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unseen fingers

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

We only have nineteen days left until the end of the world on December 21 when the Mayan Calendar’s 13th b’ak’tun ends, and if you’ve got apocalypse problems, the FDNY Fireboat Three Forty Three is the sort of tool you will need to make it through the storm. I’ve talked a bit about this ship in the past, in the posts “growing ferocity” and “betwixt the horns“.

In another posting describing another model of Fireboat- “The Bravest”, a lecture conducted by an FDNY Harbor Unit commander- Chief James Dalton of the Marine 6 unit- which I had attended was mentioned.

Information passed on in this weeks Maritime Sunday posting is gleaned from the copious hand written notes I scribbled down during that lecture. Any errors will be due to my own confabulation of transmitted fact.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Three Forty Three is 140 feet long, and built for speed. Its flared bow allows it to cut through waves, and has a relationship to the engineering of the past, present, and future models of the Staten Island Ferry- height wise. The Marine Unit works with and utilizes land based fire companies to combat fires, and the boat is designed to accommodate and transport as many as thirty lubbers. The bulkhead is designed to flood and drain itself, which allows the boat to adjust its vertical height.

As seen in the shot above, however, it’s the monitors which amaze.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Monitor is what you call the high pressure water hose nozzle on a fireboat, and Three Forty Three has six. 5,200 gallons per minute, the main one of the fore is capable of 17,500 gpm alone. The monitors at the corners of the boat also serve as a self protection system, and operate as foggers to defeat radiant heat. In addition to water, they can also access and deploy two 1,600 tanks of fire retardant foam. There are also four manifolds which allow conventional fire hoses to be attached to the pumps, and connections are found for FDNY standard three inch and NJ five and twelve inch equipment.

Everything described is remote controlled from the hermetic wheel house.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Below deck is an interagency municipal command center connected to an esoteric series of sensors and electronic systems. Situational awareness is the purpose of a lot of what happens on the lower deck. There is also the engine room, which outputs an inconceivable 8,000 HP to either the pumps or the four sixty inch variable pitch propellers which provide motive actuation. There is also a crane with a man basket and a monitor, and a 17 foot launch for rescues. Additionally, there are capstans which can be used for towing or anchoring at various locations onboard.

A hearty, and awe stricken, Maritime Sunday shout out is sent to the crew of the Three Forty Three, who will surely ride out the Mayan Apocalypse and probably end up saving the world.

Written by Mitch Waxman

December 2, 2012 at 12:15 am

warnings and prophecies

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2011’s Greatest Hits:

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In January of 2011, while walking along in knee deep snow, your humble narrator happened across this enigmatic and somehow familiar item sitting in a drift at the NYC S.E.M./Signals Street Light Yard of the DOT at 37th avenue near the Sunnyside and Astoria border. It looked familiar to me, but I didn’t recognize it for what it was until sharp eyed reader TJ Connick suggested that this might be the long missing Light Stanchion which once adorned the Queensboro Bridge’s Manhattan landing.

These two posts: “an odd impulse“, and “wisdom of crowds” discuss the discovery and identification in some detail.

Some good news about this iconic piece of Queens history will be forthcoming, but I’ve been asked to keep it quiet for the moment.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In February of 2011, “Vapour Soaked” presented a startling concurrence of comparitive detail for the discerning viewer, when the shot above was presented in contrast with a 1920’s shot from The Newtown Creek industrial district of New York City By Merchants’ Association of New York. Industrial Bureau, 1921″, (courtesy Google Books).

Admittedly, not quite as earth shaking as January’s news, but cool nevertheless. I really like these “now and then” shots, expect more of the same to come your way in the future.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In March of 2011, “first, Calvary” discussed the epic (for me) quest to find a proverbial “needle in a haystack” within First Calvary Cemetery- the grave of its very first interment, an Irish woman named Esther Ennis who died in 1848. I have spent an enormous amount of time searching for this spot, where Dagger John Hughes first consecrated the soil of Newtown.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In April of 2011, the world lost one of its best people and my official “partner in crime”, Bernard Ente.

