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These road fotos posts are celebrations by restless people like me of mobility and the means to travel, see new things.  I guess these are some guard rails on my southbound journey.

Northbound view, this highway has a guard rail to keep anyone from tumbling into the Pacific, whereas on the right side, that bank looks solid until the road disappears into the ocean with a landslide.

Staten Island has some guard rails to keep you from being distracted (ha!!)  by the sixth boro.

substantial guard rails now and speed cameras make it increasingly inhospitable.

The Mississippi–as seen from a westbound jet– has extra sand cushions around the turns, perfect locations for camping maybe if you follow the river road like Dale Sanders.  If you click on any links today, this one here on Sanders’ amazing feat is the one.   Eddie L. Harris did it too, although at a much younger age.

Here the critters in the bushes keep you focused on driving safely, and the potholes moderate your speed, one way or another, as you travel westbound.

Seen northbound just north of Washington DC . . .  and no comment.

This is the tow path/bike path up near Newark NY, and what you’ll see if you make a long bicycle trip eastbound in 2023.

Another eastbound photo . . . aka the Noses, place of legend.  If you click on another link today, be it this one. The photo below is from a road trip in October, but I’ve posted photos of this location from the Mohawk River in previous posts here. To the left is NYS Canal and then the transport rails you’d ride on Amtrak or a container train.

Heading north in November before turning back . . . all I can say is that the road, guard rails, ditches, Lake Ontario–like the truth–are out there . . . somewhere. 

And one more from November . . . southbound on the Taconic, this sign always intrigued me, conjured up lurid thoughts.  Unfortunately, I looked up its origin, and now I wish I hadn’t.  If you prefer to keep your lurid associations, do not look this up. Ignorance, if not always bliss, is sometimes more entertaining.

All photos, any weirdness, WVD, who wishes that all your travels are safe. 

If you want to help out with the next “road fotos” post, email me your strangest “seen along the road/channel/river/flyway/etc” photo you’ve taken this year . . .

Full disclosure first, I met the author, Paul Strubeck, around 15 years ago, and he’s been working on this voluminous tome for almost a decade.  We met on a retired diesel railroad tugboat, of course, not either of the ones depicted below.  Over the years, Paul has shared photos and information on this blog.

I’ll tell you what I think about this book in a moment, but first, any guesses on the date, location, and info on the two tugboats depicted on this striking cover?

The rear cover has some Dave Boone art.  Anything look familiar in that painting?

Soon after Paul and I  met, we took this same WHC tour together.  I’m certainly not a packrat, but the fact that I still have the program attests to my sense that it was an extraordinary tour, much narration of which was prefaced “you can’t see any trace any more, but …” because rail marine in the sixth boro is mostly a thing of the past.  What’s not in the past but an immutable geographical fact is that the sixth boro surrounds an ever more densely-populated archipelago that still needs resupplying today, mostly provided by trucks and frustrated drivers clogging highways today, hence efforts like the recent beer run, to name but one.  

Contractors move carfloats today, but at one time rail lines built their own dedicated tugboats, steam and diesel, and the evolution of the latter type is what Paul’s book interprets for us.  These tugboats are mostly gone, and he tracks the disposition of each one, but a few still in use have been redesigned so successfully you might never guess their previous lives.

As I said earlier, Paul has worked on this book for the better part of a decade.  When he wasn’t employed on a  tugboat, he got jobs on the railroad, which employs him now fulltime.  But when he wasn’t scheduled by some employer, he traveled to places where he researched this book in harbors, photo archives, libraries, and museums.   To “unpack” this table of contents a bit, the “Oil-electrics” chapter focuses on  the railroads that switched from steam propulsion to diesel:  first in 1916 the Pennsylvania RR re-powering steam tug Media with a 4-cylinder Southwark-Harris heavy oil engine;  in 1926 NY Central RR built a pair of tugs on Staten Island and named NY Central’s No. 33 and No. 34, and Erie was next. 

Then next four chapters elaborate on the naval architects, the decisions they made, and the tugboats they built.

“What’s inside a tug?” includes nomenclature

 

and specialized information not commonly known to a layperson as well as to a mariner who works on non-railroad tugs.

Documents like this top one from August 1978 demystify the daily/hourly activity of tugboat crew, in this case,  the marine engineer.  Paul brings his tugboat/locomotive perspective to the page.

The book has 266 color photos and 131 black/white, for a total of 397, of which 342 have never been book/web published;  he scanned them from company records, trade literature, negatives, and slides.  Each photo has a detailed caption.  Further, the book has 4 original maps, 22 blueprints/drawings, and 17 documents/advertisements from vintage marine diesel magazines.

