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Photos from a "Hidden Harbor" Tour

July 23, 2014
A few weeks ago my wife and I went on one of the Hidden Harbor tours presented by the Working Harbor Committee. These tours, which use chartered Circle Line boats, take one into parts of New York harbor one doesn’t usually see closely unless one works in the maritime industry. Our tour departed from the Circle Line pier, near the foot of Manhattan’s West 43rd Street. As the boat backed out into the Hudson River, we could see Norwegian Gem docked at the nearby cruise ship terminal. A now retired Concorde SST is on display at the end of the pier that is home to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
As we moved away from the dock, we got a good view of the World War Two veteran aircraft carrier Intrepid.
Heading downriver, we passed the retired, now privately owned fire boat John J. Harvey and the also privately owned lightship Frying Pan. Six years ago I was on a cruise on the tugboat Cornell when we were called on to pull Harvey, then stuck on a mudbank, free. I recorded the incident on video. The large structure behind Frying Pan is the Starrett-Lehigh Building, (Cory & Cory, Yasuo Matsui; 1931), a striking adaptation of some elements of art deco architecture, such as rounded corners, continuous horizontal strip windows, and varying brick colors, to an industrial and warehouse structure.
Continuing down the Hudson, we saw another former government vessel now in private hands, the lightship tender Lilac. Behind her is the Borough of Manhattan Community College and the towers of the Independence Plaza housing complex.
Passing the tip of lower Manhattan we saw a skyline dominated by the new One World Trade Center (David Childs/SOM; completion expected later this year) and the newly opened Four World Trade Center (Fumihiko Maki, 2013). The low, white building on the shoreline below One WTC is City Pier A, built in the 1880s and expanded in 1900 and 1919. It was used at different times for police and fire boats, lay derelict for many years, and is now being rehabilitated as a venue for restaurants.
Looking up the East River, we could see the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, as the sightseeing boat Robert Fulton went by.
We headed through the Buttermilk Channel, which lies between Brooklyn and Governors Island. The retired harbor tanker Mary A. Whalen, purchased and restored by PortSide New York, is docked at a pier on the Brooklyn side. In the background, above Mary’s wheelhouse, is the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building (Halsey, McCormack and Helmer, 1929), for many years Brooklyn’s tallest.
A double-crested cormorant was perched atop a buoy.
Heading across the harbor, we passed the ferry terminal on Staten Island and the ferry Spirit of America.
Entering the Kill Van Kull, which lies between Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey, we passed the tug Brian Nicholas pushing two barges, one loaded and one empty, lashed side-by-side.
The tanker Skopelos was docked on the Bayonne side. In the background, to the right, is a wind turbine; an effort to reduce the demand for the fossil fuel tankers carry.
King Duncan, another tanker, was berthed just beyond Skopelos.
The World War Two veteran destroyer escort U.S.S. Slater was undergoing maintenance at Caddell Dry Dock and Repair Company, Inc. on the Staten Island side. There’s an article about Slater’s stay at Cadell’s, ending with a photo showing her after completion, sporting her bold camouflage, here. Slater is now back in Albany, where she serves as a floating museum.
A short way past Caddell’s we passed under the Bayonne Bridge, which is being raised to allow the gargantuan container ships now going into service to pass under it. The project is being done in stages, so as to keep the bridge open to traffic except during late night hours. Photo by my wife.
After the bridge, we turned into Newark Bay, and passed the outbound container ship MSC Arushi R., escorted by the tug Miriam Moran.

