You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Helen McAllister’ tag.

If it seems I’m doing a lot of redux, etc. these days, my explanation is that 2012 was a great time for my being out there taking photos.  It was entirely by chance that I walked past this scene on July 17, 2012 before 0900.  I can’t even remember why I was there.  Now it matters no more because as soon as I saw this, scuttlebutt told me what was happening.  A towline on Helen‘s stern after all those years meant

she was moving.  I raced around Peking to get a different perspective.   She was indeed being towed out and made fast to the car float with the green spud.

I saw McAllister Responder there, but I had’t figured out why, yet.

After spinning around (does Decker have z-drives?!!)  [just kidding], deckhand made up head to head with Helen on Decker‘s port side, and

began to move astern.

At the same time, Responder crawled astern on the far side of the opening.  Now it wasn’t until today, studying these photos, that I noticed the crewman about midships on the stern deck.  Would that have been the late Capt. Brian?

But as I said, I hadn’t noticed that person until today. He shows up in another photo. 

Once Decker had Helen out of the “anchorage” enough that Responder could take Helen alongside, Decker threw off her lines and

 Responder took over as dance partner for the the 1900 Helen. Notice the crewman on the stern deck?

Away they went on

might have been Helen‘s last transit of the Buttermilk channel.

All photos, WVD, who last posted photos of Helen here half a year ago.

One of the photos from this July 2022 event was memorialized here, I’m happy to report.

 

Let’s jump back to May 2012.  Over along the Manhattan side of the East River then, I caught this scene.  Since then, there’s been some movement:   Peking to Germany,  Marion M to the Chesapeake,  Helen McAllister to  . . . rebirth as new steel.

Cheyenne has migrated to the Lake Michigan for now.

Twin Tube is still around but sans the boom.

Ellen McAllister is also still hard at work in the sixth boro, but I don’t see her doing much indirect towing as here.

Mark Moran was just passing through from the shipyard to Charleston.

Swan, built in 1981 and showing as her last movement three and a half years ago in China, has likely gone to rebirth as new steel.

But a decade ago in May 2012, she was here to move some used tugboats over to West Africa. Here she’s already down and BFT No. 38 with a crew boat strapped on has already been loaded, while

McAllister Sisters and McAllister Girls wait with three Crowley tugs, 

Cavalier, Pioneer, and Mars

After they are floated aboard, the tide turns the anchored Swan.

Socrates and Heron also float aboard, and

overnight, Swan gets deballasted and raises the hull, so that we can see their five-bladed wheels.   More of the story here.

Also in the boro those days was Picton Castle, showing the flag and more, maybe recruiting some hands

before sailing away.  Does anyone have news about her?  Has she really stayed in Lunenburg since late 2020?

All photos, WVD, exactly 120 months ago.

Unrelated to any of this, read this May 2004 article by the late great Don Sutherland and reflect on how much change has occurred.

The year is in its last hours, and these vessels saw their last hours in this year as well.  Of course, this is a subjective list, made up of mostly photos I’ve taken over the years of sixth boro and Great Lakes vessels. This list is not definitive.  If you know of others, you might add them in the comments section.

Many photos of Helen McAllister have appeared here over the years, but time caught up with the 1900 Helen, who began and ended her life on Staten Island.  I caught her doing her last dance –a tango or a waltz– here.

More than 10 years of silence passed between the photo above at the McAllister NY yard and the one below in Tottenville.  Eagle-eyed Tony A. caught her stripped of her identification and ready for the scrapping jaws last month.

The 1907 Pegasus saw her end this year as well.  I spent many hours on Pegasus, and regretfully, sometimes the scrappers’ jaws are the most humane end for boats. 

The 1970 Joanne Reinauer III also saw its end.  I learned a lot about the modifications made to tugboat from her and from photos of her tranformations supplied by readers.  My photo below is from 2009.

The 1972 Viking also saw a series of modifications.  You might think a powerful machine like this . . . like these . . . would never wear out, but like you and me, they do.  I believe it was 2021 that she was scrapped, but it may have been earlier.  The photo below is from the September 5, 2010 tugboat race.

