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Historic Fireboat John J. Harvey rides! Photo via MWA

Just 3 more days until the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance presents their annual City of Water Day festival!

Man the monitors of a historic fireboat. Photo via MWA

Every July, the MWA hosts City of Water Day – a full day festival, filled with free waterfront activities – boat rides, live music, dockside tours, great food and more!

Photo via MWA

There’s even a cardboard-kayak race – so much fun for the whole family.

Competitors from last year’s cardboard kayak race. Photo via

City of Water Day: MWA’s City of Water Day Festival is a free day-long celebration that draws thousands of people from throughout the NY-NJ metropolitan region to participate in hundreds of unique, fun, and educational waterfront activities held all around the harbor.

Organized by MWA and its 700 Alliance Partners, the events run between 10am – 4pm this Saturday July 12th, 2014. 

Hands-on exhibits for the whole family to enjoy. Photo via MWA

Check out the many, activities at the festival and in your own neighborhood! Click here for directions to the various locations.

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

Tug Mary Alice (foreground) and Ellen McAllister cruise by our tour boat at Port Newark Container Terminal. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman


Miss the last Hidden Harbor Tour®?

You’re in luck, Working Harbor Committee in partnership with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises will cruise the container port terminals of Port Elizabeth/Port Newark, this Saturday 28 June.

Ellen McAllister soon pulled along side our boat. Photo: ©John Skelson

Leaving from Circle Line’s iconic Pier 83 at West 42 Street/ 12 Avenue – the two and a half hour, fully narrated cruise travels down the majestic North River, along the working waterfront of Brooklyn, through ‘tugboat alley’, and behind-the-scenes of our port – the 3rd. largest in the nation.

Caitlin Ann with barge tow at Port Newark. Photo ©John Skelson.

USS Slater is about to leave Caddell Dry Dock after a long refurb project. The work is almost done, and she’s getting ready to journey back to her home port in Albany. If she doesn’t leave town before the 28th., it’ll be the last chance to see her in all her restored glory, moored in Staten Island.

USS Slater getting her colors at Caddell Dry Dock. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Finishing touches being put on USS Slater. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Guest Speakers on June 28th include Ed Kelly, executive director of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York/ New Jersey and Captain Maggie Flanagan, maritime educator at the South Street Seaport Museum.

Get insider stories and learn about our maritime heritage, its history and  importance today and into the future.

A big one’s coming in! MSC container ship escorted by two Moran tugs. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman


Saturday 28 June Hidden Harbor Tour
departs from Pier 83, West 42nd Street and 12th Ave
Boarding @ 10:30 a.m. -  Cruising 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Contact for group sales (15+ people)

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee




Last week, Governor Cuomo announced the launch of Tender 4, an all-electric dredge tender Erie Canal work boat. Built from a 1928 tugboat, her circa 1980′s diesel engine was replaced with a new electric motor designed by Elco Motor Yachts, LLC, of Athens, New York. [Governor Cuomo Press Release]

The battery-powered all-electric powertrain system means saying goodbye to polluting exhaust emissions and accidental fuel spills. The cleaner, greener electric system will also be less expensive to maintain.

The project is the result of a partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). Additionally, the New York State Canal Corporation collaborated with Yorkville-based New West Technologies, LLC, in order to determine how best to transition the State’s work boat fleet to a cleaner propulsion system. The boat’s new electric motor was designed by Elco Motor Yachts, LLC, of Athens, New York. “

By partnering with the private sector, New York State is transforming an 86-year old tug boat into a cleaner, greener and more modern zero-emission vehicle,” Governor Cuomo said. “Projects like this demonstrate our commitment to protecting the environment and show how this continued dedication is laying the groundwork for a clean energy economy of tomorrow.”

Read more from the NYS Governor’s Press Office here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

Photo via

The 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim covers a mind-blowing 120 miles and is the longest marathon swim in the world.



