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Maher Terminal Port Elizabeth. Photo by John Skelson

Go behind the scenes of our bustling port on a Hidden Harbor Tour this Saturday. The Working Harbor Committee presents their 2.5 hour fully narrated Hidden Harbor Tour of Port Newark, in partnership with Circle Line Sightseeing.

Bill Miller, “Mr Ocean-Liner” is the guest speaker and together with Captain John Doswell, they will give industry-insider tidbits as the tour boat winds her way through the harbor. Get tickets here.

Explorer of the Seas Pearl River and Quantico Creek. Photo by John Skelson

The tour departs from Pier 84 on the Hudson River (W42nd Street and 12 Avenue), on a comfortable Circle Line boat with an outdoor deck as well as an air-conditioned deck and cruises through “tugboat alley” – the Kill Van Kull, to the container terminals of Port Newark.

Laura K Moran Pushing Hard. Photo by John Skelson

a journalist from recently joined us on a tour. She wrote of her experience:

It’s easy for us New Yorkers to forget that we’re actually islanders, and even easier to lose sight of the size and scope of the working port that our city’s harbor once was . . . and very much still is. In fact, New York Harbor today only trails Long Beach and Los Angeles in California amongst the nation’s largest ports in terms of size, and holds the title of the busiest working port on the East Coast.

So many photos! Photo by John Skelson

For some insight into this behind-the-scenes side of NYC, Hidden Harbor Tours recently launched operations aboard Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises (the tours were previously conducted on New York Water Taxi) to showcase a fascinating back-door peek into the goings-on of New York Harbor (including both the New York and New Jersey waterfronts) that’s far removed from the typical tourist boat circuits that normally ply these waters.

Underway. Photo by John Skelson

Participants get to ogle nooks and crannies where the other tourist boats don’t venture, offering up-close encounters with tugboats, shipping barges, and other assorted maritime vessels, plus plenty of hidden-from-view shoreline sights that you wouldn’t be able to see any other way.

Morgan Reinauer at Caddell’s Dry Dock. Photo by John Skelson

Designed by nonprofit organization Working Harbor Committee, the narrated 2.5-hour tours launched in June 2014, and are scheduled to run on select Saturdays through October. Commentary onboard is offered by a rotating roster of noted maritime speakers and historians.

Gramma T Lee Moran huffin’ and puffin’. Photo by John Skelson

Cruises board at 10:30am, and sail from 11am to 1:30pm. Tickets cost $40/adults; $35/seniors; and $26/kids ages 3 to 12 (children under 3 are free). A portion of the ticket proceeds go toward supporting Working Harbor Committee’s mission. Visit or  to book; sailings embark on Circle Line from Pier 83 on the Hudson River (at W. 42nd St. & 12th Ave.). Read more at here

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee. All photos except image of Bill Miller by John Skelson.

City of Water Day was held this past Saturday, with a visit to the FDNY Fireboat 343, and a cruise on the Fireboat John J Harvey. Also, there are a few photos from the ferry ride to Manhattan.

Cape Beale at Stapleton. Photo by John Skelson

Evening Tide. Photo by John Skelson

Tug Jay Michael and Launch Alex D with dredging ops at MOT Channel Bayonne. Photo by John Skelson

Still at Weeks Marine, Jersey City, Left Coast Lifter’s boom has been raised, maybe finally preparing to head for the Tappan Zee Bridge. Photo by John Skelson

Justine McAllister with an oil barge “On the Hip”. Photo by John Skelson

Fireboat “Three Forty Three”. Photo by John Skelson

The huge Bow Monitor on Three Forty Three capable of delivering 18,000 gallons of water per minute. Photo by John Skelson

Tug Pegasus taking on passengers for a cruise. Photo by John Skelson

Fireboat John J Harvey. Photo by John Skelson

John J Harvey salutes Norwegian Gem as she leaves port on a cruise. Photo by John Skelson

Keep spotting,
John Skelson

All photos by John Skelson, generously shared with the Working Harbor Committee

Ed Note: Don’t forget, John’s photos are on exhibit through July 31st onboard the Historic Lighthouse Tender “Lilac”. Ship hours are: 4:00 to 7:00 PM Thursdays and 2:00 to 7:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is Free. (Directions to Pier 25.)

Photo via Baylander.US

Be the first to tour Baylander, the tiniest ex-U.S. Navy aircraft carrier!

Only 131 feet in length, Baylander served in Vietnam before being converted into a helicopter trainer for pilots from the U.S. Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard. [MarineLink/Trenk Family Foundation]

Photo via Baylander.US

Heralded as the US Navy’s “smallest aircraft carrier”, the historic vessel will be docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park‘s Pier 5 on weekends for FREE ship tours that will highlight her history and extraordinary service. Weekend ship tours start July 26 from 10am – 4pm.

Baylander IX-514′s arrival highlights the anticipated completion of Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina, the largest recreational marina to be developed in New York Harbor in 50 years.

