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Archive for August 31st, 2011

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Working Harbor Committee will be presenting the annual Tugboat Race this Sunday, and I hope you’ll be able to make it. The shots in this post are from last year’s race, which I had the privilege of attending.

This is a rare opportunity, from a photographic point of view, to witness this sort of thing. Dynamic, colorful, quick moving- a challenge.


19th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition Set for Sunday, September 4

Hudson River Park Pier 84 at West 44th Street, Manhattan – 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Events include a tugboat parade, a mile-long tug race, nose-to-nose pushing contests, line-throwing, spinach-eating and tattoo competitions.

Best viewing is from a Circle Line spectator boat that will follow the on-the-water action.

Good viewing from shore along the West Side riverfront, at Pier 84 and at the Intrepid Museum pier.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

To attend the race, one must simply show up at the pier and enjoy, however the best views (and photos) will be available form the Circle Line observer boat which will labor to keep up with the fleet of contestants. Details on ticketing for the Circle Line boat appear at the bottom of this posting.

Note: As a disclaimer, I’m a member of Working Harbor Committee, but strictly as a volunteer (It’s a non profit organization and I receive zero proceeds for promoting the event).

also from

Schedule of Events – Sunday, September 4, 2011

  • 9:30 a.m. – Spectator Boat departs Pier 83 (boarding begins at 9 a.m.)
  • 10 a.m. – Tugboat parade heads north from Pier 84
  • 10:30 a.m. – Race begins off Pier i at 70th Street and the Hudson River
  • 10:45 a.m. (and earlier) Tugs cross the finish line at Pier 84
  • 11 a.m. to noon – Nose-to-nose pushing contests and line-toss competition off Pier 84
  • 11:30 a.m. Spectator boat returns to Pier 83
  • Noon to 1 p.m. -Tugboats and crews gather for lunch at Pier 84; public is invited to participate in spinach-eating contest and amateur line-toss and knot-tying events
  • 1 p.m. – Crew tattoo contest and awards ceremony
  • Public Transportation: Any subway to 42nd Street, westbound 42nd Street crosstown bus to the last stop.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Working Harbor comes up a lot here at Newtown Pentacle, whether it be in the context of the Newtown Creek boat tours or the many “Hidden Harbor” trips which they produce. What doesn’t get mentioned that much are the groups many efforts at promoting and revealing the harbor as a career choice for kids from the inner city, it’s annual Senior Tours (produced in conjunction with the offices of the Borough President of Manhattan) which offer a free day on the water to senior citizens, and a host of smaller events which go largely unsung.

They’re a good bunch of joes.

also from

New York, New York, August 30, 2011: The Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition-one of New York City’s most popular Labor Day weekend events-returns for the 19th year on Sunday, September 4.

More than a dozen tugboats, the maritime 18-wheelers that normally dock ships and push barges, will thunder down the Hudson River Sunday morning as they vie to be named the fastest boat in their class.

The race, on a one-nautical-mile Hudson River course that extends from about West 70th to West 44th Streets, typically draws thousands of spectators, some watching from shore; others getting right in the middle of the action aboard a Circle Line spectator boat that travels alongside the tugs.

This year, tugs will range from 100-foot, state-of-the art 5,000-horsepower workhorses to a 25-foot, 200 horsepower workboat, named The Bronx, to a century-old harbor tug, now a museum ship, named Pegasus. Working boats from many of New York Harbor’s major towing companies will also complete, including tugs from McAllister Towing and Transportation, Miller’s Launch and Donjon Marine. A handicap system will give smaller and less powerful boats a chance to win trophies.

The race typically draws thousands to the riverfront, which is one of the reasons the tug companies enjoy participating. “New Yorkers sometimes forget they are surrounded by water, and that there is a whole maritime industry working here. This tug competition is the one time a year people can really see what we do,” explained Craig Rising of McAllister Towing and Transportation, one of the largest and oldest tug companies in the country. It is also a field day for the tug crews, many of whom bring their families aboard.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This is a great party on the Hudson, and a tremendous boost for the crews of the maritime tugs which seldom get a chance to show off their skills and incredible hardware to the public. In addition the race itself, there are “best maritime tattoo” and “spinach eating contests (Popeye brand spinach, natch)“.

Line throwing contests are scheduled, as well as nautical knot tying classes for kids. Family friendly, the event will be at Pier 84 (just south of the intrepid and just north of 42nd street), and the spectator boat will be boarding at the Circle Line pier at 42nd street and the Hudson River.

Hope to see you there.

also from

The tug race spectator boat will be a Circle Line Sightseeing Boat. It will depart at 9:30 from Circle Line’s Pier 83 at 43rd Street and 12th Avenue (boarding will begin at 9 a.m.), and it will return at 11:30 a.m., so that passengers can walk just one block north to the events on Pier 84. Tickets are $30 adults; $25 for children under 14. Free for ages 4 and under. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at or at the Working Harbor Committee tent on the north side of Pier 83 on the day of the event. Admission to the Pier 84 events is free.

The race is organized by the Working Harbor Committee, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to spreading the word about the rich history, current vitality and future potential of the New York/New Jersey Harbor. The organization also provides Hidden Harbor Tours® and runs an extensive youth educational program.

Full information is available at

Friends of Hudson River Park and Circle Line 42 are co-sponsors.

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