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I copied this photo from what has been a very influential book  for me, Portrait of a Port: Boston 1852–1914, compiled and annotated by W. H. Bunting.  More on that later.    I hope Mr. Bunting sees this post as a hat tip to his works, especially this book and Steamers, Schooners, Cutters, Sloops:  The Marine Photographs of N. L. Stebbins; A Day’s Work.

Bunting writes: “late 19th century Boston was a city of immigrants and contained some of the most crowded and unhealthy neighborhoods in the country.  Hot summer weather was the special curse of the slums, and during July and August the mortality rate for Boston’s children under age 5 was commonly three times the rate for the rest of the year. The Boston Floating Hospital,supported by private charity, was opened in 1894 for the purpose of providing sick children under age 6 with medical care, good food, cool breezes, and a change of scenery.  Mothers accompanied by their other (healthy) children were welcome to join the daily cruises.”

Further he writes:  “The first hospital vessel was the ex-steamer Clifford, which had to be towed about the harbor.  The hospital steamer pictured here was new in 1906 and was fully air-conditioned.  It accommodated 100 permanent patients and 150 daily patients in six wards, and contained an operating room and a laboratory specializing in milk research.”

At least 12 more things about this floating hospital can be found here.

I believe this hospital ship burned in 1927 and was not replaced.

I discovered this book and the works of Bunting first in a public library in Newburyport MA when I was living in the far northeastern part of Massachusetts.  Since then, I’ve bought and given away two copies of the book.  The first line of the preface is  “This is a book of photographs.”  He goes on to elaborate why the book is not a “photographic history of the port of Boston” in those years, or “a photographic maritime history of the port”.    Rather, he says, it “does draw together a visual maritime portrait of the port, as composed by photographers and their clients.”   Bunting draws mostly on the work of photographers Albert S. Southworth, Josiah T. Hawes, and especially, Nathaniel L. Stebbins.   In a very modest way, that too has been the goal of the tugster blog.

Click here for over 6000 photos by Stebbins.

The sixth boro had an earlier floating hospital, called  Emma Abbott, opened in 1875, and named for an opera singer who donated money for the ship.

More vessels, charted by or built for The Floating Hospital organization, can be seen here.

I could also call this “other peoples photos” but here is yesterday’s arrival of the hospital ship as seen from three friends’ perspectives.

Phil Little took this, and referred to it as his Normandy landing shot, an appropriate name given that this asset, arriving with a large support group, marks a surge, a counteroffensive against the invisible foe.  Note that the top of WTC1 is obscured, as is most of the VZ Bridge, center right.

To reiterate, Comfort‘s 1000 beds and 12 operating rooms will take overflow from other hospitals, overflow of NON-covid-19 patients.  Click here for much more info on the ship, medical facilities and operating life.  Click here for video of the hospital ship arriving.

The flotilla is almost to her berth, here passing Hudson Yards.

Renee Lutz Stanley took this one from a pier south of Intrepid while trying very hard to practice social distancing.

Phil calls this the “turn-in.”

This last two come from David Silver, taken looking south.

Cruise ships and hospital ship are roughly the same color, but that color gives a profoundly different impression in each.  Comfort with its relatively few “port holes” and glass is a place of intensive inward examination, a place apart, one hopes, for healing.

Many thanks to Phil, Renee, and David for use of these photos.  Please do continue social distancing and hand-washing.

At 0900 and a few minutes, USNS Comfort arrived at the Narrows.  Ava M was one of six McAllister units meeting her there to assist.

USACE, NYPD, and other agencies saw her in as well.

She passed the USCG station and

 

and the old hospital complex.

Another USNS vessel in the port was Watkins.

From this point off Bayonne, we’ll pick up the story tomorrow.

All photos, WVD.

Note:  Tomorrow I may slip my post time a little; you’ll understand, I hope, tomorrow.  Mentioning hope, check out this link to learn about, among other things, an iron cow!!  Hope, SS Hope, was born of USS Consolation, AH-15.

Anyone know the US first hospital ship?   When did USNS Comfort last call in the sixth boro?  Answers follow below.

I used the photo below just over five years ago in a post about Red Cross ships;  tanker SS Rose City became USNS Comfort in 1985.  Study the photo and compare it to the current iteration.

I’m thrilled Mercy has been activated in the west and Comfort will arrrive here, but only a very short time ago there was serious consideration to mothball and maybe scrap at least one of these vessels. Also, as positive as they are, what they are not is panaceas. Mechanical, electrical, and other bugs need to be sorted out on the ships.  Crews need to resolve dynamics;  after all, even two months ago all those crews were happily working elsewhere, and as USNS ships, they have hybrid civilian/military crews.

