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See the note at the end of this post.

Traffic in the harbor of NYC, aka the sixth boro, has a lot of unpredictability.  I tend to do a fair amount of categorizing in this blog. 

For example, this was a surprise.  Usually this vessel–Admiral Richard E. Bennis–shuttles the river between Haverstraw and Ossining,

but here it must have had business in the Upper NY Bay. Bennis had a distinguished but tragically short USCG career.

A more typical sixth boro scene is this:  Jonathan C assisting an 8200 teu Maersk ship out to sea.

The only markings on this ferry is the name, Schuyler Meyer.  Its namesake had a storied life, but my favorite stories relate to his 1991 saving and reimagining tugboat Urger.  That story is mentioned in this article from a few years ago.  It’s expanded upon in Riverhorse by William Least-Heat Moon.

In the warm months, lots of small boats take fisherfolk out to hook what’s schooling.

More containers come into the port escorted by James D., a Moran 6000.

Joyce  D. moves a small deck barge to a shoreside project somewhere.

Andrea takes bunker fuel to a recently arrived ship.

Explorer-class CMA CGM Amerigo Vespucci comes in at dawn . . . hazy dawn, with at least four tugboats getting it around Bergen Point.

A warm morning brings an NYPD launch out about

the same time as this small dragger (?) explores the outside of the channel as CSCL Brisbane comes in.

All photos, WVD, of this place that always has a rich variety of traffic…

Now if you have a few free hours, go sit somewhere near the bay, dangle your toes in the water if you like.  Or, read tugster.  Or, a new option has presented itself:  watch this new high-res harbor cam sited near Lehigh Valley Barge 79 aka the Waterfront Museum.  Or  . . . do all three at times you can.  Waterfront Museum does their cam through “stream time live”, where you can also pay attention to shipping at points in the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, and Alaska.

And if you can and if you feel like, send some $$ in the direction of the Waterfront Museum.

I’m preparing a “road fotos” post from last week’s gallivant, but along the way, I walked along a portion of the Lehigh Canal.

 

Here’s the post I did the day my season on the Urger ended.   The boat seriously needs a reboot now, a rewind, since it will NOT been operating season of 2017.  None of the photos here have been posted before, and there’s a surprise at the end of this post, stemming from a conversation last night  I am grateful for. Here’s Urger approaches the guard gate at the top of E-6 on the last day of the 2014 season.

Here the morning of that last run, she’s docked above E-11.  May she not grow into the bank the way that fence has been consumed by the tree.

The entire four-person crew fits into this shot at E-14.

As the sun clears the horizon, Urger‘s out and running east, here under the onramp to the Thruway below E-17.

A few seconds earlier, she exited E-17.  Note the 17 at the top of the lock frame.

Bathed in the warm October sunrise, Urger waits for the guillotine door to raise before exiting the chamber.

Here’s the boat on the wall in Little Falls in midsummer 2014.

A month or so back while it was still winter, I returned to E-17, and there was ice on the wall and in the chamber, and I put my camera away quickly so that my hands could return to the pockets where I’d stuffed chemical heat packs.

This would have been the 25th season for the 1901-built Urger as an ambassador/educational vessel. This role for her was created –as I understand it– through a private/public  partnership fronted by Schuyler Meyer.  Here’s some more of the story of the boat and the program, which was initially operated by SCOW, State Council on Waterways, which appears to have had its last event in 2009.

At the start of this post, I mentioned a surprise.  Last night (finally) I uploaded to YouTube here a half dozen short recordings I made of of Urger underway, with closeups of her Atlas-Imperial engine.  Crank up the sound and enjoy them.  Please share widely.  The program and the boat  are too precious to be permanently lost.  Here is a post I did when Urger last visited NYC’s sixth boro.

All photos and opinion entirely by Will Van Dorp.  Thanks, MB, for the conversation.

 

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Remind me some day to tell the story of Schuyler Meyer, who is credited with starting Urger’s educational program back before 1990.  As of today, the season is over.  Over 4500 NYS fourth graders have experienced the “Urger program” this season.  That number and more have visited the 113-year-old vessel in festivals and other contexts  along the  Canal, now recognized as a very large location on the National Register of Historical Places.

Thanks to Chris Kenyon of Wayne County Tourism for the first and last photo here.  All other photos were taken by Will Van Dorp.

 

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