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habitual vacancy

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Maritime Monday? What’s with me these days?

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Over at my Brownstoner column today, an article detailing a boat trip up Newtown Creek (called “my beloved Creek“) which brought members of the Newtown Creek CAG to the waterway on the 11th of July is described.

It’s a pretty long read, and describes a site visit and boat excursion which was initiated by the “Newtown Creek Group” who are the “Potentially Responsible Parties” named by the Federal EPA in the Superfund listing of Newtown Creek. While we were out on the boat, the Thomas D. Witte tug from Donjon towing happened along.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Likely coming from SimsMetal, the tug was engaged in guiding two barges out of Newtown Creek towards the East River. Maritime industrial usage of the Creek wasn’t really a part of the discussion while we were onboard our boat. The PRP and EPA’s contractor, Anchor QEA, had sent out representatives and scientific staff to inform and instruct about their efforts, and the extensive schedule of scientific analyses which they’ve been engaged in for the last few years.

They also wanted to discuss the future.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Quoting from the Brownstoner piece -

“Once upon a time, the industrial Newtown Creek represented nearly two million jobs spread across its vast watershed, and it carried a greater tonnage of cargo than the entire Mississippi River. It’s 3.8 miles long, providing the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, and sits at the dead bang center of New York City.

What do you want to see happen here on Newtown Creek? The Federal EPA, the City of New York, even the so called “Potentially Responsible Parties” or Newtown Creek Group are requesting your input.  What do you say, Maspeth – and Blissville – and Ridgewood – and Sunnyside – and LIC?”

The Newtown Creek CAG summer meeting will be coming up soon.

 

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are two Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Saturday, July 26th, The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek
With Atlas Obscura, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, July 27th, Glittering Realms
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

amusing incidents

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Witnessed on the Kill Van Kull.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Back in April, your Newtown Pentacle displayed shots of and discussed the estimable USS Slater’s arrival at the Caddell Dry Dock on the Staten Island side of the Kill Van Kull. Your humble narrator was onboard the recent Working Harbor Newark Bay excursion when the Slater was encountered again.

from wikipedia

USS Slater (DE-766) is a Cannon-class destroyer escort that served in the United States Navy and later in the Hellenic (Greek) Navy. The ship was named for Frank O. Slater of Alabama, a sailor killed on the USS San Francisco (CA-38) during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry in action. The USS Slater is now a museum ship on the Hudson River in Albany, New York, the only one of its kind afloat in the United States. 

- photo by Mitch Waxman

From the look of it, the ship was being repainted by one guy, which is a ridiculous notion. You can’t paint a Navy Destroyer, retired or not, with just one brush. I’d insist on using a roller, at least.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My understanding is that Slater will have returned to the water by the time you’re reading this, although I’m unsure of when her vacation in the City will be over and she returns to duty in Albany. One cannot imagine how expensive her trip to the spa has been, but Staten Island is noted for its rejuvenating qualities, so it’s probably money well spent.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Paul Andrew, a tug operated by the DonJon towing concern (which has also been mentioned before at this, your Newtown Pentacle), slid past the Statue of Liberty, which was a shot I couldn’t resist capturing or presenting here – at your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

There are three Newtown Creek walking tours coming up.

Sunday, June 22nd, America’s Workshop
A FREE tour, courtesy of Green Shores NYC, click here for rsvp info

Saturday, June 28th, The Poison Cauldron
With Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Sunday, June 29th, The Insalubrious Valley
With Brooklyn Brainery, lunch included, click here for tickets and more info.

uncannily glowing

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Dredging on Newtown Creek in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A few weeks ago, the start of the dredging project being conducted by NYC DEP upon Newtown Creek was described. Today’s shots depict the project nearby the Creek’s intersection with the East River.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This equipment is owned and operated by the DonJon towing company. Their contract requires them to open up a maritime channel stretching from East River back to the Whale Creek tributary adjoining the sewer plant in Greenpoint.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Surprisingly, even to the employees of DEP, there have been few issues with odors released during the project. Goes to show that DonJon knows how to accomplish this sort of operation in a crowded urban setting, and a pat on the back should be offered to their engineers.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The tugs and other equipment are still present on the Creek, and I’ve been told that their mission at the moment is to lay a bed of sand and clean fill down into the channel they’ve carved out of the black mayonnaise.