The Great Lakes shed some vessels also.  Mississagi began work in 1943.  I took the photo in Lake St. Clair in August 2016. She was towed to a Sault Ste. Marie scrapyard in October 2021.

Manistee dates from the same year and has the same dimensions–620′ x 60′– as Mississagi.  This photo I took in Toledo, where she had been laid up for some time.  More on Manistee here.

Ojibway, a 1952 bulker, is currently underway in the Saint Lawrence River, bound for Port Cartier with a load of grain.  After that, she’ll lay up awaiting an uncertain future.   For what it’s worth, she came off the ways the year I was born.

And on a sad note, the 1975 St. Clair was relatively new for a Great Lakes bulk carrier, but a devastating fire during winter layup  in February 2019 condemned her; she arrived at the scrapyard in Port Colborne just a few weeks ago. Photo here is credited to Corey Hammond.

Thanks to Tony and Corey for their photos;  all others, WVD, who wishes you all a healthy and happy 2022 and the fulfillment of all your goals.

And unrelated to this post but entirely germane to this day of reflection/new goal setting before a new year, check out Ellen Magellan’s expeditions.  That’s not her real name but it’s so clever I wish I’d come up with it. 

 

Today the sixth boro and environs face Henri, whose story is yet to be told.  August 26, 2011 . . . I was at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and these Hurricane Irene signs were up.  When Irene’s story was told, it had done unusual damage upstate far from salt water;  here’s more.  Some repairs took until 2016 to complete.  From here I took the ferry to Whitehall in Manhattan, and then over I walked to South Street Seaport, where I wanted to see storm preparations.  See the story at the end of this post.  

In late August 2011, I was documenting a slow decomposition, getting footage of what became a documentary film called Graves of Arthur Kill. Gary Kane was the producer;  I was the director, or something.  If you’ve not yet seen the documentary, you can order it by clicking on the disintegrating wooden tugboat image along the left aside of this blog page.  Some of the vessels in this post are discussed by multiple sources in the documentary.  Keep in mind that these photos and the footage in the doc recorded these scenes a decade ago, almost to the day.  Hurricanes, freezing and thawing, and just plain daily oxidation have ravaged these already decrepit vessels for another 10 years, so if you were to go to these exact locations, not an easy feat, you’d see a devolution.

I’m not going to re-identify all these boats–already done elsewhere and in the doc–except to say we saw a variety of boats like this tanker above and the WW2 submarine chaser alongside it.

Other WW2 vessels repurposed for post-war civilian purposes are there.  More were there but had been scrapped prior to 2011.

See the rust sprouting out from behind WW2 haze gray.

In the past decade, the steam stack on this coastal ferry has collapsed, and the top deck of the ferry to the right has squatted into the ooze below.

Some steel-hulled steam tugboats we never managed to identify much more than maybe attributing a name;  they’d been here so long that no one remained alive who worked on them or wanted to talk about them.

We used a rowboat and had permission to film there, but the amount of decomposing metal and wood in the water made it nearly impossible to safely move through here. We never got out of the boat to climb onto any of these wrecks.  That would be if not Russian roulette then possibly some other form of tempting fate.

Most emblematic of the boats there might be this boat, USS ATR-89, with its struggling, try-to-get-back-afloat stance.  She was built in Manitowoc, WI, a town I’ve since frequently visited.

Wooden hulls, wooden superstructure . . .  I’m surprised they’ve lasted as long as they have.

Since taking this photo in August 2011, I’ve learned a lot about this boat and its four sisters, one of whom is now called Day Peckinpaugh

I’ve spent a lot of hours this month pulling together info on Day Peckinpaugh, launched as Interwaterways Line 101;  the sister vessel above and below was launched in July 1921 in Duluth as Interwaterways Line 105. The ghost writing in the photo below says Michigan, the name she carried during the years she ran bulk caustic soda between the Michigan Alkali plant in Wyandotte MI and Jersey City NJ via the Erie Canal.  Anyone local have photos of this vessel in the sixth boro or the Hudson River?  I have a photo of her taken in 1947 transiting a lock in the NYS Canal system, but I’ll hold off on posting that for a few weeks when the stories come out. What you’re looking at above and below is the remnants of a vessel currently one century and one month old. 

