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Many thanks to Ken Deeley for today’s photos.  The vessel with the red house is surely one of the Standard Boat stick lighter fleet, but I can’t read the name on the bow.  A half decade I posted a photo here (scroll) of a decrepit Ollie, the stick lighter that used to tie up at South Street.   He can’t quite put a date on this photo taken at South Street Seaport Museum’s pier.  Can anyone date these photos?  And what was that green/white dome in the background?


Coming down the Hudson, Ken got this photo of suction dredger Sugar Island.  Currently, Sugar Island is working off Bahrain.



Many thanks to Ken for sending along these photos.

Click here for a 1992 publication by Robert Foster and Jane Steuerwald called “The Lighterage System in the New York/New Jersey Harbor,” referencing stick lighters and much more.

Exactly six years ago I heard a reawakening Peking . .  as I wrote here, I felt a pulse, heard a breath.  A warm flow began to within that shell too cold and too long. . .  Peking in the Upper Bay was calling on buoyancy it once had here south of South America.  I allowed myself to feel a little hope. Possibly this trip to the dry dock would be a preliminary to a miraculous rebirth.


But too much time has passed again . . . momentum has dissipated.  Undercurrents in this article suggest the end is starting to be acknowledged.


but IMHO, this is alright.  Mortality stalks all of us.  So here’s my proposal:  let those who hold her destiny organize a decommissioning, a wake.  She arrived–I imagine–with some fanfare if not an official commissioning for her imagined new role in 1975 . . . first at the Narrows here and then–in November 1975, according to A Dream of Tall Ships–from the shipyard up to the East River.  How about a party now . . . as then.  And then . .  reef her, ceremoniously.

Opinions are entirely my own.


See fotos from the Save our Seaport rally here and here.    Below, with Peking and Helen McAllister as backdrop of “hostage” vessels , South Street Seaport founder and first president Peter Sanford speaks of the Museum’s past AND future, while

supporters listen and cheer.    Ships . . . present.  Supporters . . . present and spirited.  Current management  . . .   er . . .   absent!!??

Well then, some new lyrics to “Leave her Johnny,” a traditional sea shanty melody . . . click here if you don’t know the tune.

Oh the times were hard and donations slow

Leave us, Frankie, leave us

But it’s no excuse for the ships to go

And it’s time for you to leave us.


Leave us, Frankie, leave us

Oh, leave us, Mary, leave us,

For the ships must stay and you must go

And it’s time for you to leave us.


So we’ll sand and paint through snow and rain

Leave us, Frankie, leave us

And sail our tug and schooners again

And it’s time for you to leave us.


Scrimshaw models print shop too

Leave us, Frankie, leave us

Should all be out on public view 

And it’s time for you to leave us


Long hours, hard work, and nopay

Leave us, Frankie, leave us

The volunteers do more than play

And it’s time for you to leave us


Fotos by Will Van Dorp, who previously posted our the Seaport struggle here and here.

Meanwhile and unrelated, an update on Blue Marlin . . . as of late afternoon, Blue Marlin had still not “sunk,” and the tug starboard aft is Vulcan III, no doubt assisting with preparations to receive the cargo.

Vantage point here is the Buttermilk Channel, looking roughly west toward the Bayonne and Jersey City side of the sixth boro;  that’s the Bayonne Bridge in the distance.    Any guesses about these vessels?

Schooner turns out to be Spirit of Massachusetts  (1984), doing programming in New York.  I usually keep opinions on such matters to myself, but it boggles my mind that an out-of-town replica vessel comes to New York for such programming when less than a seamile away, two authentic schooners stay “chained” to the dock at South Street Seaport, eager local crews grounded and frustrated by a museum administration that says nought , an unseemly and surreal turn of harbor affairs.

Captain Dann (1974) pushes a scow eastbound.

Meanwhile over in Gowanus Bay  (aka the mouth of the canal),  the cement ship with the interesting stack . . .

aka Abu Loujaine (1966) has been moved to a new location beside the (abandoned) Port Authority Grain Terminal (1922).    Both appeared in this post from 14 months ago.

At the north end of the Buttermilk, Sea Bear (1990, Bay Star) enters the East River from the Jersey side.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend . . .   all fotos here taken yesterday by Will Van Dorp.

I first used this title a bit over two years ago in relation to two museum vessels whose status is currently challenged.  Click here for a new blog dedicated to saving the fleet languishing at South Street Seaport;  May Day’s not been transmitted there yet.

High and dry,

per plan . . . and  a future versus

one arrived here by accident and now like a fish out of water.

