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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




South Street Seaport Museum welcomes everyone to Spring Revival on Saturday, April 26th, 12 noon – 6pm, with free activities and music, and an opening ceremony at 2pm!

Join us to celebrate the spring opening of our historic ships, which tell the story of how our great natural harbor gave rise to the metropolis we know today. Tour 1907 lightship AMBROSE, 1911 barque PEKING, and 1885 schooner PIONEER.

See traditional artisans working on the pier, including the carving of a new figurehead for 1885 ship WAVERTREE.

Ambrose Lightship and tall ship Peking at South Street Seaport’s “Street of Ships”. Photo: Joe Mabel via wikipedia

Sing along with shanties, and enjoy the bands. Help us set a sail, and join in other family friendly activities.

Everything takes place on Pier 16, at Fulton and South Streets on the East River in downtown Manhattan. Rain or shine.

via Capt. Maggie Flanagan for the Working Harbor Committee

South Street and Brooklyn Bridge (c.1900). Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University via wikipedia

James M. Lindgren, author, historian and Professor of History at SUNY Plattsburgh, has penned a new book about the South Street Seaport.

Preserving South Street Seaport: The Dream and Reality of a New York Urban Renewal Districttells of the fight to preserve the character of what remains of the once bustling district.

Schermerhorn Row. Photo: Jim Henderson via wikipedia

On April 21, the author will be giving two book talks, one hosted by the National Maritime Historical Society and the other, the New York Preservation Archive Project.

Wavertree. Photo: Andy C via wikipedia

The illustrated talks will chronicle the tenuous rebirth of the neighborhood, including the story of the South Street Seaport Museum, real estate market booms and collapses, controversial developments, and years of efforts by preservationists, developers, bankers, politicians, and museum administrators and recounts how the “street of ships” and the dynamic neighborhood emerged.


Tall Ship Peking at South Street Seaport. photo Wikipedia

Book Talk hosted by NMHS, at SSSM’s Bowne Printers
Monday, April 21, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
Bowne Printers: South Street Seaport Museum
209 Water Street
New York, NY 10038
Click here for more info or RSVP


Book Talk hosted by NYPAP, at The Paris Cafe
Monday, April 21, 2014
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. / Book talk at 7:00 p.m
The Paris Cafe
New York, NY 10038
To register, please call 212-988-8379 or email


by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Have you ever seen these huge ships that regularly sail in and out of our harbor?

Wallenius Aida underway with her vehicle ramp stowed. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

They have no portholes to speak of, and look like gargantuan floating boxes, their mysterious contents shrouded within.

They are called “Ro-Ro’s” by the industry… but why?

Courageous Ace with Charles D. McAllister. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Ro-Ro’s are vehicle transport ships.

Vehicles, unlike other cargo, are not packed into shipping containers and loaded by gantry or transfer cranes. Instead the automobiles are driven right onto the ship and then off again, once they reach their port of destination.

A Moran tug assists Wallenius Tancred passing Robbins Reef Lighthouse and the Statue of Liberty. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

“Ro-Ro” is short for “roll-on, roll-off”, a descriptive term used to describe car carrying cargo vessels. Loading and unloading vehicles in this way is very effective in getting the gigantic carriers in and out of port quickly and efficiently.

Eminent Ace. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

I wonder how many Ro-Ro’s cruise in and our of our port daily. I never fail to see at least one every time I am out on the water.

Asian King at dock with the vehicle ramp extended. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

What about you? Have you see any Ro-Ro’s lately? Share them with us! Post your photos at the WHC photo pool on flickr.

And to all who celebrate, a very Happy Easter and Passover to you and your loved ones!

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee, Thanks to Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle for the generous use of his photos.





The nice weather days we had last week were really welcome, but that blast of April snow was NOT. Still, I’ve had some quiet days shooting this week, with lots of activity to shoot.

Penn No. 4 sporting her new “Kirby” paint job. Photo: ©John Skelson

MSC Marta…Out to Sea. Photo: ©John Skelson

McAllister Sisters with one “On the Hip”. Photo:©John Skelson

Mary Gellatly. Photo: ©John Skelson

Kimberly Poling. Photo: ©John Skelson

Launch ABC 1 delivering supplies to a ship. Photo: ©John Skelson

Tanker SFC Pechoria in Stapleton Anchorage, Robert E McAllister ducking out behind. Photo: ©John Skelson

4 Days later at IMTT Bayonne. Photo: ©John Skelson

Sea Tow to the Rescue. Photo: ©John Skelson

St Andrew with some new paint. Photo: ©John Skelson

Weddell Sea “On the Wire” out to sea. Photo: ©John Skelson

Ruth M Reinauer. Photo: ©John Skelson

Gramma Lee T Moran meets Dace at the fuel dock. Photo: ©John Skelson

All photos taken the week of 4/13/14. Until next week… John Skelson.

