The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

harbor shots

leave a comment »

– photo by Mitch Waxman

At the start of June, your humble narrator was offered the rare chance to act as… a humble narrator.

Nobody of more august character was available, I supposed, when the Working Harbor Committee asked me if I would be interested in speaking during a Circle Line cruise.


from wikipedia

Circumnavigation of Manhattan became possible in 1905 with the construction of the Harlem Ship Canal, the first regularly scheduled trip being the Tourist captained by John Roberts in 1908.

On June 15, 1945 Frank Barry, Joe Moran and other partners merged several sightseeing boats to form the Circle Line operating out of Battery Park.

In 1955 it began operating at its current Pier 83 location. In 1962 it bought the Hudson River Day Line.

In 1981 the two companies split.

In 1988 the 42nd Street company bought World Yachts operating upscale dining cruises from Chelsea Piers. In 1998 the 42nd Street company also launched The Beast, a speedboat ride which takes tourists around the Statue of Liberty and goes 45 mph.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An eerie quiet came over me when the microphone was first passed over, and panic quickly overcame any attempt at “being cool”. Luckily, veteran MC John Doswell of the Working Harbor Committee rescued a drowning man. By the second tour of the day, I managed to catch a little of his “vibe” and followed the narrative he supplied after my disappointing showing on the first tour. While John was speaking I managed to grab a few interesting shots. The fireboat above, for instance, is the FDNY’s newly minted 343 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.


Because of the very real threat of additional terrorist attacks after 9/11/01, 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 it’s air supply filtered by special charcoal and HEPA filters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As always, the Empire State Building commands the scene from both the East River…

from wikipedia

The South Street Seaport is a historic area in the New York City borough of Manhattan, located where Fulton Street meets the East River, and adjacent to the Financial District. The Seaport is a designated historic district, distinct from the neighboring Financial District. It features some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan, and includes the largest concentration of restored early 19th-century commercial buildings in the city. This includes renovated original mercantile buildings, renovated sailing ships, the former Fulton Fish Market, and modern tourist malls featuring food, shopping and nightlife, with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. At the entrance to the Seaport is the Titanic Memorial lighthouse.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

And from the North- or lower Hudson- River. There is a satisfaction to the design of this structure, a governing and massive esthetic that has always drawn me. Center stage is where it belongs, IMHO, with the rest of the skyline of Manhattan descending in bilateral asymmetries around it. Empire State and its nearby rival- the Chrysler Building- are what skyscrapers should look like.

from wikipedia

The building design most closely associated with New York City is the skyscraper, whose introduction and widespread adoption saw New York buildings shift from the low-scale European convention to the vertical rise of business districts.

As of August 2008, New York City has 5,538 highrise buildings,[70] with 50 completed skyscrapers taller than 656 feet (200 m). This is more than any other city in United States, and second in the world behind Hong Kong. New York has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles. These include the Woolworth Building (1913), an early gothic revival skyscraper built with massively scaled gothic detailing able to be read from street level several hundred feet below. The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setback in new buildings, and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Traffic observed on the Hudson included this tug, the Shannon Dann heading South. 96 feet long, 31 feet high, and blessed with 2 2,400 HP engines- it’s hitched to a Lehigh Cement barge, slipping it past the Marine and Aviation Pier. Shots like these hang on the Empire State building, which says New York City louder than any banner headline could.


Lehigh Cement Company was founded in 1897 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Over the years, through a visionary policy of acquisitions, equipment modernization and productivity improvements, Lehigh Cement Company and its related companies have become leading suppliers of cements and construction materials in the United States and Canada.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also noticed was the Vane Brothers Nanticoke, a 2004 vintage tug nearly 95 feet long with 4,800 HP purring under its hood. Again- no Empire State Building- Meh shot.


The Vane Brothers Company has served the maritime industry in the Port of Baltimore and the U.S. Eastern Seaboard for more than 100 years. Today, we are comprised of five divisions operating out of the ports of Baltimore, Maryland; Brooklyn, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Norfolk, Virginia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Chelsea Piers in the fore. By the end of the second tour, I thought that I hit some kind of rhythm and felt better about my performance. Ultimately your humble narrator was able to forget his troubles for a moment, as it was quite a beautiful day.

from wikipedia

Chelsea Piers is a series of historic piers on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City that was a passenger ship terminal in the early 1900s that was used by the RMS Lusitania and was the destination of the RMS Titanic.

The piers are currently used by the Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex. The new complex includes film and television production facilities, including those for CBS College Sports Network and Food Network, a health club, a day spa, the city’s largest training center for gymnastics, two basketball courts, playing fields for indoor lacrosse and soccer, batting cages, a rock climbing wall and dance studios. In addition there is an AMF Bowling center, a golf club with multi-story driving range, and two full sized ice rinks for skating. It is located in the Chelsea neighborhood, on the northern edge of Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: