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You’d have thought I use this title more often, but it’s been almost three years since it last appeared. I’m starting with this photo of the lightship WLV-612, because this is where I’ll be this evening for a FREE and open-to-the-public 6 pm showing of our documentary Graves of Arthur Kill.  Seats for those who arrive first.

Over the years I’ve done many posts about the WLV-612, but my favorite is this one.


Here’s a very recent arrival in the sixth boro’s pool of workboats . . . Fort McHenry, just off the ways, although just yesterday an even-more recent arrival.  more on that one soon, I hope.  I don’t know how new Double Skin 315 is.


Ships in the anchorage and waterways must think they are in a tropical clime, given the temperatures of August 2016.


NS Parade, Iron Point, MTM St Jean …  have all been here recently.


Robert E. McAllister returned from a job, possibly having assisted Robert E. Peary.


MSC Lucy headed out past


Larry J. Hebert, standing by at a maintenance dredging job.


MOL Bellwether, all 1105′ loa of her, leave into the humid haze, existing here along with


some wind to propel this sloop.


Finally, just the name, sir;  No need for the entire genealogy. This photo comes compliments of Bob Dahringer.


Thanks to Bob for the photo above;  all others by Will Van Dorp.


The artist Naima Rauam painted the watercolor below, “Docking a Freighter.”   At the end of this post I explain why the image is here.  Many of my favorites among her watercolors she did in the wee hours at the (old) Fulton Fish Market, a place that lives on only in her work.

Thanks to Jed for these night fotos, all taken in the vicinity of Gowanus Bay, industrial water fed by the canal that received Superfund status this past week.

I played with the color a bit for the foto above.  Below is the original.

Vincent van Gogh, who knew the night well, said, “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”

I agree.  The foto directly above and below show the Red Hook Grain Terminal, empty now but built in 1922.  See fotos inside the silos here and here;  each has multiple links embedded within.  Dozens of conjoined siloes once held grain shipped through the Erie Canal and down the Hudson to feed the New York brewing and distilling industries.

And the watercolor by Naima Rauam, it’s being raffled off as a fund raiser for the Working Harbor Committee.  If you wish to support WHC and possibly win this watercolor, you have until Thursday, March 11 to get your ticket.   Info here.

Thanks to Jed for the night  fotos.

Here is a foto essay from the March 7 NY Times on the Gowanus Canal.

One of my favorite “ear worms,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “Ghosts of Cape Horn” has a line “see them all in sad repair, demons dance everywhere … and none to tell the tales.” New York City’s waterways have ghosts of this sort as well.


This vessel lies in the mud not far from the Whitestone Bridge.


Can you make out the masts of a submerged lightship just north of the Erie Basin in Red Hook?


Not submerged but locked into the south side of the entrance to the Gowanus Canal is this ship. A stern view, listing Rio Lobos as registry port, is visible from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway .


The Kills have a wealth of ghost ships. Short of travelling through the Kills at low tide and seeing many like the above, you can see Noble’s fantastic drawings of ghost ships that have been claimed by the kills mud at Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. It houses the fabulous Noble Maritime Collection, the drawings of John A. Noble.


Above is a waterway view of the white-black-gray stern of Wavertree, not really a ghost ship although it has moved mostly only vertically since coming to Manhattan in 1968 from … Argentina. Wavertree was dismasted off Cape Horn in 1910 and could have become one of the vessels of the Lightfoot song; instead she became an elegantly shaped warehouse and barge in southern South America until she came to New York, where she waits in a ship purgatory.

All photos by Will Van Dorp.

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June 2023