All photos by John Skelson for the 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.


Just a quick post today of a very cool photo-series by Mitch Waxman – who went down to Newtown Creek over the weekend to get a look at the dredging that is going on. The clam-shell “scooper” that was spit-shiny clean a couple of weeks ago has now been well worked, and is smeared with the black, oily sediments of the federal superfund site.

Check out how DonJon’s rig and tugs seem to match the brilliant blue sky as they work on clearing the bed of the creek. The dredging operation is now running 24/7 and if all goes as planned, should be completed in the next month or so.

DonJon’s dredging rig and tugs on Newtown Creek. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

DonJon’s work boat keeps the barge nice and stable. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Industry-geeks will like this one. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Toxic ‘black mayonnaise’ sediment dribbles from the clam-shell. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

The dredging is now in operation 24 hours-a-day. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Thomas D. Witte. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

The dredging operation is slated to take 6 weeks. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

The watery mix is barged out to DonJon’s dewatering station near the Statue of Liberty for processing. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee, all photos by Mitch Waxman


Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Independence day fireworks haven’t been on the East River since 2009. It will be a nice change to be able to see those bombs bursting in air from the Brooklyn/Queens and Manhattan waterfronts.

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

An announcement will be made on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights at 2 p.m. today. Read more at the New York Observer here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

Ship spotters, there’s a new tug on the harbor!

Welcome Harley Marine NY‘s new tug HMS Justice. She joins HMS Liberty and HMS St. Andrews, providing petroleum transport services in NY Harbor.

Tug HMS Justice. Photo via

Marine Log: The 2,000 hp HMS Justice is the fifth vessel in this class and joins the New York fleet of two tugboats—HMS LIberty and  St. Andrews—and four 29,396 bbl double-hull petroleum barges. HMS Justice will provide petroleum barge transportation services in New York Harbor.

HMS Liberty. Photo by ©Will Van Dorp / tugster

Four of the vessels in this class—the Alamo, Fury, Silver and Stardust—are employed in the Harley Marine Gulf fleet. The vessels are each 75 feet in length, have a 29 foot 9 inch beam and a depth of 9 feet and 11 inches.

The vessel is equipped with two Tier II-compliant K38M Cummins engines producing 2,000 horsepower, two Cummins auxiliaries and Nabrico Hydro Electric DF-156-40-116-HEBK winches. Her design is well suited for the demands of harbor service with its “flanking rudder” technology.

HMS St. Andrews. Photo via Harley Marine.

Jonathan Mendes, interim General Manager of Harley Marine NY says, “The HMS Justice is a welcome addition to our growing New York operation. She will enhance our local business while servicing customers safely, reliably, efficiently and responsibly.”

Read more at Marine Log or download the full press release (PDF) here.

Anyone have photos of her yet? Post your shots in the WHC flickr Photo Pool!

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee,

Historic schooner Sherman Zwicker will be spending some time here in NY harbor over the summer as reported by Tribeca Citizen. The historic fishing vessel turned floating museum was once part of a fleet of hundreds of large wooden schooners that fished the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

Historic schooner Sherman Zwicker. Photo courtesy Grand Banks Schooner Museum.

Grand Banks Schooner Foundation is bringing the last original saltbank fishing vessel to Tribeca’s Pier 25 for a summer of exhibitions, lectures and … libations alfesco on the Hudson River.

The 142 foot long schooner will host a raw bar on deck called Grand Banks run by Mark Firth of Brooklyn’s Diner and Marlow & Sons, that will serve local oysters and other small delectables.

Image via Tribeca Citizen

Community Board 1 has given their liquor license application the nod and the Hudson River Park Trust is finalizing the details. If all goes according to schedule, the wooden schooner will be open June 1st for cocktails and bluepoints on the Hudson. Read more at Tribeca Citizen here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee, hat tip to Bonnie Frogma for the intel


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