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Is Marion M (Greenport, NY 1932) on her own power projecting that potentially gorgeous deck before her?  Might she be?

I’ll be straightforward for once:  Marion M has been moved away from South Street because the museum needs space.  She is for sale. You/your organization can get information on purchasing her by contacting Captain Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum.  His tele and email are:  212.748.8772

Some specifics on her history accompany bowsprite’s rendering here.  Wooden tugboat W. O. Decker (1930) demonstrates that she has the stuff  still in her.  Decker stays at South Street Seaport Museum.   Here and here are two of my many favorite bowsprite illustrations of Decker.

All these fotos come compliments of Jonathan Boulware, who took them in late June, as

Decker towed Marion M out to

her holding area on the KVK . . . where you can pick her up.

I wanted to add a few more fotos of Helen McAllister . . .

who also has at least one

more life ahead of her.   Here’s how she might look under her own power headed your way.

And with all this movement, what might Peking be thinking, saying . ..  .?

Uh . . . she can’t talk, can she?

Again, Marion M can be yours.  Contact Jonathan Boulware, Waterfront Director, South Street Seaport Museum     212.748.8772      I’m told she’s listed in WoodenBoat‘s “Save a Classic” section, but I haven’t seen that yet.

I’d love to see her gussied up to 1932 standards.  I’d even put greenbacks and sweat equity in the project.  I’m reminded of what the “crazy farmers of Villiersdorp” managed to do . . . or the Onrust project in Rotterdam Junction.

Unrelated but NYTimes article about resurgence:  Cross-harbor rail about to expand exponentially on the sixth boro!!

… of course with boats, the number of “second lives” can astonish you, and (as for “last,”) see the note at the end of the post.  Helen’s tenure as “tryin ta be” museum artifact at South Street was more like a fourth life* already!

Anyhow, we knew departure would happen, just not when the day was.  But when I happened by minutes after nine this morning and I saw this . . .  my plans for the next few hours vanished . . . .

Helen sliding into the stream at the end of Deckers towline . . . meant only one thing.

0923 hr . . . Decker heads out to confer with Responder, who has often moved South Street vessels, including Peking four + years ago.

Responder asks Decker to go into the confined space to bring Helen to the dance floor.

Decker (and crew, of course) were thrilled to do this escort.

Long-timers at the Museum–Carlos, Victor, and Sal–get in last moments.

0953 . . . the tow gets made with Responder, and

the lines to Decker get

loosened.  Hand-over has happened.

For a short tense interval, the boats exchange sweet somethings, maybe some tears, and then

they waltz away . . . toward a future.

The Statue waves in recognition.

And Decker, as escort, has finished her duties by 1024 hr.

Such beautiful curves, such proud rake!    Surely there is another life

for Helen somewhere.  John Watson waits high on his cliff to get fotos of the tow heading into the KVK.

Thanks to John Watson for this foto and to Jonathan Boulware for assisting with my fotos.

And I’d really enjoy hearing your comments on any experiences you’ve had in the long life of the beautiful Helen (ex-Georgetown, ex-Admiral Dewey).  Does anyone have fotos to share of Helen docking vessels during 1992 OpSail?

“Last” . . . well, many boats have second, third, etc lives.  Helen is headed back to the McAllister yard;  SSS Museum needs to focus on fewer vessels.  What comes next is as unknown as . . . tomorrow.

Related:  Here was a previous significant day in SSSM involving major passages with the McAllisters.

* As to Helen’s previous lives, she was built in Port Richmond, Staten Island as Admiral Dewey for Berwind-White Coal;  see p. 8 of Erin Urban’s Caddell Dry Dock: 100 Years Harborside for a foto of Admiral Dewey.

I offer these as fotos in search of a story . . .  midday yesterday it was Bruce A. McAllister who appeared first on the ConHook Range with an unmistakeable

Crowley boat.

It was Mars

I could then read.  But the story . . . I’m still confuzzled.

Might there be another sale of old boats in the offing?    Some dimensions on Mars:  1970 built at McDermott in the state of LA, 136′ x 37,’ 5750 hp.  How long ago did she traverse the Panama Canal?

As I pondered that, I noticed a follower . . . a McAllister tug I’ve not seen before . . . Michael J. McAllister, built at Halter in the state of LA as well in 1971, 109′ and 4100 hp . . .  with another

Crowley on the hip.

Pioneer . . . 127′ x 37′ and 7200, McDermott built in 1975, and formerly operating out of Jacksonville . . . I believe.    So I’m wondering, where did these tows begin and what happens next . . .

As to that other Pioneer . . . the one I was waiting for, here’s another foto.

If you wish to help the Museum get its landlegs back . . . click on the graphic below.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.   For a foto of Crowley Pathfinder I took a few years back near Seattle, click here . . .  8th foto down.

January 1909.  New Jersey-built Ambrose LV-87 in second year on the job.  Photo by N. L. Stebbins.  Click on the next two fotos and you’ll get to their context.  Click here for many more Stebbins fotos.

