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Leaden skies cover my sixth boro today, a dour sign leading me to the Gmelin collection and the grim discovery that well over a third of the photos of shipping represented in his photos from the 1930s by a decade later were sunk or scuttled as fanaticism drew the world into war. Take this photo taken in 1931. To situate the photo in the sixth boro, note the Stevens Mansion–demolished in 1959– just above the stern of the ship. Nerissa was launched in Scotland in 1926, ran between NYC–St. Johns NF until 1931, when she ran between NYC and the Caribbean. Her end came in 1941, when she was torpedoed off Ireland by U-552, on her 40th crossing with mostly Canadian troops from Halifax to Europe. The number of souls lost was 207.
Here’s another victim, Empress of Britain taken in 1932. You can see the Empire State Building less than a year “topped-out” at this time. Empress of Britain made its first crossing from Southampton to Quebec City in spring 1931. Here she was likely completing her first visit to the sixth boro, headed for Southampton to complete her first trip around the world. In November 1939 she was requisitioned as troop transport. Less than a year later she too was sunk by a combination of a German bomber and U-boat. She was the largest Canadian-owned merchant vessel lost in WW2; beyond that, she was the largest ship sunk by a WW2 submarine. For others, click here.
I’ll be looking for sunshine in the next days and longer.
Random means random, and I challenge you to come up with a more random set . . .
Let’s start with a Gmelin photo from 1930. I’ll give the name of the tug later in this post so that all experts of arcane sixth boro history can play. Since today is the V-Day, let me mention that Herbert Hoover was POTUS, and not very popular at that time, post-crash, in spite of his 1928 campaign slogan “A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage.” Well, that did not work out so well. A few things impress me about Hoover though, like . . . in what language would he and the First Lady–Lou–converse privately when guests were in the White House. By the way, why is the 2nd Tuesday in November Election Day? Answers at the end of this post.
Here’s a photo from my archives, Surrie Moran (2000 built) assisting with a big south-bound Crowley barge El Rey (1979) in June 2013 on the Delaware River. I was shooting against the morning sun. You see a little of Cape Henry (1967) on the stern also. Any guesses which Crowley tug was towing?
And another photo from 2013, January, in the KVK. It’s Rebel, built 1976, with her odd hull. Is she now scrapped?
So now a few from the past week . . . James D. Moran (2015) passes the KV buoy heading for the North River.
Genesis Victory (from 1981) heads into the Kills.
The 2002 Labrador Sea comes in from somewhere out east.
And over on a waterway I don’t get to see that often, I stumbled onto the 1940 Ireland,
1958 Bergen Point, and
the 1947 basic Harbor II.
And since a lot of things are cyclical, we’re back at the mystery tug.
With my magnifying glass, I read enough to make me think this is Richard J. Barrett, which would have been 11 years old in 1930. Here’s Birk’s info. The ship is the 1925-launched MS Gripsholm, significant as the first transAtlantic liner powered by a diesel engine.
And Hoover and his wife spoke Mandarin for their secret asides when guests were in earshot. I’m impressed.
And towing El Rey, here’s Sentry (1977).
And we have our 19th century agrarian roots to thank for the 2nd Tuesday being election day . . . here.
Sometimes I know what these are or it is. In this case, I don’t. Photo is not the sharpest, but this cargo does intrigue.
Likely, the top photo and the two below are unrelated. Ashley Hutto took the top on Sunday, and I took the bottom two Saturday.
The cargo on the barge pushed by Sarah Ann is uncovered and looks more like an art project, whereas the cargo pushed by Susan Miller looks more utilitarian, but I’ve erred before.
Do you remember this cargo from November 2012? I knew what it was, but I would not otherwise have guessed that it would become
part of this.
Many thanks to Ashley for the top photo; all others by Will Van Dorp.
I’m surprised I’ve not heard this be called DUBQEG, “down under Brooklyn-Queens Expressway of Gowanus” a la DUMBO.
I was here last week waiting for … and when the twin bascules of the Hamilton Street Bridge, I thought it was someone else, but
I was equally pleased to see Sarah Ann–previously June K–arrive to exchange scrap scows,
exchanging the light 141 for the loaded 136.
Two things that really impressed me were (1. the intensity of multi-modal traffic at this location and
(2. the gentleness with which the Sarah Ann crew negotiated her 2700 hp in such confined space.
And yes that is a Coney Island bound F train approaching the Smith-Ninth Street Station, the highest subway stop in the system, one from which you can see the Statue.
Scrapping needs to happen somewhere in the city,
and it continues to be one aspect of marine commerce in Gowanus.
Bravo to the Sarah Ann crew for their impressive work.
All photos by Will Van Dorp.
