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I don’t make much fuss about Christmas for reasons I explained here 10 years ago; when I really want something and I can afford it, I just get it. Of course, I have no problems with anyone going all out with gifts. Books and experiences make the best gifts. Experiences . . . teach you and you can remember them forever.
Books . . . you read them once and then read them again or give them to someone you think will enjoy them as much as or more than you did. See the book cover below . . . great cover and fabulous book. Inside you find crisp photos, reproductions of painting of McAllister vessels, family stories, . . . even an owners’ family tree that clarifies some of the boat names. The story starts in 1864 as James McAllister (generation 1) stood on the northeast coast of Ireland about to emigrate across the Atlantic.
One of my favorite stories involves the boat below, launched from Newport News Shipbuilding Co. in May 1909 as John Twohy, Jr, for Lambert’s Point Tow Boat Company. Renamed J. P. McAllister, this boat served as a platform for the one-and-only Harry Houdini‘s escape from handcuffs and leg irons inside a nailed-shut, weighted packing case. Here’s a reference to this event in a recent NYTimes, but in this book, you get two photos of the event and facsimiles of the contemporary news story and the J. P. McAllister logbook entry, all attesting to the tremendous research involved in this beautifully produced volume.
One more great story . . . typical of struggles to divide up ownership in any family business. When disagreement came to a head in on a cold Easter Sunday morning in 1904, “the partners decided to work out the percentages once and for all by meeting on a tugboat, taking it offshore, and not returning until they had an agreement.” Now Capt. Jim (generation 2) told his 6 year-old son A. J. to wait at the pier until they all returned. Which happened to be as night fell. Here’s how it’s told: “Capt. Jim … his face covered in blood . . . jumped off [the boat onto the pier where A. J. had waited all day], grabbed A. J. by the hand, and said, ‘That’s it. It’s settled. The issue is settled.'”
Below is one of my many favorite full-page photos in the book. Another photo a few pages later adds detail not unlike Birk Thomas and collaborators do here.
A book like this focuses not only on a family business but also New York City, with all six of its boros, and the country. The photo below shows the McAllister yard behind Ellis Island, real estate taken over in the 1970s for the creation of Liberty State Park. Today’s margins of the harbor are that way only because of thousands of decisions.
The author, Stephanie Hollyman has a website that highlights an impressive breadth of work.
Click here for ordering info.
Since we’re looking at books, here’s one that might be ripe for updating. Another one I’ve reread and enjoyed recently is Buckets and Belt: Evolution of the Great Lakes Self-Unloader by William M. Lafferty, Valerie van Heest, and Kenneth Pott.
I had planned to call this convergence, but the sixth boro or any harbor is much too dynamic a place for that title. Stuff in and stuff out . . . . From near to far here is Dewaruci, Arabian Sea, and Swan. Dewaruci, arriving here already last Thursday, was the vanguard of the flotilla that prompted me to think of this as “convergence,”
As she headed out, a flurry of other vessels moved out as well, like Mariposa. I’ll bet she’s the updated version of Butterfly, which used to call here. . . and maybe still does. These are non-interactive screen captures of AIS.
Anyhow, as Swan and Mariposa headed out, notice APL Indonesia and A. r. c. Gloria arriving. As thrilling as it was to see Gloria, I felt the same to see APL Indonesia, which I foto’d here three months ago headed outbound for China; THIS is the return, twice via the Panama Canal.
Sunday night I also noticed Gazela exiting Delaware Bay. Almost two years ago, I stood watch on Gazela inbound from just east of Cape May and upward toward Wilmington, midnight to six, a thrilling experience. If you’re local or can get here by this weekend, come see pirate burlesque on Gazela. Get tickets here.
As Mariposa and McAllister Girls tango eastbound on the KVK, crew retrieve Girls’ line. Just a few days ago, Girls participated in the foggy loading process of Swan.
In the wee hours this morning, I noticed B. E. Guayas (all 257′ loa of her) approach from the south and Eagle from the East.
Also in the wee hours this morning. APL Indonesia heads back for China already, passing between Pride of Baltimore 2 and Cuauhtemoc, converging upon the sixth boro. Here’s a quite poor foto I got of her at Pier 17 five whole years ago . . . before this blog sprouted chin feathers!! For a guide to pronunciation, click here.
Also by Tuesday morning, more Opsail vessels have converged within the sixth boro. See Gazela at Pier 25 Manhattan, and over at the cement pier in Brooklyn is . . . . Alice!!! Alice Oldendorff!! My point is . . . Opsail happens within a context.
