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not shocking

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Maritime Sunday returns.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

At the end of the 2013 schedule of NY Harbor tours conducted by Working Harbor Committee, a circumnavigation of Staten Island was offered and I was onboard. We left the familiar confines of the Kill Van Kull and turned left, onto the Arthur Kill.

from wikipedia

The Arthur Kill is a tidal strait separating Staten Island, New York City from mainland New Jersey, USA, and a major navigational channel of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Arthur Kill has also been known as Staten Island Sound.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Unknown country for your humble narrator, great expectations of maritime industrial activities were met when the Barbara McAllister tug appeared of the early November air.

from tugboatinformation.com

Built in 1969, by Halter Marine Services of New Orleans, Louisiana (hull #226) as the T.J. Sheridan for the Sheridan Transportation Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

It was a beautiful, if bracing, trip. Luckily, I had a flask of hip pocket whiskey with me which provided for some warming comfort.

from mcallistertowing.com

McAllister Towing & Transportation is one of the oldest and largest marine towing and transportation companies in the United States. We operate a fleet of more than 70 tugboats and barges in 17 locations along the U.S. East Coast from Portland, ME to San Juan, PR. The fleet of over 100,000 H.P. consists of 24 Z-Drive/ Tractor tugs, 6 Tier II compliant tugs, 20 plus vessels involved in coastal towing and 35 ABS load line classed vessels.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A hearty maritime Sunday shout out to the Barbara McAllister is offered, and to the Working Harbor Committee for another excellent year on the harbor.

also from mcallistertowing.com

McAllister Towing has provided superior tugboat service to New York Harbor since 1864, when Captain James McAllister, great-grandfather to current president Brian A. McAllister, bought his first sail lighter to carry cargo from Manhattan to Brooklyn . Today, McAllister’s tugs provide a wide variety of services to the busy ports of New York and New Jersey , serving the most concentrated and affluent consumer market in the world and handling a significant part of the 16 million tons of cargo that passes through the port every year. In addition to ship docking services and general harbor assist work, New York based tugs are regularly employed in offshore towing along the entire East Coast.

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odd individual

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Maritime Sunday crashes into port again.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The winner of the 2013 Great North River Tugboat Race, McAllister towing’s Resolute was spied while guiding the Atlantic Conveyor Cargo ship from Port Elizabeth Newark to the open harbor along the Kill Van Kull. Resolute was running against the tide, and seemed to using all of her 3,000 horsepower to keep the larger vessel on course.

from tugboatinformation.com

McAllister Towing is one of the oldest and largest marine towing and transportation companies in the United States. They operate a fleet of more than seventy tugboats and twelve barges along the East Coast from Portland, Maine to San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A crew member from Resolute told me that the boat’s characteristic “beard” is referred to as “pudding.” It’s actually made of ropes, and is also referred to as a “beard,” although it is technically a “bow fender.” Most tugs these days use old truck tires for this function, which protects the hulls of both tower and towee at their point of contact. Check out this page at frayedknotarts.com for details on how pudding is made.

from tugboatinformation.com

Built in 1975, by Jakobson Shipyard of Oyster Bay, New York (hull #454) as the Resolute for the Providence Steamboat Company of Providence, Rhode Island. 

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Written by Mitch Waxman

November 3, 2013 at 9:56 am

nervous overstrain

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Maritime Sunday drifts into port again.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A “Ro-Ro,” car carriers like Courageous Ace allow a fleet of newly manufactured vehicles to be driven on and off the ship and unloaded without the usage of Gantry or Transfer Cranes, hence “Roll on, Roll off” or “Ro-Ro.”

Radio call sign IMO 9252204, Courageous Ace is 198m long with a 32m beam and has a gross tonnage of 439. In Americanese, that means its 649.606 feet long and 104.987 feet tall, or around one and three quarter football fields long and just under one quarter of a football field high off the water. Why football fields, like horsepower, remain a measurement we all can reference I will never understand. Comparisons follow.

Courageous Ace is just shy of what the Citigroup building in LIC turned horizontal and set afloat would look like, and is approximately the same size as the Richard J. Daley Center in Chicago (the office building in the Blues Brothers movie). It’s owned and operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines.

from mol.co.jp

MOL takes a proactive stance in reducing the environmental burden of its vessels as we transport environmental-friendly automobiles that offer improved fuel efficiency and lower CO2 emissions. MOL launched the Courageous Ace in 2003, with a bow that is aerodynamically rounded and beveled along the bow line to help reduce wind resistance. This groundbreaking design results in significant energy savings.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Charles D. McAllister was one of two tugs assisting the colossus into its berth in New Jersey. She seemed to be on watch rather than actively towing, perhaps two tugs were required further out, beyond the Narrows. A large vessel like Courageous Ace actually has to deal with cross currents, and its draft requires that it stay in the deep maritime channels maintained by US Army Corps of Engineers and stick to a route proscribed by the Coast Guard.