He was ill for awhile, but asked me to keep the severity of things quiet. He passed in the beginning of April, and one of the last requests he made of me (along with “taking care” of certain people) was to continue what he had started along the Newtown Creek and all around NY Harbor.

This was when I had to step forward, up my game, and attempt to fill a pair of gargantuan boots. Frankly, I’m not even half of who he was, but I’m trying. That’s when I officially stepped forward and began introducing myself as a representative of Newtown Creek Alliance, and joined the Working Harbor Committee- two organizations which Bernie was committed to. I’m still trying to wrap my head around his loss.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In May of 2011, while attempting to come to terms with my new roles in both organizations, it was decided that a fitting tribute to our fallen comrade would be the continuance of his annual “Newtown Creek Cruises” and the date of May 21 was set for the event. An incredible learning experience, the success of the voyage would not have been possible without the tutelage of WHC’s John Doswell and Meg Black, NCA’s Katie Schmid, or especially the aid of “Our Lady of the Pentacle” and the Newtown Pentacle’s stalwart far eastern correspondent: Armstrong.

Funny moments from during this period included the question “Whom do you call to get a drawbridge in NYC to open for you?”.

During this time, I also became involved with Forgotten-NY’s Kevin Walsh and Greater Astoria Historical Society’s Richard Melnick and their ambitious schedule of historical tours.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In June of 2011, the earliest Newtown Creek Chemical Factory which I’ve been able to find in the historical record, so far, was explored in the post “lined with sorrow“- describing “the Bushwick Chemical Works of M. Kalbfleisch & Sons”.

Additionally, my “Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show” was presented to a sold out and standing room only crowd at the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

This was also the beginning of a period which has persisted all year- in which my efforts of behalf of the various organizations and political causes which I’m advocating for had reduced my output to a mere 15 or fewer postings a month.

All attempts are underway to remedy this situation in 2012, and apologies are offered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In July of 2011, another Newtown Creek boat tour was conducted, this time for the Metropolitan Water Alliance’s “City of Water Day”. The “Newtown Creek Magic Lantern Show” was also performed at the Admiral’s House for a packed room.

Additionally, my so called “Grand Walk” was presented in six postings. This was an attempt to follow a 19th century journey from the Bloody Sixth Ward, Manhattan’s notorious Five Points District, to Calvary Cemetery in Queens. Once, this would have been a straightforward endeavor involving minimal connections of Trolley and Ferry, but today one just has to walk. These were certainly not terribly popular posts, but are noteworthy for the hidden and occluded horde of forgotten New York history which they carry.

From the last of these posts, titled “suitable apparatus“- “As the redolent cargo of my camera card revealed- this “Grand Walk”, a panic induced marathon which carried your humble narrator across the East River from St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan into Williamsburg and up Grand Street to Maspeth and the baroque intrigues of the Newtown Creek- wound down into it’s final steps on Laurel Hill Blvd.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In August of 2011, “the dark moor” presented intriguing aerial views of the Newtown Creek Watershed, and “sinister exultation” shared the incredible sight of an Amtrak train on fire at the Hunters Point Avenue station in Long Island City. “revel and chaff” explored the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in LIC’s Zone A, and an extraordinary small boat journey around Dutch Kills was detailed in: “ponderous and forbidding“, “ethereal character“, “pillars and niches“, and “another aperture“.

This was an incredible month.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In September of 2011, a posting called “uncommented masonry” offered this declaration:

” By 1915, there approximately 40,000 automotive trucks plying the streets of New York City.

What’s surprising is that 25% of them were electric.

Lords and ladies of Newtown, I present to you the last mortal remains of the General Electric Vehicle Company, 30-28 Starr Avenue, Long Island City- manufacturer of a substantial number of those electrical trucks.”