January 1912, a mere 1202 months ago.  Ambrose at work with White Star Olympic passing in background. Olympic at this time was less than a year on the job and already suffered one collision.  Four months later, of course, her younger sister ship would begin its ill-fated maiden voyage to New York.

I recall seeing this foto before I moved to New York and imagined that “channel 87” was the means to contact the vessel.  Oh well . . . live and learn, eh?

March 2012.  Ambrose in her 46th year post-decommissioning after having served the USCG (and precursors) 59 years.  Photo by Birk Thomas.  In lower right hand corner, that’s Atlantic Salt’s Richmond Terrace mountain.

St. Peter’s neo-Romanesque sanctuary has dominated the east end of the KVK for over a century.

Structure just forward of Ambrose here is Sono’s “postcards,” a 9/11 memorial.

This may be my last post for a while . . . am gallivanting south soon.

Many thanks to Birk for these fotos.

Related:  Click here for a Reginald Marsh mural of a black-hulled Ambrose.  Here are some crew shots from the late 1950s.

Unrelated:  Crossing the Darien isthmus right now is Ever Deluxe, which appeared just barely in this post from almost three years ago . .  and NYK Diana, a Howland Hook regular.

The first 11 fotos here come compliments of bowsprite, who was so eager to get fotos of Ambrose‘ return that she admits to running out to the East River to get these shots  …  in her pyjamas …!   Now THAT would have been a sight to see.  As evidenced by her posts here and here, she IS a devotee of lightships.

I leave most of the narrative here to her fotos, which begin here are a parade processed past the heliport along the East River.

Keep in mind that Ambrose in not moving under its own power, but

traveling on the hip of Charles D. McAllister, whom I foto’d from seagull perspective recently.

Ambrose clearly demonstrates some power here versus this hecilopter.

That’s Brooklyn Heights in

the distance.

Now pay a modicum of attention to the vessel way out beyond the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

For a resplendent Ambrose, it’s homecoming!  I hope you can come to the welcome back ceremony on the pier next Monday evening, March 12.

Again, note the ship in the way background.

A radiant Ambrose gives new meaning to the term “lightship.”

Docklines are tossed . . . she’s home!

Et voila!  Guess who’s back in town . . . Ms. O, Alice . . . my first love!

More seriously, I’ve written about a crypto-lightship in town here and here after being tipped off by Jeff S.

The final foto above comes thanks to Mike Cohen . . . who snapped it from Brooklyn Heights.

So here’s a matter to speculate about:  Ambrose‘ return attracted some of the mainstream media.  Is it possible that these media are starting to pay more attention to folks’ attention paid to water and harbor and sixth boro events?

Back in December, Ambrose went to the yard for a makeover, and John Watson took these shots.

Today, John got these, mere minutes ago, as they tangoed

Charles D. McAllister and Ambrose,

chico y chica


como amantes en la primavera.

Big party is NEXT Monday evening.  RSVP!

Many thanks, John.

A year ago I was pessimistic and wrote a bleak post and made this offer.  I have now officially passed some benjamins.   Last Saturday I went back to the South Street Seaport Museum and the new life excited me.  First, there’s this new blog, which I hope continues.  My friend John Watson, volunteer at the museum for decades and frequent contributor on tugster, has been responsible for many of the fotos.

Then, of course, volunteer spirit at SSSM has been irrepressible.  On Saturday February 18, over two dozen volunteers doing winter maintenance worked on or in four of the vessels at least.  A year of idleness has allowed rust to invade everywhere, rust that needs to be busted.

Hammers, chains, power grinders . . . whatever would combine with sweat to prep for rust inhibitor and ultimately new paint was pressed into service. I even set down my camera a few hours and assaulted some areas of rust, just because I enjoyed it.

Leaks were stopped, even if only with temporary fixes for now.

Hatches were sanded and painted.

It’s no simple cliche that rust never sleeps, and big projects like Wavertree require huge infusions of cash and effort to hold off the ravages of time.   But the spirit of volunteerism is also indispensible.This googlemap view shows where all the current museum vessels used to park.  Can you name them all?  Some may still go to better places.

Ambrose and Lettie G. Howard often docked in the open space here;  they are off-site for repair and refurbishing before they return.What really impressed me was inside Schermerhorn Row.  Floor 3 has “Super Models,”  ship replicas from the collection, smartly displayed.

It also has “Bottled Up,”  miniature vessels in glass.  And if you want to see how ships navigate the bottleneck, you can find a display on that too.

Contemporary hand tools are used rust-busting the ships outside, but Floor 4 has “Hand Held Devices,” an installation of scores of historic hand tools, some of

which you might not recognize, but

then there’s an interactive display that can

help with that too.

Floor 5 has “Coffee, Tea, Fish, and the Tattooed Man,” all

tributes to trades that once transacted just outside the building on the docks.