from mcallistertowing.com

McALLISTER TOWING is one of the oldest and largest family-owned marine towing and transportation companies in the United States. Founded by Captain James McAllister in 1864 with a single sail lighter, the company has served the maritime community continuously, earning a reputation for unsurpassed excellence. Today, the company operates a balanced and extensive fleet of tugs, barges, and ferries in the major ports on the U.S. East Coast and in Puerto Rico. Captain Brian A. McAllister is the President and a great-grandson of the founder, representing the fourth generation of McAllisters at the helm. Five McAllisters of the fifth generation are also employed by the company.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

My guess would be that the Ro-Ro had already finished its journey and slowed down sufficiently that using two tugs to move into the dock would have been overkill.

from tugboatinformation.com

She (Charles D. McAllister) is powered by two Caterpillar 12-D398 Turbo main engines with Lufkin reduction gears at a ratio of 7.14:1 for a rated 1,800 horsepower. She is a twin screw tug, fitted kort nozzles and flanking rudders.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Ellen McAlllister was doing all the work, noodling the giant into berth. Shortly after docking and whatever business Homeland Security and Customs required of the ship was accomplished, hundreds of brand new automobiles and trucks would be driven off the ship and into a lot. Some of these vehicles will be loaded onto trains for transport all up and down the Northeast, others onto trucks for more localized delivery. The Ellen McAllister was profiled recently in the NY Times, linked to below.

from nytimes.com

For two or three or four weeks at a time, the men — and a few women — of this tugboat business live in constant sight of the flashing red light atop the Empire State Building and 1 World Trade Center’s red-and-white sparkle, but they rarely, if ever, set foot in Manhattan. Most of their exposure to the city occurs during the occasional walk from their Staten Island port to the corner store, where they buy lottery tickets.

inaccessible places

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Tugboats, three different ways.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Maritime Sunday once more crashes into port, and this week, its just a few photos and not a lot of talk. Witness the Miriam Moran on the Kill Van Kull.

from tugboatinformation.com

Built in 1979, by McDermott Shipyard of Morgan City, Louisiana (hull #253) as the Miriam Moran for the Moran Towing Company of New York, New York.

She is a twin screw tug rated at 3,000 horsepower.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

McAllister Girls passing by the Staten Island Yankees stadium, heading out into the larger harbor from the KVK.

from mcallistertowing.com

McALLISTER TOWING is one of the oldest and largest family-owned marine towing and transportation companies in the United States. Founded by Captain James McAllister in 1864 with a single sail lighter, the company has served the maritime community continuously, earning a reputation for unsurpassed excellence. Today, the company operates a balanced and extensive fleet of tugs, barges, and ferries in the major ports on the U.S. East Coast and in Puerto Rico. Captain Brian A. McAllister is the President and a great-grandson of the founder, representing the fourth generation of McAllisters at the helm. Five McAllisters of the fifth generation are also employed by the company.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This tug, named Bear, is a bit of a mystery. It was tiny, by tug standards, not much bigger than a workboat. The usual sources turned up nothing on it, and I don’t recognize the colorway or logo. Oddly, there was no radio call sign number on it that I could see. Anybody know anything about the tug Bear?

from thefreedictionary.com

mys·ter·y 1 (mst-r)

n. pl. mys·ter·ies

  1. One that is not fully understood or that baffles or eludes the understanding; an enigma: How he got in is a mystery.
  2. One whose identity is unknown and who arouses curiosity: The woman in the photograph is a mystery.
  3. A mysterious character or quality: a landscape with mystery and charm.

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Want to see something cool? Summer 2013 Walking Tours-

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

August 11, 2013 at 7:30 am

feverish digging

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Today’s Maritime Sunday post, from Port Newark.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The 2013 Working Harbor Schedule is underway, and while attending one of Captain Doswell’s intriguing “Beyond Sandy” Hidden Harbor tours, the Elizabeth McAllister emerged from the rain and mist. The evening was distinguished by the difficult atmospheric conditions, which obliterated the lighting effects of the setting of the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself in the western sky.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The weather was actually ridiculous, with heavy fog and rain lashing through it, accompanying unseasonably low temperatures. Hardship for land lubbers, that is, because NY Harbor keeps working no matter what nature throws at it. Sailors are used to this sort of thing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Elizabeth McAllister was launched the same yeur that I was, in 1967, but unlike me- she has changed her name a few times. The always brilliant tugboatinformation.com site has a great work up on her that details her birth, a 1988 calamity, and chronicles the tugs career.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The tug was headed over to the RORO cargo ship Freedom Ace to assist the larger vessel’s transit through the narrow Kill Van Kull. The Maritime Sunday shout out this week is sent to the cast and crew of Elizabeth McAllister, and mention should be made that if you too would like to see scenes like this one- get onboard with the Working Harbor Committee.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Want to see something cool? June 2013 Walking Tours-

The Poison Cauldron- Saturday, June 15, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Atlas Obscura, tickets now on sale.