I’m particularly fond of this post, as this was a wholly forgotten moment of Newtown Creek and industrial history which I was able to reveal. Organically born, it was discovered in the course of other research, and I believed at the time that it was going to be the biggest story that I would present all year about Blissville.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In October of 2011, a trio of Newtown Creek Tours (two public and one for educators) were accomplished. The public tours were full to capacity, as were the Open House New York tours I conducted on the 15th and 16th of that Month. Also, the Metropolitan Water Alliance invited me to photograph their “Parade of Boats” on October 11th, and I got the shot below of the FDNY Fireboat 343.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In November of 2011, a visit to Lovecraft Country in Brooklyn was described in “frightful pull“, and “vague stones and symbols” came pretty close to answering certain mysteries associated with the sky flung Miller Building found at the foot of the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge in Brooklyn.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A December 2011 post titled “An Oil spill… in Queens” broke the news that petroleum products are seeping out of the bulkheads of Newtown Creek, this time along the Northern shoreline, which lies in the Queens neighborhood of Blissville.

Rest assured that your Newtown Pentacle is on top of the story of “the Blissville Oil Spill”, lords and ladies of Newtown, and will bring you breaking news as it develops in 2012.

infinitely narrow

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

The shot above originated just last week at the Metropolitan Water Aliiance’s gala “Heroes of the Harbor” event. MWA choreographs a “parade of boats” on the Hudson River at sunset, and this year the coup de grace of the parade was the presence of the brand new “343” fireboat. Luckily for me, it maintained a static position on the river while firing its water cannons, and I was able to shoot this neat long exposure image of the FDNY’s new flagship.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Those stalwart stewards of the public trust at the United States Environmental Protection Agency contacted me the other day and asked that I might disseminate news of two upcoming “Public Information Sessions” which will be conducted in Brooklyn and Queens next week. For more information on specifics, or for more information about the event, check out the official flyer here. I will definitely be attending the Brooklyn event, oddly enough, but scheduled obligation might preclude me from visiting the famed Degnon Terminal (LaGuardia) one.

The dates, locations, and times- as forwarded are:

Tuesday, October 25

St. Nicks Alliance  2 Kingsland Avenue

Arts@Renaissance at the Garden Level, 2:00 to 4:00 pm and 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Thursday, October 27

LaGuardia Community College

31-10 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City

Conference Room E-500, 2:00 to 4:00 pm and 7:00 to 9:00 pm

betwixt the horns

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Call me paranoid, but the Fireboat Three Forty Three seems to be following me around. Everywhere I go these days, there it is. Has anyone ever been stalked by a crewed ship on its shakedown cruise?

Perhaps.

from wikipedia

140-foot, 500-ton, $27 million dollar boat will be the country’s largest fireboat with a maximum speed of 18 knots. The Three Forty Three will provide the FDNY with the latest technology available for Marine vessels, including the capability of pumping 50,000 gallons of water per minute; nearly 30,000 gallons more than its predecessor. The need for this increased pumping capacity was graphically displayed as FDNY’s existing fireboats supplied the only water available for many days after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. However, the technological advances of these new boats do not end there. The boat’s original design by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C. will catapult FDNY’s Marine Division into the 21st century and beyond.

Because of the very real threat of additional terrorist attacks after 9/11, the boats will also be capable of protecting firefighters from Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear agents (CBRN). While performing in any of these hostile environments, the crew will be protected in a pressurized area that will also have its air supply filtered by special charcoal and HEPA filters. Assistance on the design of the CBRN system was provided by engineers from the U.S. military’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and Naval Sea Systems Command. United States Navy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Day two of a particularly interesting summer cold, and as you’re reading this (assuming it’s daylight) your humble narrator is most likely aboard a Circle Line and talking on the microphone describing the sights and hidden meanings of NY Harbor to a group of 700 Octa, Nona, and Centenarians.