There are two public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one that walks the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 28, 2014 at 10:12 am

second to nothing

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Dredging operations on the Newtown Creek are underway.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

After a couple of false starts and delayed beginnings, DonJon Towing is finally getting busy over on my beloved Creek. The dredging project is designed to provide a maritime channel for a new class of DEP Sludge Boats (see this Newtown Pentacle post from back in January of this year for details on the new boats) which will use a dock on Whale Creek, rather than the current East river facility, to accept the processed material produced by the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant in Greenpoint.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

These shots were gathered yesterday, at Whale Creek – a Brooklyn side tributary of Newtown Creek which the sewer plant wraps around.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, due to a busy work schedule and weather issues, I only managed to get there late in the afternoon and missed the action. This little push boat was busily managing the barges into a docking position, however.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The dredging rig was the Delaware Bay, which is a 225 foot long monster commissioned in 2008, and outfitted with a 123 foot long boom and crane.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the actual dredging bucket, which is outfitted with some sort of esoteric gasket system. I’ve never felt pity for a big steel machine before, but… Yuck… this is Newtown Creek.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The whole operation is meant to continue on for about six weeks. The initial phase of it, here on Whale Creek, will only be operating 12 hours a day, but once they work their way out onto the main body of the Creek – probably Tuesday of next week, they will go 24/7.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This little Survey boat was buzzing about, and I’m told it carried a battery of sonar equipment which allowed visualization of the dredging work in real time. There’s a lot of stuff down there, pipelines and cables and such, for the DonJon crews to watch out for.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A DEP contractor was on hand performing air quality tests and odor control functions. This was his little weather station.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Also part of this contractors kit was a Hydrogen Sulfide monitor, which measures concentrations of the compound released from the underwater sediments during the dredge process.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It’s critical, once the operation moves out of Whale Creek and heads west towards the more populated sections of the Creek in Greenpoint and Hunters Point, that you call 311 if you’re being affected by smells or noise. Also, I’ve been told that the NCWWTP Nature Walk will be closed for the weekend, in the name of safety.

If you smell something, say something, and call 311.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

ragged purple

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My all time favorite tugboat shot.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This was shot on November 17, 2010.

It’s a memorable date, as a fellow named Andrew Cuomo came to Newtown Creek to announce the formal settlement between NYS and ExxonMobil, concerning the Greenpoint oil spill. The Brian Nicholas entered the Creek at an optimal moment, lighting wise.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

something coming

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Maritime Sunday returns.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Given that its Thanksgiving weekend, Maritime Sunday must have some other corporate sponsored name. Black Friday was a day or two ago, Cyber Monday is tomorrow. If the Sunday after Thanksgiving doesn’t have some officially sanctioned nomenclature, I suggest “Cannibal Holocaust Sunday.”

Today’s shot is another from the archives, depicting DonJon’s Meaghan Ann tug maneuvering into the towing position indicated for a fuel tanker, and was captured along the reliable Kill Van Kull. A happy and a healthy Cannibal Holocaust Sunday is offered accordingly.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

blind alleys

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You never know what might float by.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, while onboard the Staten Island Ferry, I noticed the gargantuan DonJon tug Atlantic Salvor towing an interesting rig. Atlantic Salvor is a 151 foot long “ocean going anchor handling tugboat” whose engines operate at about 6,480 HP. The rig she’s towing is a crane barge, which is called “Newark Bay.”

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The crane barge is being towed in an “on the hip” fashion. This means that the starboard side of the tug is tied off to the port side of the barge at roughly the center mass point of the tug. Your humble narrator has little understanding of why one chooses the various methods of attachment that are available to tug captains, but I’m sure there is some utterly prosaic reason governing the choice.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

What caught my interest wasn’t really the crane barge, a bit of kit we will be seeing a lot of on Newtown Creek in the coming years as the Kosciuszko Bridge rebuild kicks into gear, instead it was the smaller towing vessel (which might be a work boat, just to be nit picky) which was being towed along with the crane.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The vast majority of towing observed in the harbor is fuel, garbage, or cargo related. You’ll notice the occasional crane or dredge barge, of course, but they are witnessed with far less frequency. Atlantic Salvor was built in 1977 and is operated by DonJon towing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, August 10, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

13 Steps around Dutch Kills- Saturday, August 17, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 23, 2013 at 7:00 am

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