The Interwaterways Line boats were designed by Capt. Alexander McDougall, who also designed the whalebacks of the Great Lakes, like Meteor. Here‘s a whole blog devoted to McDougall’s whalebacks.

This ferry used to run between Newburgh and Beacon;  on this day in August 2011, we just rowed our boat onto the auto deck.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned Hurricane Irene and going over to South Street Seaport Museum.  Two of these vessels here have seen a lot of TLC$ in the past decade. That’s a good ending for now.  Helen, with the McAllister stack, is still afloat and waiting.

All photos in August 2011, WVD.

A final sentiment on Graves of Arthur Kill . . . Gary Kane and I set out to document what was actually in this much-discussed boneyard;  we wanted to name and show what existed, acknowledge what had existed but was already gone, and dispel some of the legends of this place.  We were both very proud of the work and happy with this review in  Wired magazine.  If you still want to write a review, get in touch.  It would be like writing a series review of Gilligan’s Island, but still a worthy exercise.

 

I have represented these “retro” posts as a slice of the sixth boro exactly a decade ago, but it more like  . . . what in the boro caught my attention.  So welcome back to December 2009, as seen from today, December 2019, taking advantage of 20/20 hindsight.  And, to digress, I’ll bet the term 20/20 [2020?] hindsight will seen a bit strange in the next thirteen months.

Over at South Street Seaport, a group of vessels then is no longer there: Marion M, Peking, and Helen McAllister.  Of those, Peking, though not the oldest, has the longest and most convoluted saga.

Sea Raven is no more, but with those high pipes, she always caught my attention.

Cable Queen seemed to have a future back a decade ago, but naught seems to have come of it, since last time I looked, she was still docked in Port Richmond.  For context to this photo of the 1952 vessel, click here.

NY Central No. 13, scrapped in 2017 . . . also seemed to have a future back in 2009, although the owner was not in a rush to complete the job.

In 2009, the sixth boro was in the midst of a several-billion-dollar dredge project, as folks were talking about these ULCVs that would be arriving after the opening of the new Panama Canal locks. GLDD’s dredge New York was part of that effort.

I don’t know if Volunteer is still intact, but I’ve not seen her in years.   Here she lighters Prisco Ekatarina while Mark Miller stands by.  As of this writing, Prisco Ekatarina is in the Gulf of Finland.

Does anyone know if Horizon Challenger, built 1968 in Chester PA,  still floats?

Patriot Service currently works as Genesis Patriot.

I believe Escort is laid up.

And let’s close with these two.  Below it’s the now modest looking Ever Divine and Tasman Sea, and assembling photos for this post, for the first time I see the Taz’ devil sign on the stern of Tasman Sea . . .   Maybe I’d seen it before and just forgotten.   Ever Divine is currently crossing the Indian Ocean.

There it is . . .

All photos taken in December 2009 by Will Van Dorp.

 

Actually, the full title of this book is Tugboats Illustrated: History-Technology-Seamanship with Drawings by the author Paul Farrell

I first heard of the book and Paul Farrell last February;  I got an email from an editor at W. W. Norton expressing interest in licensing one of my photos for the cover of the forthcoming book. The photo was the 9th in the post called “Helen’s Last Waltz.” I was thrilled, as you might imagine, and we arrived at a price. Then I hoped it would be an attractive, technically accurate book.

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A few months later, Norton’s publicity department sent along a five-page sampler and asked if I’d write a review of the book. The cover letter described Tugboats Illustrated as “gorgeously detailed guide to the evolution, design, and role of tugboats” from “ the earliest days of steam up to today’s most advanced ocean-going workboats” and referred to its “dynamic drawings that show how different kinds of propellers move, to explanations of the physics and engineering that allow this movement to happen.”

Mr. Farrell, an architect with almost a half century of experience, was described as having spent a quarter century researching and writing this book, his first. When someone spends that amount of time focusing on a subject, I’m impressed. But I wasn’t ready to do a review until I saw the entire 156-page book, which arrived in November.  The photo below should illustrate how comprehensive this slim but well-designed book is.

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I first paged through it and then read it cover to cover. Paging through, I noticed how many of these “dynamic drawings” there are, more than 70 of them at least, depending how you count.  Below is a sample of a set of drawings from p. 114, illustrating an evolution that always mesmerizes me . . . a flanking turn with a long tow on a winding river, and he shows it from both the downstream and upstream perspective.

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Indeed, an architect’s drawings honed by years of professional work complemented with captions, guided by the experts in the wheelhouse, illustrate complex maneuvers in this and many other instances.  Ironically, Farrell never intended to showcase his illustrations in the book; he says it began as “rough sketching intended to guide a mythical illustrator who would intuit just the right feel and content” until he realized this these sketches, such as they were, would work. He reports that doing the set of drawings to illustrate hull chines as seen from underwater were pivotal. I find them charming, below (p. 93),  a boon to the book and not just “limited” or “enough.”

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Then there are the photographs, over 80 of them in total and more than half of them in color, many of them taken by photographers whose work I know and have great respect for: Brian Gauvin, Alan Haig-Brown, and Pat Folan.  There was one photo by Rod Smith, who has so many to choose from in his albums on the shipbuilding work at Senesco. Many of the black-and-white photos come from the collections of Steven Lang and Brent Dibner. Other photos introduced me to photographers I’d like to see more of in the future.

In the “Acknowledgements,” Farrell reveals that he first sent a draft of the book to Norton in 1996, a full twenty years ago. When a book takes shape over such a long period of time as this one, it gets vetted for accuracy and thoroughness, which this one has.

Got friends who want to learn about tugboats? Want to expand your own knowledge of the history and variety of these vessels? Then order it here.

I’m just so thrilled that my photo from that July 17, 2012 move graces the cover of this fine book that I’ll digress and post three more photos from that day.

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Helen, she is a classic from 1900!   Does anyone have photos of her working out of South Carolina waters as Georgetown?  In that photo above, Helen looks just slightly like Little Toot in Hardie Gramatky’s wonderful watercolors, reproduced on p. 11 of Paul Farrell’s book.

Click here for some previous reviews.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

 

 

 

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Name that tug?  Answer follows.

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Kodiak . . . this is a new one for me and a one-off trip for the vessel?

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The tug here is

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Liberty Service.  And yes, that’s Chesapeake Coast in the distance.

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McKinley Sea leads Bluefin in from the anchorage.  I’m not sure why Bluefin is still gray.

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This is an impressive lineup in the late fall afternoon light:  the McAllisters Kate, Bruce, Helen, Brothers, Brian .  . and more.

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This vessel I truly don’t know.  It’s new in the harbor, and I have a hunch . . . but will keep that to myself.

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And the mystery tug at the start of this post was none other than W. O. Decker.  Here’s one of my favorite set of old photos of Decker.  Here are many others.

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All photos very recently by Will Van dorp.

First, if you’re free today and within travel distance of Lower Manhattan, do yourself a favor and attend this event, 4 p. m., a book signing by Dr. James M. Lindgren.  His new book is a much needed complement to Peter Stanford’s A Dream of Tall Ships, reviewed here a few months ago.   Details in Preserving South Street Seaport cover almost a half century and will enthrall anyone who’s ever volunteered at, donated to, been employed by, or attended any events of South Street Seaport Museum.  Lindgren laments SSSM’s absence of institutional memory saying, “Discontinuity instead defined the Seaport’s administration.”  Amen . .  as a volunteer I wanted to know the historical context for what seemed to me to be museum administrations’ repeated squandering of  hope despite herculean efforts on the part of volunteers and staff I knew.

As my contribution to creation of memory, I offer these photos and I’d ask again for some pooling of photos about the myriad efforts of this museum over the years.

Pier 17.  April 17, 2014.  According to Lindgren, this mall opened on Sept 11, 1985 with a fireworks show.  Its demise may by this week’s end be complete.

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April 12, 2014.  Photo by Justin Zizes.

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Feb 23, 2014.