Such odd moments in life are, of course, owed to the Working Harbor Committee and the Borough President of Manhattan, who makes money available for his constituents in nursing homes to “get out for a day”.

from mbpo.org

Scott M. Stringer, a native New Yorker, is the 26th Manhattan Borough President.

Since taking office at the start of 2006, he has dedicated himself to making Manhattan more affordable, livable…and breathable – preserving the sense of neighborhood for the 1.6 million residents of what is best known as a world capital of culture and commerce.

The foundation for much of the borough president’s work is the change he’s brought to Manhattan’s community boards. Energizing these formal institutions of neighborhood democracy was a top priority of Stringer’s upon becoming borough president. A new merit selection process, combined with an infusion of badly needed resources – such as dedicating to each board a graduate student from the city’s architecture and planning schools – has served to strengthen the voice of Manhattan’s neighborhoods in debates over city planning.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was actually a recent Working Harbor trip, this time a program for kids in which representatives of certain maritime organizations like Coast Guard and Port Authority commune with a group of “city kids” onboard a boat, which had brought me to the Hudson on the day these shots were taken. The goal is to introduce to them the idea of a career on the harbor, something not often considered in the wilds of central Brooklyn or Queens.

Another maritime engagement would require me to be at South Street Seaport in the evening, and I had a few hours to kill so I decided to walk from 42nd street to South Street the long way, around the Battery.

from wikipedia

Battery Park is a 25-acre (10 hectare) public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City, facing New York Harbor. The Battery is named for artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city’s early years in order to protect the settlement behind them. At the north end of the park is Castle Clinton, the often re-purposed last remnant of the defensive works that inspired the name of the park; Pier A, formerly a fireboat station; and Hope Garden, a memorial to AIDS victims. At the other end is Battery Gardens restaurant, next to the United States Coast Guard Battery Building. Along the waterfront, ferries depart for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and there is also a New York Water Taxi stop. The park is also the site of the East Coast Memorial which commemorates U.S. servicemen who died in coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean during World War II, and several other memorials.

To the northwest of the park lies Battery Park City, a planned community built on landfill in the 1970s and 80s, which includes Robert F. Wagner Park and the Battery Park City Promenade. Together with Hudson River Park, a system of greenspaces, bikeways and promenades now extend up the Hudson shoreline. A bikeway might be built through the park that will connect the Hudson River and East River parts of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. Across State Street to the northeast stands the old U.S. Customs House, now used as a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian and the district U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Peter Minuit Plaza abuts the southeast end of the park, directly in front of the South Ferry Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

In planning my route, however, I forgot to factor in the Freedom Tower and the 911 site, which is something I normally avoid like the plague. As a rule, I stay away from this subject, don’t discuss my dead friends who were Port Authority cops or Fire Fighters, and don’t engage in conversational speculation about the event with either the “Truthers” or the conspiracists.

On the other hand, I think that naming a Fireboat “Three Forty Three” is extremely appropriate while the term “Freedom Tower” is just silly and smacks of bad comic book writing.

from wikipedia

One World Trade Center (1 World Trade Center), more simply known as 1 WTC and formerly known as the Freedom Tower, is the lead building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan in New York City. The tower will be located in the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site, and will occupy the location where the original 8-story 6 World Trade Center once stood. The north side of the tower runs between the intersection of Vesey and West streets on the northwest and the intersection of Vesey and Washington streets on the northeast, with the site of the original North Tower/1 WTC offset to the southeast. Construction on below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the building began on April 27, 2006. On March 30, 2009, the Port Authority confirmed that the building will be known by its legal name of ‘One World Trade Center’, rather than the colloquial name ‘Freedom Tower’. Upon completion, One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the United States, standing at a height of 1,776 feet (541.3 m), and among the tallest buildings in the world.  It will be taller than the Empire State Building, and will be completed by the beginning of 2014.

growing ferocity

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Witness the most technologically advanced fire fighting vessel on earth, the FDNY’s newest, known to commoner and king alike as the “Three Forty Three”. An enigmatic and photogenic craft, it’s still shaking out it’s bugs in the harbor of New York, and is regularly observed by a humble narrator. This ship (which is a pregnant point which will be discussed in a paragraph below) and it’s capabilities as reported exist on the edge of what would have been called science fiction 10 years ago, and exhibits the kind of cutting edge technology which the modern FDNY’s mission calls for.