And the US first hospital ship, establishing a “makeover” tradition, began life in Cape Girardeau, MO in 1859 as a Mississippi River steamer.  The Confederacy transformed it into a barracks, the US army captured it, and she was made into a hospital ship. I believe she carried the name Red Rover throughout all three lives.   Nursing staff on USS Red Rover were members of the Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Click here for a ketch used to evacuate wounded going back to 1803.  What were we involved with 217 years ago?

USNS Comfort made her last call in NYC was in September 2001, and I honestly didn’t recall that.  Does anyone have photos to share from that deployment?

Finally, I’ve mentioned it before, but back in 1980 SS Rose City had a young crewman named John Moynihan, who wrote a noteworthy account of his hitch aboard the vessel.  It’s a great book in itself;  his father was a senator from New York.

Long ago and faraway, I boarded this hospital ship on a tributary of the Congo River;  that it operated there at all is a scintilla of evidence that even a dictator can do good things by his subjected peoples.  I’m unable to learn the disposition of this ship, SS Mama Yemo, but a little researching did lead me to understand that it was developed by a US doctor, William Close, whom I’d love to learn more about.

SS Rose City photo thanks to William Lafferty;  sentiments and filtering of info by WVD, who thanks you for keeping your distance.

Hats off to the folks dredging USNS Comfort‘s berth even as we read.

And finally, a request . . .  if you get photos of her arrival tomorrow, consider sharing them with this blog.

 

 

As the sixth boro prepares to receive USNS Comfort,

on the other side of the continent earlier this week, USNS Mercy departed port of San Diego. No specific ETA is reported as yet for either vessel, as  . .  well . . . preps need to be made.

U.S.N.S. MERCY T-AH 19.
Seen leaving for the Port of Los Angeles to alleviate the burden on local hospitals there dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic by taking non-coronavirus afflicted patients.

► ONLY REPRODUCE WITH CREDIT GIVEN TO W. MICHAEL YOUNG ◄

 

Launched as SS Worth MA-299 on 1 July 1975 (in San Diego, California) and entered service as a hospital ship on 8 November 1986 (to US Navy).
Homeport in San Diego, California, she measures 894′ x 106.’
She is propelled by two boilers, two GE turbines, one shaft, 24,500hp (18.3MW) and can cruise at 17 knots.  Her complement is as follows:  12 civilian and 58 military during Reduced Operating Status, and 61 civilian and 1,214 military during Full Operating Status.  Her time to activate is 5 days
Photographed by W. Michael Young at San Diego, California on March 23, 2020.
© 2020 W. Michael Young
4629 Cass Street, PMB 78
San Diego CA 92109-2805
United States of America
► ONLY REPRODUCE WITH CREDIT GIVEN TO W. MICHAEL YOUNG ◄

As it turns out, Mercy went just outside the harbor and anchored, to complete preparations before deployment.  There are many closeup photos of the preps at the pier in the link in the previous sentence.

Also, click here to see a 1985 photo of USNS Mercy being created out of SS Worth, a San Clemente-class tanker.

Many thanks to W. Michael Young for the Mercy photos;  Comfort photo I took in Baltimore exactly 10 years ago this month.  Both vessels were built by NASSCO in the mid-1970s.

And entirely unrelated:  Has anyone ever seen El-Mahrousa, the 1865-launched Egyptian training ship?

…aka backwards to Montreal, reprising the trip in reverse order before I return there, which I’ll do in a little over a week.

We departed the Rondout in late afternoon, bound for the sixth boro.  It’s always interesting to see what floats near the mouth of the Creek . . . as an example the former Floating Hospital!   I don’t know the current owner of this vessel.

Not floating, but splashing and gamboling about . . . these critters of God’s pastures seemed thrilled by the weather and fresh water.

Spooky is still there . . . weathered a tad.

Another deer arrived.

Gowanus Bay still floats there.

Deer checked their 12 and their 6.

EliseAnn Conners (built in 1881!!!) and the Pennsy …   399 Barge still waited.

So was the repurposed 1963 Belgian cargo motor barge now called Sojourn. . .  in in the town of Sojourner!

So it all was under the watchful eye of a somewhat camouflaged guardian.

All photos upriver by Will Van Dorp, who did this first post on the Creek back now over a decade ago.

