The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘Fireboat

swept aside

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Conspiracy in North Brooklyn?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Pictured above is the FDNY’s Firefighter 2 Fireboat dousing the remains of a document storage warehouse at North 11th street right at the border of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The building is likely a total loss and will be probably be demolished, as this was a seven alarm “all hands fire” which required the attentions of more than 200 Firefighters to control. It’s eerily similar to the Greenpoint Terminal Market fire, which “Grenperntners” will eagerly describe as an arson job designed to clear the way for real estate development. FDNY investigators described the Greenpoint Terminal Market event as an accident brought on by a homeless man’s campfire.

There’s a few conspiracy theories already forming around CitiStorage, which I’ll pass on with the caveat that these are “conspiracy theories” and nothing resembling the final analysis of what happened will be available for months until after the FDNY investigators pronounce judgement.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The first conspiracy theory is alluded to above, and declares that the Real Estate Industrial Complex was hungry for this valuable piece of land on Brooklyn’s Gold Coast. Arsonists were sent in to get rid of the structure, which is why the fire had two distinct ignition events. To me, this one doesn’t hold water, as it’s far simpler for the REIC to legally gain possession of anything they want simply by pushing the right political buttons. Look at Willets Point, or Atlantic Yards, or Hudson Yards for examples of the vulgar display of their power. This “burn out” concept used to be a thing, during the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s, incidentally.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The second theory requires a bit of context to fully appreciate. The documents storage facility which went up in flames housed, amongst other things, court and hospital records for the City. The Albany scandal revolving around Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver accuses him of various improprieties regarding referrals to a personal injury law firms, from which he personally profited. The conspiracy theory is that somebody torched this place to protect the former “most powerful man in New York” from some revelation or “smoking gun” which Federal investigators might have found there. Again, a conspiracy theory, not a conclusion.

from nytimes.com

Those that said they had records stored in the warehouse, which occupies nearly half a square block, included the state court system, the city Administration for Children’s Services, the city Health and Hospitals Corporation, and members of the Greater New York Hospital Association.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Whatever happened, the toxic plume of smoke from the fire has been painting the neighborhoods surrounding this spot at Bushwick Inlet for a couple of days. I was able to smell it in Astoria just last night, and as one approached the spot in Greenpoint where the shots above were captured, it was inescapable and somewhat nauseating. Pictured above is what the scene looked like in 2013, incidentally, sans conflagration.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 2, 2015 at 12:30 pm

rythmical promise

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

In April of 2011, your humble narrator attended a lecture conducted by an FDNY Harbor Unit commander- Chief James Dalton of the Marine 6 unit. The Chief described several of the fascinating boats his unit was in the process of rolling out for duty in the Harbor of New York, one of which is the Fireboat pictured above- The Bravest.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Part of the Marine 6 unit, which is housed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Bravest is one of the ships responsible for protecting an enormous area which encompasses an aggregate coastline of several hundred miles. This coast- which includes petroleum depots, several airports, and cargo terminals as well as residential and recreational docks- wraps around “terrorist target number one” and is the responsibility of only four FDNY chiefs and just over one hundred and twenty firefighters.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Like many of the modern “service boats”, Bravest is based around a Coast Guard model- the “Response Boat Medium” (which has been discussed in earlier postings at this, your Newtown Pentacle). Sixty five feet long, the vessel is incredibly fast (45 knots), and is powered by a jet drive which supplies three 1,000 HP engines with motive force. The jet drive scheme enhances crew safety, and allows for shallow draft operation.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bravest’s two main monitors (water cannons) can pump an astounding six thousand gallons per minute. the Fireboat also carries a “miraculous” substance known as “purple K”. A foam extinguisher designed for fighting petrochemical fires, “purple K” and other exotic chemicals are kept onboard in case of an emergency at the Kill Van Kull or Newtown Creek. On the subject of the Creek, “The Bravest” is the likely first responder should an emergency occur involving one of the many oil industry installations found along it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Bravest also carries a full suite of modern communications equipment, including “blue force tracking”, satellite uplinks, and classified radiological detection sensors. Onboard, one will also find a first aid area which comes very close to being considered a mobile field hospital. Larger than needed alternators supply excess voltage to power all of this equipment.

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Upcoming Walking Tour- The Poison Cauldron, with Atlas Obscura

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Meetup at the corner of Kingsland and Norman Avenues in Greenpoint at 11 on Saturday, August 25th.

We will be exploring the petroleum and waste transfer districts of the Newtown Creek watershed in North Brooklyn. Heavily industrialized, the area we will be walking through is the heart of the Greenpoint Oil Spill and home to scores of waste transfer stations and other heavy industries. We will be heading for the thrice damned Kosciuszko Bridge, which is scheduled for a demolition and replacement project which will be starting in 2013. Photographers, in particular, will find this an interesting walk through a little known and quite obscure section of New York City.