Starting from Rip Van Winkle Bridge up in  the Catskills, the 7 day-7 stage swim travels down the length of the mighty Hudson River to the gateway of the Atlantic Ocean at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

Photo via

The marathon swim, now in its fourth year is hosted by CIBBOWS , a not-for-profit organization dedicated to “being the very best New York City resource for open water swimmers”.

In 2013, the World Open Water Swimming Organization (WOWSA) recognized 8 Bridges as one of Americas top 100 open water swims for 2014. []

Photo via For one week, each day’s marathon swim begins with the ebb tide at one bridge and ends at the next, covering distances ranging from 13.2 miles to 19.8 miles. Swimmers can participate as solos or relays  in one to all of the seven stages.

Photo via

The swim strings together the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, Mid-Hudson Bridge, Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, Bear Mountain  Bridge, Tappan Zee Bridge, George Washington Bridge, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

Photo by Greg Porteus via

8 Bridges partners with Riverkeeper and safety vessel Launch 5 to promote the health and enjoyment of the Hudson River.

The fourth seven-day, seven-stage, 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim will take place from June 18 – June 25 2014. For more info visit

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee





New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has issued a request for proposals for detailed feasibility studies of storm surge barriers at Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek.

Conceptual rendering of Newtown Creek surge barrier. (New York City Economic Development Corporation) via Capital New York

During Hurricane Sandy, the waters of Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal flooded the neighborhoods of Gowanus, Red Hook, Greenpoint, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, Maspeth, and Long Island City. There was extensive damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Flooded Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn during Hurricane Sandy. Photo by NCA via The Accessible City

Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency: “Hurricane Sandy didn’t just expose our vulnerabilities along the ocean, it also had a devastating impact along inland waterways in all five boroughs.

Storm surge barriers along inland waterways would play a vital role in the City’s resiliency efforts and, in coordination with the ongoing Superfund work, would reduce flood risk in these vulnerable commercial and residential neighborhoods, providing new opportunities to transform the city and make our neighborhoods safer.”

Download RFP (PDF) here. Submission Deadline: July 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Read more of the official Press Release here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee


Andrew M. Cuomo – Governor








News Release from The new York State Governors Office:
Albany, NY (May 23, 2014)

Governor Cuomo Announces GPS Online Tracking System to View New NY Bridge Construction Vessels – New System Allows for Boaters to See Location of Bridge Construction Vessels

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system to track construction vessels in the area of the New NY Bridge project. An interactive map showing vessel locations on the Hudson River is now available on the project website,, for recreational and commercial boaters to get updated information on this very active construction zone.

Tapan Zee Bridge. Photo: Severin St Martin via wikipedia

The GPS tracking system is just one of the new boater safety enhancements being instituted by the New York State Thruway Authority, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) and the United States Coast Guard as the summer boating season gets underway with the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Photo via New York State Governors Office website

“With these new enhancements being put in place, boaters will be better protected, as will the construction crews working on the New New York Bridge,” Governor Cuomo said. “Every precaution we take on this active work zone now will not only help keep people safe, but will also keep the project on-schedule and ultimately provide drivers with a less-congested commute and a safer bridge to get where they need to go.”

The boater safety enhancements include:

  • GPS tracking for TZC vessels and barges
  • Interactive GPS webpage for recreational/commercial boaters
  • Electronic geo-fence alarm system to monitor barge movement
  • Enhanced mooring lines and inspection protocols for TZC barges
  • Additional TZC deckhands and enhanced training program
  • Proposed U.S. Coast Guard safety zone around mooring locations
  • New lighted buoys and markers being installed
  • 24-Hour TZC safety/security patrols
  • Enhanced marine law enforcement patrols
  • Extended U.S. Coast Guard Regulated Navigation Area (RNA)
  • New signage announcing the RNA on river
  • “Slow, No Wake Speed Zone” in RNA
  • Access channel to be marked for Piermont boaters/marinas
  • Boater Safety information [PDF download] being distributed to marinas, boat clubs, public launches
  • New thermal imaging security camera system monitoring entire work zone

