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Chrononauts here now refers to us, looking at photos from the past.  This summer, in one of my Great Lakes ports, i bought first two prints, then the whole album of over 50 prints, all taken in the sixth boro between the 1930s and the 1950s.  So let’s start with this one, taken in either 1948 or 1949,


Willard A. Holbrook. 


How about this one, and you can find the overlap:   S.S. Normandie (1932 –1941), Alice M. Moran (1925–1953), and New York Central Grain Elevator Pier 7 Weehawken  (1884–1962).






I’d love to learn more about either of these photos.  They are stamped on the back as Gmelin, probably the photographer.



Bravo on the almost immediate and many correct identifications of the hulk in yesterday’s post.

Here’s an undated photo of SS Normandie in the sixth boro passing an unidentified Dalzell (?) tug.


Photo from John Skelson . . . PT boat eastbound on the KVK.  Notice the onramp to the Bayonne Bridge in this and the next few photos.  Here’s a “hidden NJ” blogpost about Bayonne’s ELCO shipyard.  Here’s a list of vessels built there.


From the same location, another of John’s photos . . .  destroyer, Great Lakes dredge, spectators,


and Moran tugs.  Anyone add some info on the destroyer?


Recognize the bridge?  This photo–from the New York City Archives, as are all the the rest here– is identified as taken in January 1937.  Whaling City then was a fishing vessel.  A vessel by that name operates today as a fast ferry.


Notice 120 Wall Street.  This photo was taken January 1937 and shows F/V Charles B. Ashley.


Not much info on this next set . . . . a dredge from a century ago and


a survey vessel.


And finally . . . this may be the last of my black/white photos . . . the sign tells all about the attitude of the value of salt marshes a half century ago and before . . .


Thanks much to John Skelson for sharing his “family archives” photos, and if the fog over the sixth boro today has you staying indoors, go check out the New York City Municipal Archives online gallery.


More from the archives . . .  aerial of Pier 40 and the Holland Tunnel vent . . . photo said to be taken in 1955.


Photo said to be “three-masted schooner” in 1937.  Clearly that’s not a schooner there with the GW Bridge in the background.  Anyone know what sailing ship that might have been?


Photo by Sam Brody February 1938.  Ferry Hackensack foreground with Jack Frost Sugars over on the Edgewater, NJ side.


Todd Shipyard, 1935-41 . .  .  Here’s a list of what was built there and an aerial view (you may have to scroll horizontally) of what it today is occupied by IKEA.


SS Normandie . . . headed for the North River piers.


City of Chattanooga December 1937.


Brooklyn docks as seen from Brooklyn Heights, November 1937.  Here’s a Munson Lines flyer.


Here’s the schedule–sorry for all the repetition–for Wednesday evening’s documentary portion of the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, where Graves of Arthur Kill will be shown.  Gary and I will hang for a while at Park Plaza Bar after the show. It may be mobbed?

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.

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December 2022