There are 11 appendices, including

 

17 pages of Appendix K listing all East Coast diesel railroad tugboats and their dimensions, designers and builders, engine specs, multiple names, and [what I find very helpful] their disposition, i.e., still in use, scrapped, reefed, or other.  A total of 23 railroad companies are mentioned.

On the last page, you learn a bit about the author.  He’s already working on a volume 2, focusing on railroad tugs of the Great Lakes and Inland Waterways.

To me, this book is a delight to read through and a reference for East Coast tugboats.  On my bookshelf, it goes next to Thomas R. Flagg’s book New York Harbor Railroads In Color, volumes 1 and 2, published in 2000 and 2002 but with most information cut off in 1976.  Paul’s book will be a delight for historians, aficionados of rail and marine technology, modelers, urban planners, and the general public with curiosity about how we get stuff from place of manufacture to place(s) of use.

As anyone who releases a book or other work knows, an author does not want to keep a pile of books like this at home.  For info on ordering your copy, click here.  This is not a “mainstream” book you’d see while browsing the all-too-few bookstores surviving these days.  Rather, it is published by an independent railroad-focused publisher called Garbely Publishing.

To answer the questions about cover “photo,” the front cover shows Erie tugs Elmira and Marion  in Hoboken in March 1975. Marion was launched at Jakobson’s  in Oyster Bay NY in 1953 and is being prepared for reefing at this very moment in 2022.  Anyone know details?  Elmira was launched the same year on Staten Island and was scrapped in 1984 after an engine room fire.  The Dave Boone painting shows New York Dock Railway tug Brooklyn southbound on the North River.  Notice the Colgate clock along the right side.  Brooklyn (now Florida) is currently a rebuilt but active boat in the Crescent fleet in Savannah GA.  My image of the boat as I saw it in 2014 is below;  that day I took another shot of the tugboat which appears on page 190 of Paul’s book.

Previous book reviews I’ve posted here can be found at these links.

2021

2020

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2014

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2012

2010

 

 

 

I could call this “something different 50” . . . but recognize the name?

The place looks mysterious in some places, and forbidding, given that those factories are vacant.

That house along the water looks quite good from this angle given that it dates from before the US Revolution.

Place the name Danielovitch?  Certainly the photo below locates this town as along the Erie Canal, given the tug colors.

 

Here’s another clue to the river town.

This Staten Island tugboat is pushing the “glass barge” through the Mohawk River town . . . so that means that photo was taken in 2018.

Lock E-11 . . .

and above it . . .  Issur, whose parents were Jewish immigrants from Belarus, also went by Izzy Demsky, born 1916.  Maybe that helps?

Ready or not, I need to give it away.

The photos by WVD all show Amsterdam NY, and Issur aka Izzy later went by the name Kirk Douglas.  His first home was on the other side of the now disused leather goods factory buildings in the second photo.

That pre-US Revolution house is called Guy Park Manor, and here’s the story.

Well, maybe not that different, since I’m not reinventing myself.  But enjoy these fotos, and while looking at them, figure out where you’ve seen this tug before on this blog.  Look carefully.  It took me about 30 seconds to recognize the red tug below as a more pristine version of a tug that appears here periodically.  Fotos were taken in the 1980s by Seth Tane, who generously shares them here.

In its current state, this tug, using the same name, has considerably more equipment on board.  What hasn’t changed is the profile of the Palisades in the background of some of these fotos, taken in or near Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.

This tug today still operates commercially, pulling loads like the one below.

A major change in the tug relates to visibility;  the portholes would make me claustrophobic. However, since the mystery tug was built on the Great Lakes, maybe portholes conserve heat better in winter.   Tug Daniel A. White, below left, has more conventional glass.  Anyone know what has become of Daniel A. White?

If you guessed Patty Nolan, you were correct.  Here’s her current work page, showing her original form.  Click on the following links for a sampling of Patty Nolan fotos from the past few years, like modelling 2011 summer beach fashion, at work in the East River, moving snail-like with house,  and finally . . . for now . . . Patty Nolan outlaw fashionista.

Thanks much to Seth for these fotos from the early 1980s.

Below is a foto (poor quality)  that I took in December 2000.  I clearly had forgotten how barren the Jersey City shore just north of the Morris Canal looked a mere 11 years ago, almost reminiscent of a desert town.  This foto was among a batch my sister handed me at Thanksgiving, but those foto gave me

an idea.  Maybe you have fotos in a drawer, a shoebox, and album, etc. that show some part of the sixth boro and/or vessels there.  And if I may so brazen, tugster would LOVE to see any fotos you might come across and are willing to share.

Here was Something Different 4.

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