Be prepared: We’ll be encountering broken pavement, sometimes heavy truck traffic, and experiencing a virtual urban desert as we move through the concrete devastations of North Brooklyn. Dress and pack appropriately for hiking, closed toe shoes are highly recommended- as are a hat or parasol to shield you from the sun.

Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start of the walk, which will be around three hours long and cover approximately three miles of ground. Drivers, it would be wise to leave your cars in the vicinity of McGolrick Park in Greenpoint.

Click here for tickets, and as always- a limited number of walk ups will be welcomed- but for safety reasons we need to limit the group to a manageable size. Contact me at this email if you desire further details.

growing ferocity

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Witness the most technologically advanced fire fighting vessel on earth, the FDNY’s newest, known to commoner and king alike as the “Three Forty Three”. An enigmatic and photogenic craft, it’s still shaking out it’s bugs in the harbor of New York, and is regularly observed by a humble narrator. This ship (which is a pregnant point which will be discussed in a paragraph below) and it’s capabilities as reported exist on the edge of what would have been called science fiction 10 years ago, and exhibits the kind of cutting edge technology which the modern FDNY’s mission calls for.

Click here to witness the initial launch of the craft at the Marine 1 homepage.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The question of whether a vessel is considered a boat or a ship is a bit contentious. Technical descriptions by maritime experts always use the mantra that a ship can carry and launch a boat, which defines what a “ship” is and what a “boat” isn’t. My buddy John Doswell of the Working Harbor Committee however, asks “have you ever heard of a fireship?”, and given his insider status regarding the retired John J. Harvey Fireboat and general maritime expertise one must lend certain shrift to his assertion.

Although, to me, the 343 is a $27 million vessel which can launch another craft as part of it’s onboard arsenal and design, so I have some difficulty referring to it as a boat.

from wikipedia

140-foot, 500-ton, $27 million dollar boat will be the country’s largest fireboat with a maximum speed of 18 knots. The Three Forty Three will provide the FDNY with the latest technology available for Marine vessels, including the capability of pumping 50,000 gallons of water per minute; nearly 30,000 gallons more than its predecessor. The need for this increased pumping capacity was graphically displayed as FDNY’s existing fireboats supplied the only water available for many days after the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. However, the technological advances of these new boats do not end there. The boat’s original design by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C. will catapult FDNY’s Marine Division into the 21st century and beyond.

Because of the very real threat of additional terrorist attacks after 9/11, 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 its air supply filtered by special charcoal and HEPA filters. Assistance on the design of the CBRN system was provided by engineers from the U.S. military’s Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and Naval Sea Systems Command. United States Navy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A sister vessel, the Firefighter 2, follows the same design principals as 343 although I haven’t managed to get any shots of it yet. Both will allow fire commanders to place as many as 50,000 gallons of water a minute in a gps guided arc onto a conflagration in Manhattan or on the harbor. Veiled references to parabolic calculations of the reach of this torrent have suggested to your humble narrator that it can be expected to reach further inland than any Fireboat in memory. Additionally, a forward ballast tank allows these ships to match the deck level of other vessels, allowing egress to the Staten Island Ferry amongst other civilian watercraft during emergencies.

from nycfireboat.com

  • Length, overall = 140′-0″ (excluding fenders)
  • Length, waterline = 130’–0″
  • Beam, moulded = 36’–0″
  • Depth, moulded = 16’–0″ (midship, deck edge)
  • Draft (maximum) = 9’–0″
  • Air draft design loaded waterline to highest point = 39’–0″ (maximum)
  • Main Engines = MTU 4×2000 HP- total = 8,000 HP
  • Propellers and Reduction Gears = Hundested 4 X Variable Pitch Propellers
  • Fuel oil = 6,850 US gallons (trial condition), = 9,350 US gallons (maximum capacity)
  • Fresh water capacity = 1,000 US gallons
  • Foam concentrate = 3,600 US gallons (total)
  • Sewage holding tank = 100 US gallons
  • Oily water = 120 US gallons
  • Sludge = 60 US gallons
  • Decon wastewater tank = 100 US gallons
  • Calm water trial speed – 20 mph at fully loaded condition operating at 100% vessel power rating (8,000 hp) and 15% sea margin.
  • Design seastate – 6′ significant wave height
  • Pumping capacity – 20,000 gpm on two engines as fire-fighting ship and 50,000 gpm on four engines as pumping station
  • Monitor throw – 700′ from midships
  • Operating crew – seven (7)
  • Fire-fighters – 27 in transit

Written by Mitch Waxman

May 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

Hudson River, October 17th, 2010

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Hudson River, October 17th, 2010 – photos by Mitch Waxman

A trip from Cold Spring to Manhattan, aboard the John J. Harvey Fireboat.

From Astoria Park, fireworks show, June 30 2010

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– photos by Mitch Waxman

An FDNY fireboat shooting Red White and Blue water in between the Triborough and HellGate Bridges, followed by a cool tugboat, and then a fireworks display framed against the latter bridge. Happy 4th of July!

Written by Mitch Waxman

July 4, 2010 at 3:06 am

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