Urger gets floated this year with a new captain.  Type Urger in the search window to see the dozen or so stories I’ve done on her, of which my favorite is probably this.

Can anyone speak from fact about a future for Le Papillon?

Urger has to be the most beautiful 110 year-old I know!

All fotos were taken last weekend . . .  Fotos of Le Papillon by Capt. Justin Zizes, Jr. and Urger  by Will Van Dorp . .  up in Lyons, NY.

Unrelated:  Another fantastic video of Rotterdam harbor by Fred Vloo.

When I got to the wreck Easter morning, as you know, I spotted a seal.  In the fog and from a distance, I first imagined it another creature–one more typically associated with Easter but for some reason with a flattened tail and sleeping on the beach.   I gave it wide berth, but when it turned

and looked up, I noticed it was either a deformed bunny sans ears OR  NOT an Easter bunny but rather a seal that seemed to has a sense of boat survey work, the clue being that it was reading Colvin’s Steel Boat Building, Vol. 1.

Having with me a silkie speaker of Halichoerus grypus aka  hooked-nosed sea pig, I thought I’d ask a few questions via translation.  After dispensing with initial interview protocols, I learned that ᐅᒡᖪᒃ , as this young male gray calls himself, witnessed Le Papillon arrive on the beach and was calculating odds of it rolling off the beach in like but reverse manner.  ᐅᒡᖪᒃ  demonstrated as he spoke, and

after astounding me with jargon like panting, racking, hogging, sagging, and hogging some more, he grew quiet, pensively stroking his juvenile whiskers.  “Sooner . . . would have been better than now, but, in my not-so-humble seal opinion, it needs a strong vessel . . .  of several hundred orca-power at least (must be how seals calculate terrific torque) to wrestle the pinky free of this entombing sand and

back to its own element.”

So I risked sounding like a fool and asked the next question . . . which ᐅᒡᖪᒃ  met with such guffaws and  explosive

seal chortles that . . .   totally mortified, I backed off .  . .

I turned back once while leaving;  ᐅᒡᖪᒃ  must have felt bad.  My translator told me she heard him mutter something about “I can’t believe I said that.  I need to learn a bit of tact with these terrestrials.”  Then, he said something about heading for South Street Seaport next . . . . hmmmmm!

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  No . .  I won’t translate the question into English.  ᐅᒡᖪᒃ  . . . Good luck with your salvage plans.  And all your projects.

This is called doing penance . . .  Torm Kristina . . .  I checked high and low for square-rigged masts . .  and found none.  Hmmm . . .  must be a motor vessel, not a ship at all.

Same for MSC  Linzie.

Valcadore.  Nope.

Hilda Knutsen . . .  I thought she was promising, but no dice.

Stena Performance . . . sorry.    She too is a motor vessel.

Ever Develop . . . same negatory once again.

I guess I’ll have to make my way up to the East (non) River

to find a real ship.  And what a ship she is:  when Karl Kortum located her on the River Platte, 80 years old and converted into a scow for transporting dredge spoils, the locals refered to her as “el gran velero,” i.e., the great sailboat.  As a sailing ship, she once called in the New York harbor . . .  Erie Basin, to be exact . . .  in January 14  1895, arriving in exactly three months from Taltal, Chile. Yup, that was pre-Panamax of any sort.  She stayed in the sixth boro,  albeit the Bayonne side of it, until March 21, 1895, when she sailed for Calcutta . . .  making a passage of  just over four months. As to cargo, I’d wager nitrates to New York, and petroleum product (kerosene) to Calcutta.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp.  The info on the ship Wavertree aka el gran velero comes from the fine book called The Wavertree, published by South Street Seaport in 1969, the year she arrived in NYC.

Does anyone have fotos on Wavertree‘s arival in NYC, similar to these for Peking?   Check out NYTimes article from January 12,  1969 and another from December 27,  1975.

What?!!  Blue-helmeted, be-safetyglassed worker in a manhole . . .  blue looks like our electric company, ConEdison.  But why on Tugster?  Granted, ConEdison maintains 105 miles of steam pipes under Manhattan alone.  As the worker I spoke to put it . . . “for steam, we’re the only game in town.”  But steam . . . on a 90-degree day?

