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aka poisson d’avril, which is what the French call this delightful day.  At that link in previous sentence, check out the list of  (they say) well-known pranks.

A year ago, I put up a post that I’ve now concluded shows a hoax, a doctored foto . . . although I did not know it was a fake or intend it to be one.  I’d still like more analysis of what this shows and who did it.

I mention last year’s post because I heard about Edgar Allen Poe’s April 1, 1829 misinformation involving the lighthouse then at this location:  Lazaretto Point in Baltimore.  The hoax?  A man would fly from the world’s tallest structure–then Shot Tower–across the harbor and Fort McHenry to this lighthouse.  A crowd gathered here and waited . . . until nothing happened and the date began to sink in.    Poe was given to other hoaxes like the Balloon hoax of 1844.  He should just have called it “science fiction.”  By the way, Poe has figured prominently twice before in tugster:  here and here.

Hoaxes are sometimes well-received; other times the response might be prosecution.  Periodically I put up silly stuff, just for fun, like this one featuring light fixture reflections on the Staten Island ferry, never claiming otherwise.  Like those below . . . just a kid’s soap bubbles, or  . . .  you never know.

Captain James restaurant is no hoax but a unique Baltimore eatery.  New York hoaxes?  The Madoff gang comes to mind, like a nagging migraine.  More interesting is Orson Welles, but a century before the New York Sun published a story about an astronomer’s sightings of biped beavers, man-bats, and blue unicorns on the surface of  the moon.

Water on fire?  Remember the Cuyahoga in the mid-20th century?  But how about this youtube video . . . burning tap water?  Not a hoax.  Floating sand?

New statue dedicated to Jim Morrison or some other ecdysiast?

See you at the Fool’s Parade at the intersection of 14th Ave and Canal Street on the first of April . . . muster around noon?  After the parade, which’ll feature ALL the workboats of the sixth boro doing laps in front of the Statue and stopping at a barge spudded there with all manner of eats free for the taking by the BEST grubistas on the nearby shores and music & dancing to please every tongue and ear and eye and limb, there’ll be a bash in front of Snug Harbor:  all the orange juice you can drink and escargots au vin sans limites, maybe even some good eats from GMG, eh Joey?

Great sci-fi short stories based in New York:  The Third Level and Accidental Time Traveller by Jack Finney.  The third level refers to stairways leading to time portals located below the passenger boarding area in Grand Central, detours I look for when I’m not interested in boarding a train to work.

Oh, the statue . . . not a hoax but Orpheus himself, signed by Warren G. Harding.

Fotos by Will Van Dorp.  Again, thanks to Allen Baker for the Baltimore “local knowledge.”


Sirens . . . their brief season arrives Saturday. Check out the cartoon on p. 72 of the June 23 2008 New Yorker. The siren above . . . what do her hands signal the fish? The fish above . . . what might their interaction with the siren here remind me of? Of course, for me . . .

naturally, it’s like the choreography of Laura K Moran and the great Hapag Lloyd Essen Express as . . .


the couple tango away, Essen back stepping with immense momentum, and although Turecamo Boys urges restraint,

no holding back will happen until . . .

Essen Express pirouettes with proper form as

Boys inspects, approves, and then

Laura K backs away also. Essen has found its spin and not even the smoke pouring from a hasty Yemitzis can delay the trip toward the ocean. Meanwhile, Boys has other errands to run, maybe bigger fish to fry, so to speak. Meanwhile, suppose Essen will anchor off Coney Island for the parade?

More fotos of Essen Express here (scroll about half thru this page). Check out the other several thousand thumbnails also.

BTW, Laura K generates 5100 hp and Boys, 3200.  See also Jed’s comment to the left.

Photos, WVD.

First of all, my hat’s off to Jim, Harold, and Jed–all of whom correctly identified the “mystery towboat” as Buchanan 12 approaching Haverstraw. “Haver,” by the way, is Dutch for “oats,” so, approaching oats straw.