On the way back down, stop again on Floor 3 for a set of Edward Burtynsky‘s stunning fotos of shipbreaking in Bangladesh.

But don’t take my word for any of this. There’s more than I describe here.  And more to come . . . like the re-opening of some form of research library . . . .   Become a member.  Come and visit.  Stop by and bust rust.   The barge name here describes what’s happening at the Museum.

South Street Seaport is once again

alive!  My fotos don’t really do it justice.  Bravo to all who made this happen.

Birk took these waterside fotos the better part of a week ago.  It took me a while to figure out the “color” of the mushroom anchor at the bow.

Plastic wrap I conclude, but that could be erroneous.  Ambrose certainly is full-bodied with a low center of gravity.

For purposes of comparison, I’ve put up the next two shots I took at South Street 25 months ago.  While afloat, Ambrose‘s beamy or “jowly” hull cannot be fully appreciated.

From this NPS Maritime Heritage  Program link, I learned that Ambrose was launched in 1907 and originally wore straw colored paint–with her name in black–not the white lettering on red hull she’s sported since the 1930s.  Oh . . . the folks in the red suits around her in this shot . . . they must belong to some secret society of the Nacirema.

Many thanks to Birk Thomas for the top two fotos.

Although I have many more “oldcarcity” fotos to share soon, John Watson got the following fotos from his sixth boro cliff yesterday, and they must go up.  Kudos , John!

John’s fotos are physical manifestations of the renaissance of South Street Seaport Museum.  Lightship Ambrose (LV-87), built 1908 . . . a year after  Pegasus, is headed to Caddell’s for some love aka life support.

She made her way across this stretch of the sixth boro escorted

by the gracious Charles D. McAllister.

as well as Elizabeth McAllister.  I can’t identify the smaller boat out front.

Again, thanks much, John.    Here’s a question from a tipster . . . not me! in ny.Curbed.  This is very promising news for the renascent museum; however, like all newborns AND reborns, it needs ongoing support . . . benjamins and members and volunteers.

My last fotos of a lightship in the sixth boro came here exactly two months ago.

Meanwhile, tugster continues a gallivant in the south . . . today off to a high point between Nickajack Lake and Chickamauga Lake.

Unrelated to this post but to one previously, here’s (thanks to Michele) is an interview/TV report from on-board Giulio Verne.

Update:  May Day no more at South Street Seaport Museum, and I have sent my benjamins as promised.    As I understand it, the Museum has been “taken over” in some fashion by the Museum of the City of New York.     Below, Peter Stanford addressed a group of “save our seaport” supporters back in May.

Bravo to Save our Seaport for their efforts to pull together support.

Guess what this is?  A clue is this:  I took the foto back in November in Detroit.

This is related.  The Great Lakes are mostly devoid of commercial passenger traffic today, but a century ago, had my great-great grandparents lived and prospered along the “northern coast” of the US, deluxe cruise itineraries might include stops at Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit.

Here, from the Dossin Museum is a model of what was marketed as THE way to cruise the Great Lakes around the time I was born.  Even the name of the aqua-hulled vessel,

SS Aquarama exudes that age of optimism.  Too bad I hadn’t  started this blog and contracted my obsession a decade or more earlier . . .  I would have been able to photograph her in mothballs in Buffalo.   Although it’s better late than never, when “stuff gets gone, it’s gone.”

So here’s the answer to my “whatzit” question . . . that place of carved oak above is the lounge on one of those Great Lakes passenger vessels:  City of Detroit III.  Who knows what honetmooners, retirees, or other celebrants smoked cigarettes (back when that was thought sophisticated)  and sipped drinks here.

Among the many great people I met this past year was Peter Boucher of Nautical Log.  Peter sent me this foto in response to a foto of Cove Isle, here.  Peter’s explanation of the foto below is as follows:  “When we were on the 1967 Western Arctic Patrol in CCGS Camsell  at one of the river stops this CCG river vessel came out to visit us.  Our Captain renamed it “Dimwit”, as it looked like it was going to turn over at any moment.”  Here’s another shot of Dumit.

I had to include this foto here:  this endless coal train travels along the bottom of the Great Lake called “Lake Maumee.”  Never heard of it?  It was there, though.  The day before Thanksgiving I waited a long time as this slow train moved prehistoric plant material along the bed of this prehistoric lake.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Jed this past year.  Thanks much for the tour of the Jacksonville area.

Blue Marlin captivated me this year, to put it mildly.  Here Clearwater, another worthy project if you’re still toying with year-end donations,  checks it out.

Here’s a foto from January 1, 2011:  Ann Moran glides on clouds beneath a heavenly bridge in charleston, SC.

Finally, it’s a cliche to end with a sunset pic, maybe, but I am so glad that a “cancelled trip” led me to visit Vieques as Plan B.  I’m hoping for more “plan b or even c” gallivants for 2012.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  I hope to write again from Wilmington, NC.

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