And when I woke up this morning, Eagle was doing a turn in the Narrows while Scotty Sky (52 years young . . . bless her vital Blount-built tanks!) was supplying Gloria with liquid sustenance.
Latest . . . J.S. El Cano (1927 built and 371 ‘ loa) has popped up on AIS; I had seen her in the wee hours. Cisne Branco, La Belle Poule, Etoile, and all the FleetWeek vessels are still out of range or in stealth mode.
(Note: Doubleclick enlarges.) The title . . . those were the exact words John Watson emailed me last night. If the message had been “hawk is down” . . . or “condor …” it would have alarmed me, but instead I charged my camera so that right after work I could zoom over to Fort Wadsworth for these shots. By one, I found Alert loaded onto barge BFT No. 38, which
was already on Swan. Gabby Miller was present, of course. Lined up on the Brooklyn side was a cast of characters identified as
The three Crowley tugs glided onto Swan‘s back, extending beyond the hull on
For outatowners, that’s Manhattan in the distance looking across most of what’s called the Upper Bay. The Lower Bay is behind me, as is the Verrazano Bridge. On the right is the boro of Brooklyn. The red tugs are Charles D. McAllister and McAllister
Next on board . . . Socrates, who in spite of the fog, found
Tugster does not strive to be a “shipping news” site, but each time I walk or ride my beat, I DO keep an watchful eye for change, novelty, well . . . new sights. Certainly this was true yesterday: let’s start with the orange vessel to your left. You’ve seen the colors before, but is that a “hole through the stern above deck”?
I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a bit more of Swan in the next few days. And I trust lessons have been learned from last spring’s Blue Marlin saga.
Rosemary Miller? New too. I wonder what has become of Sorenson Miller.
With spring comes the sailing season, and America 2.0 . . . I last saw closeup here last fall.
And one last “newby” I was lucky to catch yesterday was Mark Moran, headed south to . . who knows where? Mark‘s so new that even on Birk and Harold’s excellent site, there’s only a drawing of her.
For the news from the Narrows between Detroit (which means “the narrows” in French) and Windsor, click here for Isaac’s site and some great fotos from Wade. The surprise there for me was Zeus, who worked the sixth boro a bit a few years back. Also, there are more shots of DonJon’s huge Great Lakes ATB unit.
Also, of course please vote for tug Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79. The fact that they’re not in the top few places should NOT be a reason to give up; we have a daily vote until the 21st.
You’ve heard about Flat Stanley and Carmen Santiago? So, let’s play . . . errant ferry, Staten Island ferry (SIf) in particular. We’ve seen a SIF here, here, and here . .. so thanks to Birk Thomas, enjoy these new installments. Where is this?
Well . . . the location is the Chesapeake, and the answer is not really that vessel had chosen to go way offcourse; rather, it’s that maintenance is done in Norfolk, the result of bidding, I suppose. And that’s Colleen McAllister doing the tow. No matter how capacious the SIf’s appear when you are onboard, they seem to shrink
when juxtaposed with other traffic in the sixth boro. Thanks to John Watson for this foto of a busy harbor; foreground ACL is unidentified and the cruise ship is Crystal Serenity.
Thanks to Birk and John. And now, I’m heading out to get re-acquainted with the sixth boro myself. Remember . . . to vote for Pegasus/79 daily AND if you see an errant SIf, please snap a foto or several.
Since I woke up this May morning from a dream about attending a meditation session, the logical choice is to start my day writing a post that reflects upon–well–preservation. Two weeks ago I wrote about the Alwyn Vincent project. To quote the site, “she’s finally out,” and on the steel wheels ‘n rails of a synchrolift.
She was getting her “haircut and a shave” even before she stopped moving. When all logistical arrangements converge, the late 1950s tug will travel over-the-road 60 or so miles to its new life, as a functioning steam tug on a freshwater reservoir.
To support the self-described ‘Bunch of Crazy Farmers’ (personified by Andy, in orange below) who now own the tug, the Alwyn website says they “selling space for banners of about 1 metre square, at R5 000 ($US 639.30). The advertisements are mostly in connection with agricultural products and services, partly because everybody knows who are responsible for saving this historic vessel! Partly also, it’s because those are the firms we know, support and can ask!”
I suppose they’d accept US sponsors as well; book your space on the hull! Contact Elma on email@example.com
told some of the story. A sister vessel–New York Central #16–was saved only to end tragically at the Bourne Bridge rotary in Massachusetts, just six years ago.
The late Don Sutherland told of spending the last night aboard #16 . . . I wish I’d recorded his telling that story. I have recorded Norman Brouwer telling the story of buying this pierside house from #16 from the late John J. Witte, and I hope to share details of that project soon.