This 600-pound device, featured on Tugster once before here, needs 170 pounds of pressure to function, so

here we are, near South Street Seaport on the 75th anniversary of the inaugural arrival of SS  Normandie in New York . . . and I suppose you want to hear this three-chimed whistle saved by chance from the scrapyard.  Well,

. . . you will, but before you listen, let me share a short story I heard this morning from Conrad H. Milster,  the current custodian of the device:  the whistle also blew on the 50th anniversary, scheduled to blow every hour.  The neighborhood merchants –AROUND the area called South Street Seaport–complained about the noise, and the program was cancelled.  Imagine, a ship’s whistle was classified as NOISE.  Today, all seemed harmonious and ConEd workers I spoke with were excited to provide the steam.  The whistle calls attention to South Street’s exhibit “Decodence” now through January 2011.

Ready??  Conrad is the man wearing a blue shirt and standing beside a tripod at 15–18 seconds into the video.

Fotos and video by Will Van Dorp.

More of Conrad’s whistles and a quirky rendition of SS Normandie are here and here. Only Bowsprite knows whether she made an artistic decision to leave off the whistle OR the whistle was too small on the drawing to be visible.

Thank you all for reading and commenting.  Let me pass along some of what I’ve learned.  Also, check out frogma’s latest.

Below, from Jeff S:  “The passenger vessel with the lifeboat on deck is the famous New Bedford built at Bethlehem-Quincy in 1928. See hull # 1417.  She was loaned to Britain in WW 2 and served as a hospital ship at Normandy landings.”

Guess the total number of ships/boats of all kinds involved in Operation Neptune, the Channel-crossing component of Operation Overlord.

According to the link above, Op Neptune involved more than 6000 vessels.   It’s interesting to imagine the fate of all those 6000.  Here’s a Normandy crossing tug I wrote about in 2007.  I wonder if any Brooklyn-built boats have remained in France?     Jeff goes on to say, “Earlier in the war New Bedford participated in ”decoy” convoy RB-1.   I think she has been at Wittes since about 1967. ”

Here’s another fabulous story:  YOG-64 was delivered to the US Navy in May 1945, arrived in the Pacific just after the end of the “9th inning,”  served in various capacities at Bikini Atoll during Operation Sandstone, judged decontaminated and decommissioned, spent two decades hauling fuel as M/T Francis Reinauer, and has rested here since the mid-1980’s.  Anyone know of a foto of Francis Reinauer?

An as-yet unidentified tug whose upper portion of the house has now slumped back into eternal oblivion.

A very strange comment I got by email asked why I had sunk the red tugboat in yesterday’s post.  I’m innocent.  Nor did I have anything to do with with sinking.

A mile or so south of Witte’s yard is another graveyard aka tidal reef.  Most prominent there is this ferry:  Astoria, sister of Ferry Maj. General Wm. H. Hart, formerly docked at South Street Seaport.  Here’s a foto of Astoria I took last summer.

Here frogma documents entropy.

Here’s a favorite quote from a Rebecca Solnit essay:  “To erase decay …and ruin is to erase the understanding of the unfolding relation between all things.  To imagine [creation and destruction] together is to see their kinship in the common ground of change, abrupt and gradual, beautiful and disastrous, to see the generative richness of ruins and the ruinous nature of all change. …  Ruins stand as reminders.  Memory is always incomplete, always imperfect, always falling into ruin;  but the ruins themselves, like other traces, are treasures; our links to what came before.  … A city without ruins or traces of age is like a mind without memories.”

Serendipitous during our paddle “north” was a glimpse of W. O. Decker headed “south.”  We debated calling them but decided that we would cross paths if that was intended.  By the way, if the identification of Ned Moran in Graveyard 1 is correct, then Decker and Ned Moran date from the same year!   Maintenance IS everything.

On our return, we saw Decker waiting (haulout?) at the yard in Tottenville.  Decker is older than Bloxom and Hila and fortunate to have staved off ruin, traces of aging, and entropy as well as it has.  May she bob and pitch for many more years.

I wish I’d taken the profile of this vessel . . . . From this frontal shot, it looks a lot like Day Peckinpaugh.  Jeff identified it as “canal tanker Michigan.  Built by McDougal Duluth S B in 1921 as Interwaterways Line Incorporated 105, shortened to ILI-105 in 1935 before becoming Michigan. She carried caustic soda, vegetable oil , liquid sugar and such on the Erie and Welland canals. Twin screw.”  For the record, Day-Peckinpaugh was ILI-101–the prototype–built in the same year.  Thanks much, Jeff.  See an image of ILI-105 in her prime here.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Some links to check:  ForgottenNY and Undercity and somehow I missed –if traces of it are still there–Fireboat Abram Hewitt thanks to Opacity.

Rossville itself has an interesting history spanning Raritan Indians, Ross Castle, Blazing Star tavern, and the Underground Railroad.

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