A digression: sometime in the late 1950s, as my dad and I were tooling around the port of Tampa in our little Carter Craft runabout, I saw what struck me as a most ungainly and un-aesthetic ship, Pan Atlantic Steamship Company’s Gateway City. It was a standard C-2 type freighter that had had its hull above the waterline extended in beam, so that it looked like the awkward offspring of a cargo ship and an aircraft carrier. Instead of graceful masts and booms, it had massive gantry cranes straddling its decks, and it listed noticeably landward when the cranes carried containers off the ship to deposit them on the dock. You can see a photo of Gateway City here (scroll down to 1957) and read about how she came to be here. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was witnessing the beginning of a revolution in marine transportation.
After MSC Arushir came Don Jon Marine’s Caitlin Ann, pushing an empty barge.
Maersk Pittsburgh was docked at Port Elizabeth.
Another Don Jon tug, Mary Alice, was headed up Newark Bay.
Ital Laguna was docked at Maher Terminals, Port Elizabeth. The First Watchung Mountain can be seen in the distance.
Elizabeth McAllister was also heading up the Bay,
Endurance, docked at Port Newark, is a rarity these days; a large civilian cargo ship flying the U.S. flag. She is a RO-RO (Roll On-Roll Off) ship, and is used to transport equipment and supplies to U.S. forces abroad.
Heading back toward the Kill Van Kull, we passed Ellen McAllister. The tug’s low profile suggests she may sometimes be used on inland waterways with low clearances.
MSC Bruxelles was docked at Port Newark.
As we came alongside Maersk Pittsburgh we saw St. Andrews, the tug that had brought the barge from which Pittsburgh was taking on fuel. Note the scrape marks on the ship’s hull.
Another view of the Bayonne Bridge as we headed back toward the Kill Van Kull.
The tug Houma passed us just before we reached the bridge.
We passed the Moran tug fleet’s Staten Island home port. Laura K. Moran and two other tugs were docked there.
A little farther along was the Reinauer dock, where Dean Reinauer and Kristy Ann Reinauer waited for their next assignments.
Traffic was heavy on the Kill Van Kull as we headed out. Ahead of us was Northstar Marine’s barge Northstar 140, towed by Reliable.
Here’s a better view of Reliable as we overtook the tug and her tow.
With the New York City skyline as a background, Bouchard’s B.No.280, escorted by Charles D. McAllister, headed up the Kill Van Kull.
Power behind B.No.280 was supplied by Ellen S. Bouchard.
Then came Manhasset Bay…
which was easily overtaking Paul Andrew pushing a barge.
We encountered three tugs in succession towing barges “on the hip”; first Brooklyn,
…then Sassafras,
…then Gulf Dawn.
We almost overtook MSC Arushi R., which we had passed earlier as we entered Newark Bay, as she left the Kill Van Kull headed for the Narrows and the Atlantic.
As we left the Kill Van Kull and rounded Constable Hook, we passed the Bayonne Golf Club, with its faux lighthouse club building (2006). The Scottish style links were built atop what previously was a waste disposal landfill. 
The container ship Positano, sitting light with no visible cargo, was docked at Bayonne’s Military Ocean Terminal.
Just past Positano was the U.S. Naval Ship Watkins, undergoing maintenance work at the Bayonne Dry Dock & Repair Corporation’s graving dock.
The cruise ship Explorer of the Seas was moored at the Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne. The Kirby tug Lincoln Sea and a barge were docked at the end of the pier.
After passing Bayonne, we saw the majestic skyline of … Jersey City, with Lady Liberty in the middle.
Hearing a droning noise overhead, I looked up and saw a World War Two vintage B-17 flying by. 
The Colgate Clock, on the Jersey City shoreline, is a memory from my childhood, when I passed it several times on ships leaving from or arriving at New York. The building on which it once sat has been demolished; fortunately, the clock (Seth Thomas, 1924) has been preserved.  We were right on time; our cruse started at 11:00 a.m. and was scheduled to last two hours.
As we approached our dock, I saw kayaks near Intrepid’s stern.
There will be more of these tours, including one this Saturday, July 26.  You may get tickets here for it or future tours.

Source: Self-Absorbed Boomer

From the Web


Smell Something? Say Something.

July 19, 2014

We’ve received this somewhat cryptic message from Notify NYC:

Notification issued on 7/19/14 at 11:18 AM. The United States Coast Guard reports that a ship in Arthur Kill [red in map] off the coast of Staten Island is offloading various fuel products. As a result, there may be an odor in Staten Island and Brooklyn. Please report natural gas emergencies to 9-1-1.

Could the “fuel products” include liquefied natural gas?

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Around Brooklyn, Bloggers

British Pathé Newsreel: S.S. United States wins the Blue Riband on her maiden voyage.

July 8, 2013

The Blue Riband? It’s an award that is not likely ever to be given again. It was for the passenger ship that made the fastest crossings, both eastward and westward, of the Atlantic, measured between the Ambrose Lightship off New York harbor and Bishop’s Rock off Cornwall, England. S.S. United States won it on her maiden voyage in 1952, and retired with the title as transatlantic jet service supplanted ships. Queen Mary 2 annually makes one or two  transatlantic voyages between  my beloved Brooklyn and Southampton, England, traditional home port for Cunard liner services. Designed for cruising, Queen Mary 2 is unlikely to challenge any speed records.

Unfortunately, the United States is now in danger of going for scrap. The S.S. United States Conservancy, headed by Susan Gibbs, granddaughter of William Francis Gibbs, the marine architect and engineer who designed the great ship, is trying to raise funds to save her.  I’m hoping she may be preserved as a floating museum and perhaps hotel at a pier along what used to be “ocean liner row” on the west side of Manhattan, where she used to dock.