Thanks to Jed, here’s a vessel in KVK with an intriguing name for this past week: Ice Fighter in KVK, paradoxical given our heat wave and its port of registry–Monrovia.

New York place names–like those in many locales– are intriguing. Not quite 50 miles north of the Battery is World’s End, just north of West Point;  Target Point and Storm King appear along the port side. Along starboard are Magazine Point, Little Stony Point and Breakneck Point with Pollepel Island (aka Bannerman’s Island) dead ahead. Maybe it was the cartographer in some cases, but someone decided each of those names. According to my favorite resource for place names, the 1940 Guide to the Empire State, the Federal Writers’ Project book on New York, the island was named for Polly Pell “who had two suitors, a farmer and a young minister. She preferred the former; her parents favored the latter. One day the minister took her sleigh-riding on the river; the ice broke and they fell in. The young farmer raced across the ice, jumped in, and brought them safely to this island. Polly embraced the young farmer so ardently that the minister saw the futility of his suit and married the couple then and there.” Now I suspect that minister turned pirate.

By the way, from where this foto was taken, World’s End, the Hudson is deepest, dropping to 180-200 feet.

One of my favorite place names is Danzkammer Point, north of Newburgh.  No, it’s not bad-mouthing someone named ‘Dan” as a “scammer” by someone who doesn’t know how to spell. Rather . . . it’s Dutch for “dance hall.” Kammer in Dutch means chamber or room, as in “slaapkamer” for sleep room, bed room. I’ve no idea about the double “m” on the chart. Anyhow, Henry‘s Dutch saw the Indians dancing there around fires, and so that event lives on in this Newburgh place name.

Speaking of dance halls, Coney Island this coming Saturday is one big “danzkammer” . . . for mermaids and all who dance with them around camp fires or amid bioluminescence. For me, this can’t be missed. The dancers above and below are from a Calder statue. Anyone guess where? Which Calder?

So, finally. . . what are your favorite place names along whatever river you know best? most ironic? most mysterious? I’d love to start a series on place names. Max at “sailing south africa” had a great example here with “house of sin.”

Photos, WVD.

There was a Little Toot here half a year ago, but



this one, in spite of its name, can work.



Give it a more assertive name, please. Or, since this is time for “sirens on sunday,”



festoon it with a pudding like this.

Photos, WVD.

Gowanus Lounge reports that we have a date for the climax daylight event of the year. June 21!! It seems like a long way away …



to this nereid, one of six in Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens, and her fanciful shark mount.



Sculptor Rene Chambellan never imagined his fountainheads so buried, and even with melt, it’s still dark season.



Each of the fountainheads carries a name;



this one is Will. The triton shown here last May (fourth down) is Alertness. Good qualities to get us safely from these dark months to the solstice 119 days from now.

Speaking of fanciful sharks . . . I just stumbled onto shark house and other instances of what architect Javier Senosiain calls organic architecture. Cool! Thanks Peter!

Photos, WVD.

When I started this series, I imagined alternating fotos of women and men, but siren per se doesn’t seem to include men although there are other winged-creatures that include men. As a digression, check out this mechanical siren with –er– horsepower.

But I’ll persist a little and go inland to a favorite place, Rockefeller Center and Paul Manship‘s Prometheus. Seeing Prometheus from this angle prompts two thoughts:



First, the people below him are not too impressed that he’s just stolen fire from Zeus and quite caught up, instead, in just maintaining their balance. And second, that fire in his raised right hand, if dropped, would quickly melt the ice and send the skaters into the waters below. Well… if waters existed below. By the way, Prometheus’ grandfather was Oceanus. Prometheus isn’t a siren and has no wings, but some flight was involved in his getting away with the fire.



Flight happens here too in this Robert Garrison carving “Morning” facing Sixth Avenue (aka Avenue of the Americas) although the eagle provides the wings. More Garrison later.

Of course Giotto and Bosch show angels exist as a category, one that I’m thinking about today since reading Cees Nooteboom‘s Lost Paradise. See NYC angels here.

Photos, WVD.

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November 2022