Not everything can be preserved . . . On Friday I caught Cheyenne –a current Witte (officially DonJon Marine) tug–heading from the East River into the Upper Bay pushing a load of (I believe) fine scrap, chopped up pieces bound for recycling. Just a week ago, Cheyenne was pushing some preserved vintage jets.
Some valuable artifacts might not be saved much longer unless dreams convert into reality and $$; others like Liemba and Yavari seem to live way beyond their expected lifespans in spite of their being out of the spotlight.
Which brings up this part of a dream: Partners in Preservation is dangling cash $US 3 million, and . . .<<<Tug Pegasus (1907) and Waterfront Museum Barge aka Lehigh Valley 79 (1914) have teamed up in a grant application for $$ for preservation work each vessel needs. As a component of the decision-making about who gets the $$, Partners in Preservation have a “socialmedia-meter” running from now until May 21. To help Pegasus and Lehigh Valley 79 register high on this “meter,” you can do two things from wherever on the planet you may be: 1) befriend them on Facebook and get dozens of your friends to befriend them as well, and 2) vote DAILY here. DAILY! Seems like a crazy way to run an election, but . . . that’s social media and in this case, the cause is worthy.>>>
And later this afternoon–1300–1700h I’ll be down on Pier 25 minding the plank between 79 and Pegasus, as part of Partners in Preservation “open house” weekend.
Thanks to Colin Syndercombe for the Cape Town fotos; all others by Will Van Dorp.
Sort of related, here’s a “tale of two projects” post from about a year ago.
Yesterday I posted a foto of JoAnne Reinauer III: there was a 1 and then the 3 . . . I wonder what happened to 2. Not so with Maurania. I just looked and there was a 1 and a 2. Maurania 2 was launched in Brooklyn in 1952 and still operates in New London as Towmaster.
one of the world’s largest ship graveyards. Here and here are some recent tugster fotos of Maurania III. Now what I want to know is . . . what became of the golden eagle that used to adorn her house . . . .
And for some small floating objects to offset the huge, consider these ocean-going vessels from a recent post from a Brooklynite on Ice.
Tugboats in the sixth boro of New York City vary not quite infinitely, but almost. Consider Pegasus (1907), here with Lehigh Valley 79 (1914) alongside. And my social medium tells me they’re about to link up and travel again soon. Watch Pier 25.
Rounding it all out . . . is JoAnne Reinauer III (1970), here passing the unmistakeable Torm-orange house of Torm Thames (2005), and see this spotlight by selfabsorbedboomer.
Having called this set almost infinitely varied, I must say there’s NOTHING operating in the sixth boro quite an unusual as Joseph Thompson Jr. (portions from 1944), the tug portion of an ATM unit currently working the North Coast between US and Canadian ports. Thank’s to Isaac Pennock aka tugboathunter for introducing me to this vessel; For the dizzying set of transformations, read the bio by boatnerd here . . . and follow the fotos, especially the ones by Mark Vander Meulen, Steve Hause, Lee Rowe, and Rod Burdick.
Foto of Discovery Coast by Joel Milton; all others by Will Van Dorp.
Note: If you’re new to this blog and wondering what resources provide “pedigree” of these vessels, a fantastic reference work in progress is tugboatinformation.com Start out by clicking the letter of the company name to find the fleets, present and past.
This is what a “Kirbyfied” Barbara C looks like today. Scroll through to the bottom of that Kirby Corporation link to see their string of acquisitions.
Barbara C (now Arabian Sea) used to be sibling to Donald C (now Med Sea); as Seas, you could call them once-and-future siblings. If you squint while looking at Med Sea‘s stack, the shadow outlining one side of the logo board there almost looks like a crescent.
Another tool is the NOAA documentation registry. Here you just type in vessel name. You’ll find, e.g., that Maria J used to be called Jesus Saves. I took this fotos last Thursday in the rich colors of 7 am near Howland Hook container port, one of my “offices,” where NYK Constellation was having containers shifted. By now, Constellation has been in and back of Norfolk and Savannah and is heading ultimately through the Canal and out west . . .
I did this post just over a year ago; note the prominent change happening in the Manhattan skyline, as seen from the north coast of Rockaway Queens. The last time you saw the tug shown here was December 2011. Any guesses what Patty was towing yesterday? Answer tomorrow.
Unrelated: Following their own landmarks, a new crop of aeons-old silvery slime has reportedly returned to sixth boro waterways. What . . . you ask? Click here.
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.