Update: The Conservancy has a Facebook page. Please consider giving them a “like.”

Source: Self-Absorbed Boomer

From the Web

Around Brooklyn, Bloggers

Duncan Island departs; Alice Oldendorff returns.

October 1, 2012

Two weekends ago, as I was walking between Piers 5 and 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, I saw the refrigerated container ship Duncan Island, of the Ecuadorian Line, departing from the nearby Red Hook container port (despite earlier predictions, it has survived). According to Shiptracking, a most helpful tool for ship buffs, she was bound for Antwerp.

Yesterday morning I looked out my kitchen window and saw an old friend heading into the Governors Island Channel toward the East River and her customary dock at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I quickly changed from PJs to exercise clothes and ran out to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade where I got this photo of Alice Oldendorff, accompanied by a McAllister tug. Alice is a particular favorite of Will Van Dorp, publisher of Tugster: a Waterblog, where he once posted another photo I took of Alice heading up the East River. For some reason Shiptracking gives no information about where she came from; I can only surmise that she’s bringing her usual cargo of crushed stone from Canada, likely loaded at Halifax.

Source: Self-Absorbed Boomer

From the Web

More Morning, and Some Evening, Walk Pix

August 12, 2012

Your correspondent had just walked out the door Saturday morning when he spotted these late summer blossoms in the garden outside his building (corner of Montague and Pierrepont Place). More photos and text after the jump.

Wasp gathering nectar, Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Double-crested cormorant drying its wings on a piling, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Hot pink blossoms, Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Spartina grass, salt marsh, south edge of Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Tour boat Half Moon passing close to Pier 1 esplanade; Brooklyn Bridge in background.

Large flower beside pond, northeast corner of Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

South Street Seaport Museum’s schooner Pioneer, seen from Brooklyn Heights Promenade; Governors Island in background.

Friday evening: lower Manhattan seen from Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Sunset reflected from windows of One Liberty Plaza.

Sunset reflected from Empire State Building, seen through Brooklyn Bridge from Pier 1 esplanade, Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web


Touring the Ships at Piers 7 and 8

May 29, 2012

Yesterday your correspondent went to Piers 7 and 8 to view the ships docked there as part of OpSail 2012 and Fleet Week. Docked abreast at the foot of Pier 8 were the topsail schooners Etoile (left) and La Belle Poule, training ships for the French Navy. Behind them was the Armada de Mexico’s tall ship Cuauhtemoc.

Spain’s handsome four masted schooner Juan Sebastian de Elcano was docked on the north side of Pier 7.

Here is a close view of Elcano’s carved and gilded figurehead.

Docked behind Elcano was the Japan Defense Force destroyer Shirane.

Here is a view inside the wheelhouse of the Canadian destroyer Iroquois.

From Iroquois’ bridge, I could see the crowd lined up on Pier 6 to board the ferry to Governors Island.

Here is a back-lit view of Cuauhtemoc, showing her attractively draped sails.

Source: Cobble Hill Blog

From the Web

Arts and Entertainment

Brooklyn Hosts OpSail At Red Hook Marine Terminal Memorial Day Weekend

May 21, 2012

Four tall ships, four foreign navy vessels and two U.S. Coast Guard cutters will be open for public visits at the Red Hook Marine Terminal in Brooklyn, Memorial Day weekend, from Saturday May 26 through Monday May 28. The event is part of New York City’s OpSail celebration.

The week-long citywide OpSail event kicks off at 8:11 a.m. Wednesday May 23, with the Majestic Parade of Ships—17 tall ships and 10 U.S. Navy and foreign military ships—sailing beneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Ships will arrive from Spain, Mexico, France, Japan, Canada, Finland, the U.K. and U.S. ports. More info is below:

Where: Red Hook Marine Terminal, Columbia Street entry at Congress Street
Public transportation is strongly suggested: B61 and B63 to Atlantic Avenue and Columbia St.

When: Saturday, May 26, Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Tall Ships
Juan Sebastian de Elcano, schooner, Spain
Cuauhtemoc, barque, Mexico
Etoile, schooner, France
La Belle Poule, schooner, France

Navy Ships
HMCS Iroquois, destroyer, Canada
JS Shirane, destroyer, Japan
FNS Pohjanmaa, mine layer, Finland
RFA Argus, hospital/cargo, United Kingdom

US Coast Guard Cutters
USCG Seneca
USCG Willow

Source: Cobble Hill Blog

From the Web