Click here to witness the initial launch of the craft at the Marine 1 homepage.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The question of whether a vessel is considered a boat or a ship is a bit contentious. Technical descriptions by maritime experts always use the mantra that a ship can carry and launch a boat, which defines what a “ship” is and what a “boat” isn’t. My buddy John Doswell of the Working Harbor Committee however, asks “have you ever heard of a fireship?”, and given his insider status regarding the retired John J. Harvey Fireboat and general maritime expertise one must lend certain shrift to his assertion.

Although, to me, the 343 is a $27 million vessel which can launch another craft as part of it’s onboard arsenal and design, so I have some difficulty referring to it as a boat.

from wikipedia

140-foot, 500-ton, $27 million dollar boat will be the country’s largest fireboat with a maximum speed of 18 knots. The Three Forty Three will provide the FDNY with the latest technology available for Marine vessels, including the capability of pumping 50,000 gallons of water per minute; nearly 30,000 gallons more than its predecessor. The need for this increased pumping capacity was graphically displayed as FDNY’s existing fireboats supplied the only water available for many days after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. However, the technological advances of these new boats do not end there. The boat’s original design by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C. will catapult FDNY’s Marine Division into the 21st century and beyond.

Because of the very real threat of additional terrorist attacks after 9/11, the boats will also be capable of protecting firefighters from Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear agents (CBRN). While performing in any of these hostile environments, the crew will be protected in a pressurized area that will also have its air supply filtered by special charcoal and HEPA filters. Assistance on the design of the CBRN system was provided by engineers from the U.S. military’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and Naval Sea Systems Command. United States Navy.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A sister vessel, the Firefighter 2, follows the same design principals as 343 although I haven’t managed to get any shots of it yet. Both will allow fire commanders to place as many as 50,000 gallons of water a minute in a gps guided arc onto a conflagration in Manhattan or on the harbor. Veiled references to parabolic calculations of the reach of this torrent have suggested to your humble narrator that it can be expected to reach further inland than any Fireboat in memory. Additionally, a forward ballast tank allows these ships to match the deck level of other vessels, allowing egress to the Staten Island Ferry amongst other civilian watercraft during emergencies.

from nycfireboat.com

  • Length, overall = 140′-0″ (excluding fenders)
  • Length, waterline = 130’–0″
  • Beam, moulded = 36’–0″
  • Depth, moulded = 16’–0″ (midship, deck edge)
  • Draft (maximum) = 9’–0″
  • Air draft design loaded waterline to highest point = 39’–0″ (maximum)
  • Main Engines = MTU 4×2000 HP- total = 8,000 HP
  • Propellers and Reduction Gears = Hundested 4 X Variable Pitch Propellers
  • Fuel oil = 6,850 US gallons (trial condition), = 9,350 US gallons (maximum capacity)
  • Fresh water capacity = 1,000 US gallons
  • Foam concentrate = 3,600 US gallons (total)
  • Sewage holding tank = 100 US gallons
  • Oily water = 120 US gallons
  • Sludge = 60 US gallons
  • Decon wastewater tank = 100 US gallons
  • Calm water trial speed – 20 mph at fully loaded condition operating at 100% vessel power rating (8,000 hp) and 15% sea margin.
  • Design seastate – 6′ significant wave height
  • Pumping capacity – 20,000 gpm on two engines as fire-fighting ship and 50,000 gpm on four engines as pumping station
  • Monitor throw – 700′ from midships
  • Operating crew – seven (7)
  • Fire-fighters – 27 in transit

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

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