Some 90 Tappan Zee Constructors vessels are currently on the Hudson River in the project area and at the peak of activity this summer, 130 or more vessels could be in the work zone. Crew boats, tug boats, barge mounted cranes and barges – as well as temporary fixed platforms – are in the area of the existing Tappan Zee Bridge and may be moved at any time. Boaters are advised to use extreme caution in the area.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced that it is extending its Regulated Navigation Area (RNA) around the project site to 500 yards north and 500 yards south of the existing bridge. Boaters are advised to proceed with no wake at a maximum speed of five knots in this area, and to transit the main channel when traveling between the north and south sides of the bridge.

The RNA also allows the Coast Guard to limit or prohibit marine traffic in those areas if necessary. The RNA had already encompassed 200 yards south and 300 yards north of the bridge.

GPS vessel tracking and RNA zone. Image via New York State Governors Office

The Thruway Authority and Tappan Zee Constructors have also applied for a new safety zone around the 16 construction barge mooring locations at the site. No recreational vessel traffic will be allowed in the safety zone.

The GPS tracking map is for informational purposes and not intended for navigation.

More New NY Bridge boater safety information, including the U.S. Coast Guard Notice to Mariners and construction site maps, can be found here:


WHC News Release:

The Working Harbor Committee presents a timely, educational and entertaining program that answers the question: What happens to a ship after it sinks?

Special Program May 6 in Manhattan.

Unfortunately, some ships come to grief. Witness the tragic sinking of the South Korean ferry Sewol on April 16, or the doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia that ended up on the rocks off Giglio, Italy in 2012.

When there is trouble on the water the marine salvage industry arrives with divers, engineers and some amazing expertise and heavy equipment to protect the environment and save what can be saved of the ship.

Photo: Gladsky Marine

The nonprofit Working Harbor Committee of New York and New Jersey will present an evening program on May 6 that will showcase this little known, but vitally important, arm of the maritime industry with dramatic films of actual salvage operations and talks by some of the salty professionals who work in the industry.

Getting It Up!
The Fascinating World of Marine Salvage

Tuesday, May 6, 2014
6 – 9 p.m.

Community Church of New York
40 E. 35th Street
New York, NY 10016

Tickets $25, discounts for seniors & students, are available at or 212 757 1600.
Refreshments will be served.


Costa Concordia. Photo: Rvongher via wikipedia


Film clips that rival the intensity of scenes in “The Deadliest Catch” will show:

  • Historic footage of the raising of the SS Normandie, a.k.a. World War II troop carrier USS Lafayette, which burned and sank in 1942 at Pier 88 North River, NYC, the present-day Passenger Ship Terminal;
  • The dismantling and salvage of the freighter New Flame off the coast of Gibraltar;
  • The raising of the cruise ship Costa Concordia last September – the largest salvage operation in history.

Gantry crane removal. Photo: Gladsky Marine


A panel of three salvage industry professionals will give a brief overview of the industry, describe their work as salvage masters in some hands-on projects, and answer questions.

Panel members are:

Capt. Betsy Frawley Haggerty, an award-winning maritime journalist who is member of the Board of Directors of the Working Harbor Committee, will moderate.

The mission of the Working Harbor Committee – a NYS not-for-profit organization – is to strengthen awareness of the working harbor’s history and vitality today, and its opportunities for the future, by involving people in learning how the harbor works and what it does, educating people in the rich and challenging history of the harbor, and making people aware of the need to build and sustain the working harbor. We accomplish this with our Hidden Harbor Tours® and other programs. Visit

by Capt. Betsy Frawley Haggerty for the Working Harbor Committee

News Release:

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance‘s 2014 Waterfront Conference will explore progress on the waterfront over the last 12 months with a special focus on the remarkable grassroots, community-based waterfront plans developed before and after Superstorm Sandy, and take an early look at the de Blasio administration’s approach to waterfront policy.