SS George Washington was launched from Newport News Shipbuilding in November 1924 to operate on the Old Dominion Line between NYC and Norfolk. It was sold to Eastern Steamship Lines in 1927. Mr. Gmelin marked this photo–where she carries the logo on Eastern Steamship Lines on her funnel–as 1940, making it a photo of the ship near the end of its life on that run. But there were other exciting lives to come.
After the war, it ran very briefly for Alaska Transport Company (ATCo.) between Seattle and Alaska in 1948, until ATCo went bankrupt the same year. A French company named CGT bought her in 1949, renamed her SS Gascogne (sometimes spelled Gascoigne), ran her in the Caribbean for a while and in 1952 sold her to Messageries-Maritimes, who operated her in Indochina until she was scrapped in Hong Kong in 1955. Quite the journey for this US East coast steamer named for POTUS 1, and what stories have been lost with her forever; I guess some clever novelist will have to make them up.
Her Newport News Shipbuilding/Old Dominion Line twin–Robert E. Lee–was torpedoed and sunk in 1942.
Yesterday’s post showed the 1923 SS California, which was launched with three funnels until it the two dummies were removed.
The SS California below was launched in 1928 to operate as a vessel in the Panama Pacific division of the American Line Steamship Company, as shown below. But a decade later, it was sold to the United States Maritime Commission, which modified it extensively to comply with new fireproofing requirements post-Morro Castle fire. They also removed one of the funnels and renamed the vessel SS Uraguay. Click here to see the two superstructures on the hull side by side.
Mr. Gmelin caught it here passing the Jersey-side Holland Tunnel vent. Anyone have guesses on the two ferries shown?
Actually this first in this series started here. The ship is SS California, launched in April 1923. If you look at the top photo in the link in the previous sentence, you’ll see this SS California started with three funnels, although it’s likely that two of the three were dummies. Extra “dummy” funnels were “style enhancements,” added for appearance. Notice the Lipton Tea building along the water in Hoboken? The photo was cropped as shown. Anyone help identify the tugboat company?
As I mentioned in the September post linked above, I bought an album of prints at an antique shop in Oswego NY on one of my stops there this summer. We were spending extra time there to replace a prop dinged on an immovable uncharted underwater obstruction. Thanks to William Lafferty, I’ve learned that Mr. Gmelin “was a Cranford, New Jersey, based amateur photographer and maritime historian. He was one of the earliest members of the Steamship Historical Society of America and an occasional contributor to its journal, Steamboat Bill [now called Power Ships]. He died in 2001 at the age of eighty-eight.” Click here and scroll for a photo of Mr. Gmelin, whose full name including the first name spelling I used above was stamped on the back of most of the photos.
Click here for SHSA’s online gallery.
It appears I’ve not put up a batch of photos of this handy floating fuel station since here, but I’ll have to check the archives later today. For now, these are photos of Chandra B and her hard-working crew I took last week. Know the location?
And in the recesses along Chelsea Piers, Chandra B is well into its workday as the sun rises. Here she tops off Utopia III.
Chandra B‘s crew is ready for lunch before most people have breakfast.
Click here for some of my Chandra B photos from Professional Mariner magazine.
I did this once before here. This time I was deleting near duplicates to limit the size of my photo library to accommodate the many photos I brought back from the gallivants, and my mind quickly formed today’s post. Enjoy all these from August through October 2009 and marvel at how much the harbor changes. As I went through the archives, this is where I stopped, given the recent developments in Bella Bella BC.
For background on this tug, check here.
Notice also the Bayonne approach to the bridge.
IMO 8983117 was still orange back then.
King Philip, Thomas Dann, and Patriot Service . . .
Odin . . . now has a fixed profile.
And these two clean looking machines — Coral Queen and
John B. Caddell — were still with us.
This is a digression to March 2010, but since I’m in a temporally warped thought, let me add this photo of the long-gone Kristin Poling.
Back to 2009, Rosemary looked sweet here in fall scenes.
John Reinauer . . . I wonder what that tug looks like today over in Nigeria.
And Newtown Creek, now the deep Lady Luck of the Depths, sure looked good back then.
And while I’m at it, I’ve finally solved a puzzle that’s bugged me for a few years. Remember this post from three and a half years ago about a group of aging Dutch sailors who wanted to hold a reunion on their vessel but couldn’t find the boat, a former Royal Dutch Navy tug named Wamandai A870? Well, here’s the boat today! Well, maybe . . .
Photos and tangents by Will Van Dorp.
Thanks to Gerard Thornton for use of these photos.
Steppenwolf, or at least strutting gull. Beneath the wheel, or at least the wheels of the cranes. The Glass Bead Game, or at least the metal box shifting enterprise. Journey to the East, or at least shuttling between east and west and all the other cardinal points . . . . Maybe a dedicated literature carrier?
I’ll stop here, but I love these moody, Hesse-enhancing photos by Gerard.