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Jan 21, 2014 . . . Lettie G. Howard returns.

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Sept 20, 2013.  This is the last photo I ever took FROM the upper balcony of Pier 17.

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Sept 12, 2013.

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July 2012.  A fire had broken out on the pier, and Shark was the first on scene responder.   Damage was minimal, despite appearances here.

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Now for some photos of vessels that have docked in the South Street area in the past half century.

July 2012 . . . Helen McAllister departs, assisted by W. O. Decker and McAllister Responder.

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June 2012.  Departure of Marion M as seen from house of W. O. Decker.  Photo by Jonathan Boulware.  The last I knew, Marion M is being restored on the Chesapeake by a former SSSM volunteer.

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Lettie G. Howard hauled out in 2009.

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2009. The Floating Hospital . .  . was never part of the SSSM collection.

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2009.  Maj. Gen. Hart aka John A. Lynch aka Harlem.

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Helen McAllister with Peking and Wavertree.   Portion of bow of Marion M along Helen‘s starboard.

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Mathilda posing with W. O. Decker in Kingston.  2009.

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Moshulu now in Philadelphia.

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2005, I believe.  Spuyten Duyvil (not a SSSM vessel) and Pioneer.

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Thanks to Justin and Jonathan for use of their photos.  All others by Will Van Dorp.  For many stories on these vessels, that mall, and so much more, pick up or download these books and read them asap.

 

 

See it there, the modest red covered barge between Wavertree and Peking?  The steel covered barge is called Progress today.   Once it transported coffee from ship to shore.   I’m making a note to myself:  learn more about these.

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And right across the East River to the right of the firehouse at Fulton Landing, that modified but still modest white barge used to be Erie Lackawanna 375.  It too transported coffee.  More on this later.   I took this foto 6/16/2009.

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Here’s another modified coffee barge, this one just south of Camden, NJ, now the floating office of McAllister in that waterway.

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It’s a counterpart to this McAllister office on the KVK.   So given all these repurposed coffee barges I knew about, why

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did it take me a day short of seven years doing this blog to go to Bargemusic, the EL 375 barge in the foto above?   Shame on me, posing in the “shadow selfie” below, for waiting so long to check out this extraordinary barge.

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I trekked out there yesterday in spite of the gusty sub-freezing weather to hear some music and have a look.

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It was warm inside and the smell of old wood  . . . I felt immediately welcomed.  Note the brick fireplace to the left.  Some wood from American Legion lives on here.

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Jung Lin was warming up on the Steinway, as

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was Andy Simionescu.

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I didn’t–and one shouldn’t–take fotos during the performance, but during intermission, I went out onto the pier to see the view from the “back” of the stage.

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Here’s  the obit of founder Olga Bloom–with more info on her barge project– from the NYTimes almost exactly two years ago.  From this article, I learn this was her third barge, that it was built around 1900, and that Peter Stamford was instrumental in getting it permission to dock at Fulton Landing.   Here’s a spring 1978 article on what may have been Bargemusic’s first season.  Here’s a link that gets you an interview with the current president and calendar of upcoming events.  By the way, at 2:48 in that interview, a Bouchard tug passes eastbound on the East River.

Credits to those who offered marine trade skills and others can be found here.

Request:  the bargemusic site credits a Captain Hearnley as the one to tow the barge to this location.  Can anyone say anything about him?  Does anyone know the name of the tug or . . . have a foto of that tow?  When was the former EL 375 last  hauled?

Final shot for today, a foto from 8/27/2010 of Volunteer passing bargemusic.

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  If you have never been to bargemusic, you’ll thank youself if you go there SOON.

For two more repurposed barges serving as cultural centers, click here and here.  Pennsy 399 will deliver sinterklaas to Kingston this coming week.

Those film awards started in 1929.

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William Oscar Decker was launched in 1930.

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Every day should be Oscar day and every night . . . Oscar night.  And the winner is  . . . W. O.!  Shouldn’t there be a George Stanley statuette front and center of wheelhouse?

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All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Foto #1 taken in September 2010 in Troy, and the other two taken in July 2012 in the East River.

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