Taking place aboard the magnificent Hornblower Infinity, this year’s conference focuses on community leadership and community-based planning.

The waterfront is a shared resource with uses and potential benefits for all people and all sectors.

Additionally, we are faced with the ever-increasing threats of coastal flooding, sea level rise, and climate change.  The need to ensure equity dictates that we build for resilience in all waterfront areas, from industrial to residential to parkland, so that they are protected and active.  We must continue to make equity and resilience the twin goals of every project on the waterfront.

We welcome your participation in this important dialogue.

Program Schedule:
8:00 – 9:00am Registration/Board Boat

9:00 – 9:30am Keynote Address – Chris Ward, Executive Vice President, Dragados

9:30 – 10:45am Plenary 1

After the Storm: It’s All About Implementation

10:45 – 11:00am Break
11:00 – 12:15pm Plenary 2

Sandy Changed Everything.  Or Did It?<

12:15 – 1:30pm Lunch Aboard the Hornblower Infinity
12:25pm Boat Departs

1:30 – 2:45pm Panel Discussions

Panel 1: Getting to Transit Equity via Ferries

Panel 2: Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines: An East River Laboratory

2:45 – 3:00pm  Break
3:00 – 4:15pm  Panel Discussions

Panel 3: Fishable, Swimmable, and Paddle-able

Panel 4: Pulling Back the Curtain: The Working Waterfront, Innovation and Education

4:15 – 5:00pm  Cocktails and Awards

WHEN: April 24, 2014 from 9:00am – 5:00pm

WHERE: Aboard the HORNBLOWER INFINITY (Hornblower Landing at Hudson River Park’s Pier 40, cross at W Houston St)

Click for Tickets

via Metropolitan Waterfront Allianc

Photo by Anthony Pepitone via wikipedia

Pete Seeger and his wife Toshi will be celebrated at this summers annual Clearwater Festival, June 21-22. [CBS New York]

In the 1960′s, when the Hudson River was more polluted with toxins and sewage, Seeger opined that building a replica of an 18th-19th century sloop would draw people to the river and be moved to preserve it.

Photo via

Pete’s efforts to clean up the Hudson River lead to him holding a series of concerts to raise funds to “build a boat to save the river”.

Photo by Donna Crawford via

Thus the annual musical and environmental festival was founded. Officially known as Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, the two-day event this year in Croton-on-Hudson will celebrate the couples legacy.

Photo via the

Some of this years performers include Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright. All proceeds benefit the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater – to continue Pete and Toshi’s legacy to protect the river and its adjacent waterways and wetlands.

Purchase tickets at

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee


Big News!

Graves of Arthur Kill”  will make its World Premiere on Wednesday, May 7 at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. The 32 minute documentary – directed by Will Van Dorp, aka Tugster – will be one of 5 short films shown on Opening Night.

There will be a prescreening reception which starts at 7 p.m. and the films begin at 8 p.m. Click here for tickets.

Brooklyn Heights Cinema
70 Henry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Subway: A/C to High Street or 2/3 to Clark Street


World Premiere

Documentary, 32 min. USA
Directed by Will Van Dorp

Though it’s been described as an “accidental museum,” the graveyard of ships at New York City’s southernmost point isn’t on any tourism maps. The site is owned by a metal recycling company and visitors are turned away. But this bone yard begs for attention. Rusty tugboats sit lopsided in its muddy waters. Rotting wooden skeletons of old barges dot the shoreline. Collectively, these crumbling vessels seem like haunting maritime sculptures in a massive art installation.

Will Van Dorp is a photographer, author and English professor at Union County College in Elizabeth, N.J. He is also a knowledgeable observer of what he calls New York City’s “sixth borough,” the waters in and around the Port of New York. He chronicles much that happens in these waters in his “Tugster” blog, which was featured in a 2011 New York Times profile.


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