 

I’m skipping over many miles of my road;  although I took photos, they would fit into a blog about watersheds and Poison Sea-to-Palatine history–which I haven’t created–more than here.

Here was the first installment . . . almost a decade ago, September 2009.  Of course, the Rondout has figured in many blog posts listed here.

Solaris is the followup to the solar powered vessel called Solar Sal, which tugster featured here. Recently Solaris took a six-hour night trip returning from an event down south.  Much more info on Solaris here.  Learn more on these links about the creators Dave Gerr and David Borton.  Go to Kingston and get a ride and you’ll hear only cavitation from the Torqeedo outboard.

Here’s where Solaris was built.  Come and learn to build here too.

A few years ago, I was at the school and saw this 1964 catboat Tid-Bit getting a rehab.

This John Magnus was rowed all the way up from Pier 40 Village Community Boathouse in the sixth boro.  Some years ago, I rowed alongside it on a trip up the Gowanus Canal. 

Since making its way up to the Rondout from downriver, the floating hospital has been a “dream” boat:  maybe art space, restaurant, maybe scrap, maybe hotel . . .  I believe this is the last vessel operated by an NYC institution for 150 years. Technically, it was christened as the Lila Acheson Wallace Flaoting Hospital barge in 1973.   If you click only one link in this post, let it be this one for a montage of many photos of her in a Manhattan context through those years of service.

ST-2201 Gowanus Bay was Waterford Tug Roundup tug-o-the-year in 2013.  More on the boat here.

Sojourn is currently tied up along the creek.

Rip Van Winkle . . . in all my times up here, I’ve never taken the tour.

And to end this post for today, I’ve never noticed this concrete barge here before.  This one appears to be newer and larger than the ones just above lock E9 here.  I know nothing about its history.

 

More tomorrow.  Happy Canada Day to all the friends north of the border who treated me so well last week.

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.

 

 

More Seth Tane fotos.

Foto #1.  It’s 1979, 34 years ago.  What I see is no structure on Pier 17 Manhattan, lots of covered warehouses and a ship on the Brooklyn side.   Extreme lower right of foto . . . is that the floating hospital?  There’s another large white vessel to the left of lightship Ambrose.  There’s a vacant lot just to the south of the Brooklyn side access to the Bridge.  And a large ATB looking tug in the Navy Yard.   What have I missed?

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Foto #2.  W. O. Decker–in my posts here and here and many other places–comes to pick up a tow, Poling #16.   Digression:  if you do Facebook, here’s the Marion M (shown in the second Decker link there) updates site with fotos.    Lots of intriguing details in the background of the Navy yard here.

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Foto #3  Driving Decker here is most likely Geo Matteson, author of Tugboats of New York.  A 2013 “reshoot” of this cityscape is a “must do.”

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Foto #4.  Tied up at Pier 17, Decker remakes the tow to get the tanker alongside.

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All fotos by Seth Tane.

If you’re interested in collaborating in a documentation of the changing harbor, particularly the evolving articulation between the sixth boro and the other five, please contact me.  See address upper left side.

Whatzit?  Where has it come from and where … going to?  Doubleclick enlarges.

The piles are coal, the bucket-wheel at the tip of the stacker-reclaimer (s-r) might be at least 15′ diameter, so the s-r arm must be as long as an Oldendorff self-unloader.  Note the white vessel between the stacks.

A different view of the stacks shows more of the white vessel.  Can you identify it, pretty as an Edsel or gorgeous as a 1953 Studebaker?

Savannah, resplendent, built in New Jersey and designed by George G. Sharp Company, who also designed several classes of Staten Island ferries, and many other vessels.  Here’s a memory site devoted to the vessel that has very interesting historical fotos and  info. Under the section “radioactive waste,” I like the detail of the waste discharge barge called Atomic Servant.  I understand that Savannah is open only on rare occasions to the public.   It seems appropriate to see this foto of Savannah surrounded by mounds of coal, given how miniscule the “bulk” of her fuel was relative to that of ships that burned coal as fuel.

Nearby in the Canton portion of the port, here’s another look at USNS Comfort, a vessel with an interesting past life.  Guess?  Look at the hull.  Answer below.

Atlantic Impala (built on the Russian Black Sea) offloads containers while off its stern, Navios Star prepares to head for sea with many tens of thousands of tons of coal . . . bound for South Korea’s steel mills.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

And the unusual history of Comfort:  she began her life in 1976 as an oil tanker called Rose City.

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