 as Gary. Here are the subsequent renamings of Gary: Green Bay 1934, Oneida 1981, Iroquois 1987, Alaska 1990, and finally Grouper 1998. Today, Grouper languishes in the Erie Canal near Lock E-28A, a good 325 miles from the sixth boro. Many folks would love to see it resurrect with the name Grouper or some other one.
I’ve gotten lots of email about Grouper, but I really like messages like this one I got last weekend from Jeff Gylland:
“I rode Grouper as a kid all the time. My Grandfather, Lester Gamble, was the captain of then tug Green Bay out of Manitowoc, WI. Have many memories of strong coffee and even stronger language. The boat was converted from coal to diesel in the 1950s. I have many pictures if you are interested. Would love to come to Lyons with 50 gallons of paint and put the old Green, White and Red in the correct places.”
So I wrote Jeff, told him what I knew, and a bit later got another email, this one from Jeff’s aunt, Deborah Wiegand:
“I see my nephew Jeff contacted you and already sent some of our photos. I have a collection ( maybe 20+) of professionally taken photos of the Green Bay taken during the years 1953-69 when my dad Lester R. Gamble was her captain.
Here Green Bay moves the Great Lakes steamer SS South American, built 1913, which some readers may recall seeing in the Delaware River as late as 1992.
Edward L. Ryerson is a beautiful bulk carrier, launched in 1960, still operating on the Great Lakes.
Note the ice on the harbor here.
Here Green Bay fights a fire in 1952.
Many thanks to Deborah and Jeff for these fabulous photos. It is my hope that Green Bay, Grouper, et al . . is brought out of its stupor in Lyons and finds yet another life.
The sixth boro’s blue Friday this year is . . . of course . . . the day after Thanksgiving, notable because that was the day DonJon blue Atlantic Salvor re-entered local waters from Montreal with a barge of Canadian-fabricated segments for the WTC1 antenna. So . . . last night, three full weeks after that arrival, here’s what I stumbled upon over near Pier 25. Around 9 pm, the huge Christmas tree-crane called Chesapeake 1000–same one that deposited John B. Caddell into the waters earlier this week–arrived, and splashed workboat Green Bay into the river.
Brian Nicholas assisted in positioning the 1000.
I shot this looking mostly south from Pier 25. The multi-color tower is WTC-1 in holiday lights, soon to be crowned with the assembled portions of antenna.
From this angle, I might talk myself into thinking the 1000 could just land the segments atop the tower.
I shot this looking north from the area of Stuyvesant High School. That’s Sarah Ann tending Witte 1407. Here’s Sarah Ann when she was orange as a safety vest and operated as June K. My anthropomorphizing brain sensed that last night this 10-year-old tug felt very honored.
Again, I’m shooting south from Pier 25. Borough of Manhattan CC is to the left.
I’m wonder the weight of the hook and block . . . 15 tons maybe?
I’m guessing mostly Supor crew here begin to secure the segment for the lift.
At this point, I had to leave for a few minutes. By the time I returned, the safety crew had blocked access to my former locations and the lift had already occurred.
The 230′ boom of the 1000 landed the antenna segment onto the trailer waiting in the southbound lane of 9A, West Street. Click on that link to see the 1000 lift a retired sunken Staten Island ferryboat.
This foto is taken with my back to BMCC, looking across West Street and toward the river.
Here the Supor trailer–with at least 64 tires NOT counting those on the tractor–prepares to turn east onto Harrison Street . . .
and then south onto Greenwich Street.
The tower to the right side of the foto–colors now dimmed–will receive this segment.
As the train proceeds south down Greenwich . . . notice the WTC1 again, above that green reflection.
Once the construction is complete and –say–10 years from tonight, I hope that we remember the crews who worked this night–and have been working for weeks– to position these materials.
Indulge me . . . I have a bit of unfinished doggerel:
‘Twas 10 days before Christmas
And all lower Manhattan
Seemed gathered the the business
Of drinkin’ and eatin’ and chattin,’
But down at the docks
Near Pier 25
A company of workmen
Was making some barges come alive.
Bowsprite in boots . . . I in my cap,
And artist, riggers, and an engineer
Delighted to watch, had fotos to snap
It brought us good cheer . . . .
All fotos by Will Van Dorp. Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore for my partial parody.
It’s noteworthy that Chesapeake 1000 and this lift is happening about 200 yards from where where the Weeks crews almost four years ago fished US Airway Flight 1549 out of the river, then again delivering the plane ultimately to J Supor crews as well. Click on that link for that long-night tugster report.