The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

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Recently sighted on the Kill Van Kull.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

With all the crap weather experienced in New York City during the first quarter of 2014, your humble narrator has spent nary a minute upon the undulating harbor. Luckily, a Working Harbor Committee trip, a private one produced by the WHC Education Committee that took a bunch of school kids out to Port Elizabeth Newark on a NY Water Taxi, appeared on my schedule.

The scene depicted is found at Cadell Dry Dock, on… Staten Island.

from wikipedia

USS Slater (DE-766) is a Cannon-class destroyer escort that served in the United States Navy and later in the Hellenic (Greek) Navy. The ship was named for Frank O. Slater of Alabama, a sailor killed on the USS San Francisco (CA-38) during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for gallantry in action. The USS Slater is now a museum ship on the Hudson River in Albany, New York, the only one of its kind afloat in the United States. 

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Legend haunted, the North Shore of Staten Island borders the busy Kill Van Kull waterway, connecting Port Newark to NY Harbor. When the Slater left Albany, all of my “usual suspects” began to buzz about it. Facebook and the like were discussing its position, and where and when to get shots of it. Personally, I was busy with other stuff and the ship wasn’t even a blip on my radar.

Happily, though, serendipity brought me past its bow at a somewhat opportune moment – lighting wise.


The destroyer escorts were a vital component of the Allied strategy for victory in the Atlantic. They escorted the convoys of supply ships that carried the forces needed to win the war in Europe. Destroyer escorts also served in some of the most dangerous areas of the Pacific Theater. They escorted convoys, conducted shore bombardments, and served as radar picket ships towards the end of the war. The USS SLATER served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters during and immediately after the war. Following its World War II service, the ship was deactivated until 1951, when it was transferred to the Hellenic Navy. The SLATER, renamed AETOS, remained in Greek service until 1991, when it was transferred back to the United States under the care of the Destroyer Escort Historical Foundation, which began a painstaking restoration of the ship. Today the SLATER is one of less than a dozen surviving destroyer escorts, and it is the only ship that is still in its World War II configuration.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My pals over at the Working Harbor Committee blog got into quite a lather about the Slater coming down, check out their coverage here. Mr. Will Van Dorp over at Tugster has been following the ship since it left Albany, check their coverage here. Apparently, the Slater is in dire need of repair, which is how it ended up in… Staten Island.

There are three public Newtown Creek walking tours coming up, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn and two that walk the currently undefended border of the two boroughs.

Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura, on April 26th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

DUPBO, with Newtown Creek Alliance and MAS Janeswalk, on May 3rd.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

Modern Corridor, with Brooklyn Brainery, on May 18th.
Click here for more info and ticketing.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

April 24, 2014 at 11:00 am

One Response

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  1. […] here for a 2012 post about the company and their floating dry dock business. Just for giggles, here’s another one from 2014 when the USS Slater was […]

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