Kill Van Kull- Saturday, June 22, 2013
Staten Island walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Working Harbor Committee, tickets now on sale.

The Insalubrious Valley- Saturday, June 29, 2013
Newtown Creek walking tour with Mitch Waxman and Newtown Creek Alliance, tickets now on sale.

later developments

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Just a quick one for Maritime Sunday this week, of the Marjorie B. McAllister tug steaming out of the Kill Van Kull. Iconic backgrounds notwithstanding, this is a pretty cool little boat, and deserving of a hearty “Hi.”

unwittingly felt

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

Laura K. Moran, pictured above, seems to be frozen in place despite the fact that she’s moving at a pretty good clip as evinced by the bow wake she’s kicking up. What’s happening is an interesting visual trick, something which I was clued into back in my comics artist days by the legend who was Will Eisner.

Eisner was a master thinker of visual storytelling, and knew every trick in the book, it was honor to be in the same room with him.

One of his imparted aphorisms was that if something was intended to describe speed, it needed to “follow the eye”.

from wikipedia

William Erwin “Will” Eisner (March 6, 1917 – January 3, 2005) was an American comic writer, artist and entrepreneur. He is considered one of the most important contributors to the development of the medium and is known for the cartooning studio he founded; for his highly influential series The Spirit; for his use of comics as an instructional medium; for his leading role in establishing the graphic novel as a form of literature with his book A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories.

The comics community paid tribute to Eisner by creating the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, more commonly known as “the Eisners”, to recognize achievements each year in the comics medium. Eisner enthusiastically participated in the awards ceremony, congratulating each recipient. In 1987, with Carl Barks and Jack Kirby, he was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Justine McAllister, also moving “to the left” in the shot above similarly seems frozen, although she too is moving at a high rate of speed.

Here’s why.

For those of us who learned to read in a “left to right” pattern, our brains are wired to perceive anything moving in the inverse direction as either slowed down or as being in a static pose. In comic books, you’ll notice that Superman (for example) seems to be moving faster if he leaves the panel or frame to the right.

Televised sports coverage places the camera to the left of the action, which makes it appear that the fastball pitch is really moving. Those whose language training occurred in a right to left system have the opposite perception- for instance those who read the Japanese language natively would see these tugs as speeding along.

from wikipedia

Scripts are also graphically characterized by the direction in which they are written. Egyptian hieroglyphs were written either left to right or right to left, with the animal and human glyphs turned to face the beginning of the line. The early alphabet could be written in multiple directions,[10] horizontally (left-to-right or right-to-left) or vertically (up or down). It was commonly written boustrophedonically: starting in one (horizontal) direction, then turning at the end of the line and reversing direction.

The Greek alphabet and its successors settled on a left-to-right pattern, from the top to the bottom of the page. Other scripts, such as Arabic and Hebrew, came to be written right-to-left. Scripts that incorporate Chinese characters have traditionally been written vertically (top-to-bottom), from the right to the left of the page, but nowadays are frequently written left-to-right, top-to-bottom, due to Western influence, a growing need to accommodate terms in the Latin script, and technical limitations in popular electronic document formats. The Uighur alphabet and its descendants are unique in being written top-to-bottom, left-to-right; this direction originated from an ancestral Semitic direction by rotating the page 90° counter-clockwise to conform to the appearance of vertical Chinese writing. Several scripts used in the Philippines and Indonesia, such as Hanunó’o, are traditionally written with lines moving away from the writer, from bottom to top, but are read horizontally left to right.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Maurania 3, also presented as an example, is standing still in the shot above- yet appears to be sauntering along the Hudson River (despite the visual indication of the bow wake). Not to get all Oliver Sachs here, but this visual language has always fascinated me. Sachs makes a cogent argument that whereas there is a certain chromatic frequency which is something which we can all agree on as being the color red, each individual perceives their own interpretation of the color based on brain wiring and cultural training. This is something very interesting to me.

This highly technical and quite neurological Maritime Sunday edition of the Newtown Pentacle will now be exiting the frame to the right.

Big announcements this week- more walking tours and other ways for your humble narrator to annoy you in person are coming.

from wikipedia

Oliver Wolf Sacks, CBE (born 9 July 1933, London, England), is a British biologist, neurologist, writer, and amateur chemist who has spent the major portion of his career in the United States. He lives in New York City, and was professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University and held the position of “Columbia Artist”. He previously spent many years on the clinical faculty of Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In September, 2012, Dr. Sacks was appointed clinical professor of neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center, with support from The Gatsby Charitable Foundation. He is also holds the position of visiting professor at the UK’s University of Warwick.

Sacks is the author of numerous bestselling books, including several collections of case studies of people with neurological disorders. His 1973 book Awakenings was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film of the same name in 1990 starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He, and his book Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, were the subject of “Musical Minds”, an episode of the PBS series Nova.

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