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Archive for June 14th, 2012

mad spaces

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

An upcoming walking tour, the Kill Van Kull walk for the Working Harbor Committee on June 30th, has called for repeated journeys to… Staten Island… to be undertaken by a humble narrator. Operations of the Staten Island Ferry make this possible, of course, and provide ample opportunity for the wandering photographer to gather interesting maritime shots.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Goliath hulks like the fuel tanker in the shot above are commonly seen awaiting favorable tide or berthing around this boundary between Upper and Lower Harbors, but off in the distance is one of the true monsters of the sea.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

That’s the Dockwise Heavy Lift Ship Swan, which is basically a floating dry dock, and those are tugboats on its deck.

Far Eastern correspondent Armstrong, who has been writing the Working Harbor Committee blog for a while now, offered:

A heavy lift ship is designed to move large loads that can’t be handled by normally equipped ships. They are two types: semi-submerging – able to sink down into the water to lift ships and other heavy cargo onto deck for transport; and vessels that supplement unloading facilities at ports with inadequate equipment.
Swan is a semi-submersible heavy load vessel. The ship is 592 feet long (180.5m) and 105 feet wide (32.3m). The Swan’s massive deck is 416 x 103 feet (126.8m x 31.6m) and can handle a deck load of 56.616-20 tonnes/sq.m which translates to about 25,000 tons of heavy cargo.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Apologies are offered for Image fidelity outside of the normal mean, but this ship was FAR away, and these are actual pixel, 100% pixel size and highly “cropped in” shots which represent less than a 10th of the total image originally captured. It was also kind of misty.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Surprises like the Swan often lurk just off the shore of… Staten Island… The waters surrounding it provide egress to the cargo docks of Port Elizabeth Newark, especially the busy Kill Van Kull.



June 16th, 2012- Newtown Creek Alliance Dutch Kills walk (this Saturday)

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Newtown Creek Alliance has asked that, in my official capacity as group historian, a tour be conducted on the 16th of June- a Saturday. This walk will follow the Dutch Kills tributary, and will include a couple of guest speakers from the Alliance itself, which will provide welcome relief for tour goers from listening to me rattle on about Michael Degnon, Patrick “Battle Ax” Gleason, and a bunch of bridges that no one has ever heard of.

for June 16th tickets, click here for the Newtown Creek Alliance ticketing page

June 23rd, 2012- Atlas Obscura Thirteen Steps around Dutch Kills walk

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Additionally- the “Obscura Day” Thirteen Steps around Dutch Kills tour proved that the efficacy and charms of the Newtown Creek’s least known tributary, with its myriad points of interest, could cause a large group to overlook my various inadequacies and failings. The folks at Atlas Obscura, which is a fantastic website worthy of your attentions (btw), have asked me to repeat the tour on the 23rd of June- also a Saturday.

for June 23rd tickets, click here for the Atlas Obscura ticketing page

June 30th, 2012- Working Harbor Committee Kill Van Kull walk

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My various interests out on the sixth borough, NY Harbor, have brought me into association with the Working Harbor Committee. A member of the group’s Steering Committee- I also serve as the “official” group photographer, am chairman and principal narrator of their annual Newtown Creek Boat Tour, and occasionally speak on the microphone during other tours (mainly the Brooklyn one). This year, the group has branched out into terrestrial explorations to compliment the intense and extant schedule of boat tours, and I’m going to be leading a Kill Van Kull walking tour that should be a lot of fun.

The Kill Van Kull, or tugboat alley as its known to we harbor rats, is a tidal strait that defines the border of Staten Island and New Jersey. A busy and highly industrialized waterfront, Working Harbor’s popular “Hidden Harbor – Newark Bay” boat tours provide water access to the Kill, but what is it like on the landward side?

Starting at the St. George Staten Island Ferry terminal, join WHC Steering Committee member Mitch Waxman for a walk up the Kill Van Kull via Staten Islands Richmond Terrace. You’ll encounter unrivaled views of the maritime traffic on the Kill itself, as well as the hidden past of the maritime communities which line it’s shores. Surprising and historic neighborhoods, an abandoned railway, and tales of prohibition era bootleggers await.

The tour will start at 11, sharp, and you must be on (at least) the 10:30 AM Staten Island Ferry to meet the group at St. George. Again, plan for transportation changes and unexpected weirdness to be revealed to you at

for June 30th tickets, click here for the Working Harbor Committee ticketing page

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 14, 2012 at 12:15 am

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