The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Working Harbor Committee

impelled to

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As promised, shots from the Tug race in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last Sunday, the Working Harbor Committee organized this years iteration of the Great North River Tug Race and Competition. A multi pronged assault on the brain’s fun center, it starts with a race that begins at the 79th creek boat basin on the Hudson River. The finish line is at 42nd street, and this year the Robert McAllister tug won. Someday, I’d like to win something, but the only thing I’ve ever been good at winning is being a good loser.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The fun center of the brain is something which I’m fairly sure has withered away within my own skull, likely due to some unheralded ischemic event. Suspecting that my fun center has been “stroked out” of operation, it’s no surprise that the dull and quite existential horrors which typify my days were only briefly punctured by the “tug of war” nose to nose pushing competition segment of the event. It’s all so depressing.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Once, this sort of thing would have caused my mouth to form into a horrible gap toothed shape which could be roughly interpreted by others as being a smile. Now, there is only a flat affect and an abundance of dull eyed staring, I’m afraid. At least I can still work the camera, but can’t seem to distinguish the difference between sweet and sour tastes anymore. It takes sewerage or burning plastic for me to take notice of smell or taste these days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The part of the Tug Race which I’ve always loved photographing, if that’s an emotion I can still experience, is the line toss. The various tugs form a queue and then hurtle at the pier, whereupon they hurl a rope at a bollard. The goal is to loop the rope onto the bollard and the throwers are rated for time and accuracy. I wish I could tell you who won, but a group of teenagers scared me so I headed home and locked my doors securely, back in Astoria where I belong.

The entire race set can be viewed at this flickr page.

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This weekend-

Saturday, September 6th, The Insalubrious Valley of the the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm

fresh surprise

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Megalopolis harbor, in today’s post.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Last Saturday, a welcome return to the bosom of the Working Harbor Committee was enjoyed. WHC’s programming this year has occurred on Saturdays, when I’ve largely been busy with my own Newtown Creek and Kill Van Kull tours, and accordingly I’ve missed most of the 2014 schedule. Luckily, I got onboard the Port Elizabeth Newark Bay trip which occurred onboard a Circle Line vessel. Even luckier, I wasn’t asked to speak on the mike, so I stuck my headphones in and turned up the heavy metal and started shooting.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The headphones weren’t deployed because I didn’t want to pay attention to the three speakers onboard – Ed Kelly, Gordon Cooper, and Capt. Maggie Flanagan – I did, but one needed to tune out distraction. Look up, down, all around… shoot everything… record, reveal, recall. This is something truly enjoyed by one such as myself, and I wasn’t seeking companionship on this trip – which is something I enjoy less and less these days.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

There’s a couple of WHC trips still on the schedule for this year – a circumnavigation of Staten Island and an exploration of Gowanus Bay, I believe. Tomorrow, I’ll have some shots from last Sunday’s WHC event – the Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition – for you.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Walking Tour this weekend-

Saturday, September 6th, The Insalubrious Valley of the the Newtown Creek
Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura, click here for tickets and more info.

Written by Mitch Waxman

September 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

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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donkeys outlined

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Maritime Sunday returns,

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Recently, whilst out and moving about the great human hive, a luckless individual found their way into my company and posited the query to me “that you always show the tugboats with these enormous structures on the dock, but never explain what they are. Do you not know what they are?”. People like to accuse me of ignorance, continually, presuming that they may have punctured some perceptual bubble in which they presume me to live.

Blow my mind, as it were. Fools.

from wikipedia

Container cranes consist of a supporting framework that can traverse the length of a quay or yard, and a moving platform called a “spreader”. The spreader can be lowered down on top of a container and locks onto the container’s four locking points (“cornercastings”), using a twistlock mechanism. Cranes normally transport a single container at once, however some newer cranes have the capability to pick up two to four 20-foot containers at once.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The neat thing about all the equipment used in ports, especially the big old container cranes, is that its all mobile and self actuating. Everything is built on wheels. The bits of kit which I’m continually drawn to are actually the straddle carriers, which buzz around in their multitudes like worker bees handling and stacking the containers which their larger counterparts are unloading from the ships.

