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I didn’t want to call this post “something different 19” because clearly it wouldn’t be different from the previous days. A pattern has emerged, and then I realized that part of the pattern is that these photos depict some of the unidentifiable vessels lost in boneyard or ship graveyards like the one focused upon in the documentary Graves of Arthur Kill. Here they are, in their prime or at least working although forgotten.
All the photos in this post were taken during the Great Depression, by photographers who were funded through the WPA, Works Progress Administration. I am grateful this documentation happened. And my caption are based on the captioning–specific or general–accompanying the photos in the archives.
Below . . . US Gypsum tug. notice the Bayonne Bridge on the horizon near the left edge of the shot.
Photographer Ralph de Sola took this shot of tug Sarah and much smaller one without a name I can find.
I’m intrigued here by the “car float” marked “Brooklyn Jay Street Terminal . . .” shifting rail cars from right to left. Is that a McAllister tug on the far side? And is that how the Staten Island ferry terminal looked in the late 1930s and what is the building on the water left side of photo where the Coast Guard Building is now located?
Here’s an intriguing E. M. Bofinger photo dated June 1938, taken from . . . foot of Wall Street? If Bennett Air Service is at all related to Floyd Bennett and the now unused Floyd Bennett Field, it’s noteworthy that Floyd Bennett himself had died–age 37– in April 1938. Click here for many more Bofinger photos.
Another photographer of water scenes in the archives is James Suydam. Here are piers 13 through 15, the area currently just south of South Street Seaport. Prominent against the sky then was 70 Pine, just to the left of stepped back 120 Wall. The other two are 40 Wall (with antenna) and 20 Exchange, south of 120 Wall.
Here’s a photo attributed to Treistman, said to be taken from the top of Seamen’s Institute and looking over the same piers as shown in the previous photo.
Again, the context here . . . Wednesday night, come see the Graves of Arthur Kill, our documentary screened at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival on tugboats and other vessels of this era and older and what became of them.
And if you’re free the night before, check out this program on salvage sponsored by Working Harbor Committee.
I call this a “water blog,” but usually avail myself only of salt water shots. Below is what I saw from my bedroom window yesterday morning: rainwater pool on roof beside my building. Foto is obviously flipped, but the vent with round hole to the right serves as “portal” for at least three raccoons who cavort and sing after dark. New York is wild.
Foreshortening . . . makes for some arresting shots: here McAllister Responder, Franklin Reinauer, Jennifer Turecamo, and RTC 150 pushed by Meredith C. Reinauer enjoy much greater separation than appears.
Left to right here are: Chemical Pioneer, Johann Jacob, and OOCL Busan. I post this foto because it suggests that the forward portion of Chemical Pioneer and its stern seem mismatched. Think about it . . . and I tell you the story below.
Foreshortening again . . . plenty of searoom exists between NYK Constellation and OOCL Busan, but for some seconds, from my vantage point, I was getting nervous.
No comment on the frothiness in the center of this foto. Notice the building on the tip of Manhattan between the red and green buoy. That is 17 Battery Place, once the “footprint” for Moran Towing. Starting on p. 273 of Tugboat: The Moran Story by Eugene F. Moran and Louis Reid, there’s an incredible story about a Captain Daniel F. Anglim that dates back to the 1927. In short, Dan had a naturally loud voice “even louder from having to yell against the wind” (pre-walkietalkie days) did dispatch from the 25th floor of that building down to the tugs waiting between Pier 2 and 4 on the Hudson. I cannot imagine. Looking for a good read: Get The Moran Story!
Today several hundred feet of landfill separate 17 Battery Place from the nearest water. See a foto of 17 Battery Place from that time here . . second foto down. I’d love to see a larger version.
Cape Melville bound for sea. I love the name . . . that northeast corner of Australia. In the background you see parts of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and One Court Square, Queens’ and Long Island’s tallest building. One court Square also appears in the second foto above.
Yes, this is a wild turkey in Battery Park, it looked totally indignant when I asked that he pose in front of either the Terminal or one of the Homeland Security cars in the background . Imagine that !! But the location is inland about 100 feet with the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to the left and the Coast Guard station to the right. Wild New York.
The Chemical Pioneer story: in late May 1973, a Bath Iron Works container ship called Sea Witch bound for sea lost steering and collided with an anchored tanker called Esso Brussels, resulting in a deadly fire (15 deaths, 13 of them on Esso Brussels, loaded with Nigerian crude) and New York harbor oil spill. Read the complete story here. Later, the stern section of Sea Witch was grafted onto a new forward section. For Sea Witch‘s original lines, click here; she’s the second one down.
All fotos taken on May 20 by Will Van Dorp.
By the way . . . that turkey . . . she goes by the name Zelda; be good to Zelda when you see her.