from wikipedia

A straddle carrier is a non road going vehicle for use in port terminals and intermodal yards used for stacking and moving ISO standard containers. Straddles pick and carry containers while straddling their load and connecting to the top lifting points via a container spreader. These machines have the ability to stack containers up to 4 high. These are capable of relatively low speeds (up to 30 km/h or 18.6 mph) with a laden container. The workers that use this machinery sit at the very top seated facing the middle as they can see behind them and in front of them. Straddle carriers can lift up to 60 t (59 long tons; 66 short tons) which equals up to 2 full containers.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The psychology of the folks who challenge me thusly is unknown. Sometimes it’s an expert on the subject who is attempting to “out” someone they perceive as an amateur. Others times, one gets the feeling that it brings the petitioner some sort of joy to see a humble narrator hoisted upon his own petard as his ignorance is exposed. Here’s the deal lords and ladies, and it’s been this way since the day I started this endless series of postings- If I’m wrong about something, please correct it. I’m the first one to admit when I screw up, and strive to learn something new at every turn.

Comments and corrections are always welcome here, and if I don’t know anything about a particular subject the first person to publicly proclaim ignorance is myself. On the other hand, if you just want to bust my balls for the sake of it…

Anyway, Maritime Sunday.

from wikipedia

Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is a major component of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Located on the Newark Bay it serves as the principal container ship facility for goods entering and leaving New York-Newark metropolitan area, and the northeastern quadrant of North America. It consists of two components – Port Newark and the Elizabeth Marine Terminal (sometimes called “Port Newark” and “Port Elizabeth” respectively) – which exist side-by-side and are run conjointly by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

chill current

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Maritime Sunday once more gurgles and splashes into port.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Joan Turecamo, IMO number 7902025, is a 392 ton Tug which was built in 1981 at the Matton Shipyard in Cohoes, NY. She’s owned and operated by the Moran Company, and was recently spotted while onboard a Working Harbor Committee “Newark Bay” tour.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

She was plying the poison waters of the Kill Van Kull, another one of the chemically complex industrial waterways that one such as myself calls home. Kill Van Kull has been referred to as “Tugboat Alley” more than once at this, your Newtown Pentacle, for the enormous number of towing and cargo vessels making their way to and from the titan Port Elizabeth Newark Port complex.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Moran tug was headed out to the larger harbor when spotted, and seemed to be under full steam while working against the current. A hearty maritime Sunday shout out is offered to the cast and crew of the tugboat Joan Turecamo.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

Saturday – October 19, 2013
The Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale soon.

Sunday- October 20th, 2013
The Poison Cauldron of the Newtown Creek with Brooklyn Brainery- tickets on sale now

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

 

last ounce

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A short Maritime Sunday visit with the Vane Bros.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Vane Brothers’ brand new Tug Magothy recently rolled past me at the exit from Kill Van Kull, while onboard with the Working Harbor Committee. Vane started out as a Ships Chandlery in 1898, down in the port of Baltimore. They’ve become a towing company over the last century, and operate a fleet of tugs and barges in the ports of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, and Charleston.

from vanebrothers.com

The tug Magothy is the fourteenth in a line of Patapsco-class tugs. She was designed by Frank Basile of Entech & Associates, and is under construction at Thoma-Sea Boat Builders’ West Yard in Houma, Louisiana. The Magothy is 100’ long, with a 34’ beam, and a depth of 15’. Her gross tonnage is 99 tons. She is powered by two CAT3516, 2100 horse-power engines with Kort nozzles.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Oyster Creek, as seen on the same Working Harbor Committee Newark Bay tour, steaming along on the Kill Van Kull. Many of my photographer buddies abhor white tugs, decrying their lack of contrast with the sky and water, preferring the pigments and color ways of McAllister, Reinauer, and Moran tugs (all incorporate reds). Me, I like the challenge of getting the exposure right.

from vanebrothers.com

The Oyster Creek is a coastwise 3,000 horsepower towing vessel measuring 90’ long, 32’ wide, with a 13’ hull depth. Powered by two Caterpillar diesel engines, she is dedicated to 30,000-barrel tank barges. Her gross tonnage is 99 tons. The Oyster Creek is named for the Oyster Creek cove and tributary stream in Maryland.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Vane sent the Hunting Creek and Red Hook to compete in the 2013 Great North River Tugboat Race. Here they are just about crossing the finish line. Official results not handy at the time of this writing,

from vanebrothers.com

The Hunting Creek officially joined Vane’s ranks on February 3, 2012. Since then she has been a bunkering workhorse in New York Harbor. The sixth in a series of eight from Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Maryland, she is a 3,000 horsepower vessel, measuring 90′ long, 32′ wide, with a 13′ hull depth. She was designed by Frank Basile of Entech and Associates of Houma, Louisiana, and is named for the Hunting Creek cove and tributary stream in Maryland.

Upcoming Tours

Saturday- September 21, 2013
13 Steps Around Dutch Kills Walking Tour with Atlas Obscura- tickets on sale now.

Saturday- September 28, 2013
Newtown Creek Boat Tour with the Working Harbor Committee- tickets on sale now.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

2013 Newtown Creek Boat Tour

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The 2013 Newtown Creek Boat Tour.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

On Saturday -the 28th of September- the Working Harbor Committee is producing and offering a boat tour of the Newtown Creek for any interested parties to attend. A special emphasis on the waterway’s storied history and maritime legacy will be made.

I’m going to be doing the history part, speaking in my capacity as the Newtown Creek Alliance Historian, and am tasked with highlighting the various points of interest encountered along the route. Anticipated to be some three hours in length, this boat tour will be delving some three miles inland, proceeding to the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge crossing English Kills in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The Maritime History of Newtown Creek is one largely forgotten in these decadent times, but even now an odd tugboat and barge might be spied making their way down the waterway on any given day. Property owners were considered to have been blessed by some of the finest industrial bulkheads in the world a mere century ago, yet many of the businesses based along the Creek today ignore this invaluable resource, allowing their waterfront property to decay and decline.

Nevertheless, a staggering amount of maritime traffic is still observed here, and towing companies such as Reinauer, K-Sea, DonJon, and Poling and Cutler are regular visitors.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Vast operations will be witnessed by those onboard, many of which are involved in the scrap metal and recyclables trade. Responsible for an enormous amount of cross harbor shipping, companies such as SimsMetal are heavily reliant on the maritime trades for their economic success.

Not all that long ago, Newtown Creek carried a greater tonnage of cargo than the entire Mississippi River.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

An active and thriving industrial zone in the center of New York City, from the water one can truly grasp the sheer scale of Newtown Creek’s busy waterfront. Normally hidden by high fences and obscured by street facing structures, the intensity of the Newtown Creek is laid bare before the admiring gaze of first time visitor and veteran urban explorer alike.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A tributary of the estuarine East River, Newtown Creek extends some 3.8 miles from its junction with the more familiar waterway, and provides demarcation for the currently undefended border of much of Brooklyn and Queens. Named to the Federal Superfund list, the Creek suffers from a history of environmental degradation and municipal neglect.

An era of great change is upon the Newtown Creek, and this trip will be one of your last chances to see it in its current form.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

We will see four moveable bridges, and this year will be your last chance to see the static Kosciuszko Bridge which carries the BQE, as the NYS DOT has indicated that construction on its replacement will begin quite soon.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Along it’s banks, great fortunes have risen.

Amongst others- Peter Cooper (BO Railroad, Canton Iron, and Cooper Union), Charles Pratt (Astral Oil, and Pratt University), and ultimately John D. Rockefeller (Standard Oil)- all grew richer than the dreams of avarice in this place. Alongside them, the darkest mills of the industrial revolution- rendering plants, yeast distilleries, bone blackers, and acid factories provided tens of thousands of jobs to the immigrant populations of Brooklyn and Queens. Today- National Grid, BP, Amoco, ExxonMobil, and a host of other multinational companies still maintain an enormous investment in this valuable industrial canal.

Upcoming tour: Hidden Harbor Tours: Newtown Creek tour with Mitch Waxman.

Come explore Newtown Creek by boat with Working Harbor Executive Director Captain John Doswell and Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman as your guides.

Boarding begins at 2:30 p.m., and departs at 3:00 p.m. sharp. The 2.5 hour, fully narrated, round-trip excursion departs from and returns to the New York Skyports Marina found at East 23rd Street & the FDR Drive in Manhattan.

There will be a cash bar onboard.

Tickets are $45.

For inquiries about group discounts please call 212-757-1600.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

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