Photo via Baylander.US

MarineLink: In addition, the developers of Brooklyn Bridge Park Marina, the largest recreational marina to be developed in New York Harbor in 50 years, say they are excited to announce an array of programming goals for the summer of 2014 associated with the arrival of Baylander, which will further BBP’s goal of promoting recreational boating and on- water educational programming, and provide New Yorkers even more opportunities to actively connect with their waterfront.

Fireboat John J. Harvey. Photo: ©John Skelson

The development team currently anticipates an open date of April 2015 for the marina. Prior to the start of construction, it is bringing Baylander to BBP to serve as the platform for other vessels to access the park. 

Letti G. Howard is put back in service with help from New York Harbor School students. Photo by Xavi Ocaña via Downtown Magazine NYC

These will include, amongst other historic vessels, Lettie G. Howard, a wooden Schooner built in 1893, owned by South Street Seaport Museum and operated by the Urban Assembly Harbor School, as well as Fireboat John J. Harvey a retired FDNY fireboat built in 1931.

Read more at MarineLink here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee


Short post this morning as we head out en masse to the City of Water Day festivities on Governors Island.

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Be sure to stop by the Working Harbor Committee tent and say “hi” to all the hardworking volunteers who will be manning the WHC table, near Yankee Pier from 10am – 4pm.

USACE Hayward. Photo via MWA Water Wire

In addition to the t-shirts and photo cards, they’ll also have brochures and rack cards about our popular Hidden Harbor Tours, the proceeds of which go towards funding WHC’s educational programs with local at-risk youth.

Have a great time at City of Water Day… and don’t forget the sunscreen!

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

Arthur blew in on July 4th stirring up the currents and winds, creating issues for the fireworks displays, but, fortunately not much damage.

The “New” tug is not really new by any means, “Sandy G” was spotted crossing the harbor this week pushing a Crane Barge. I don’t know for sure but she may have been heading for the Tappan Zee project. Queen Mary 2 paid NY Harbor 2 visits this past week, sailing on a short 3 day cruise, and back on Sunday to load for a transatlantic crossing. Also spotted was a “new” colorful Stena Weco Tanker, anchored at Stapleton.

My photo exhibit “Tugboats, Workhorses of NY Harbor” opened this week on the Lighthouse Tender Lilac moored at Pier 25 in Manhattan. The exhibit will be up for the month of July, hours are Thursday 4-7PM and Saturday and Sunday 2-7PM.

Stenaweco Venture anchored at Stapleton. Photo: ©John Skelson

Tanker, Atlantic Pegasus in the anchorage. Photo: ©John Skelson

Austin and Stephen Scott Reinauer picking up a barge. Photo: ©John Skelson

Sandy G a new sighting, but not new by any means. Photo: ©John Skelson

Sandy G pushing a Crane Barge, Chesapeake Coast in the background. Photo: ©John Skelson

Magothy and oil barge bunkering Queen Mary 2. Photo: ©John Skelson

Queen Mary 2 at Red Hook, Brooklyn. Photo: ©John Skelson

Jill Reinauer in the KVK. Photo: ©John Skelson

HMS Justice having a tough time with winds and current from “Arthur”. Photo: ©John Skelson

Barney Turecamo in the KVK. Photo: ©John Skelson

Hunting Creek passing Magothy. Photo: ©John Skelson

Have a good time at City of Water Day tomorrow! Until next week… John Skelson

All photos by John Skelson, generously shared with the Working Harbor Committee

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

Sorry for the late posting today, I took a much-needed morning off before we head into busy time – fun-season! With so many festivals and events coming up, it’s going to be a great July!

Our own ship spotter, John Skelson‘s photo exhibit “Tugboats – Workhorses of NY Harbor” opens today 5 July onboard the historic lighthouse tender Lilac moored at Pier 25 in lower Manhattan. Opening reception is Tuesday 8 July from 6-9 pm. Tug Pegasus will be moored next to Lilac Tuesday night, so there will be opportunity for ship tours.


Tug Pegasus. Photo via

City of Water Day, hosted by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, is coming up next Saturday, 12 July with free boat rides, food, music and exhibits. Check out all the fun happenings at their website here.


Tug Lynx at the Bayonne Bridge. Photo: ©Mitch Waxman

Join us on our next Hidden Harbor Tour® of Port Newark, hosted by the Working Harbor Committee in partnership with Circle Line Sightseeing.  Saturday 19 July, at 11 am. Our 2.5 hour cruise behind the scenes of our great container port terminals, oodles of tugboats at work on the KVK, moving gargantuan infrastructure with ease through our harbor. Reservations can be booked here.


by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

It’s not often, in fact very rarely that I will get out before sunrise; but this past Monday USS Slater was scheduled to leave Caddell Dry Dock and head for home at 0500 hrs.

I dragged myself to my usual spot just east of Caddell’s and was not disappointed. Not only did I photograph Slater, the Kill Van Kull was alive with traffic at sunrise. Here is just a taste of what was happening.

Bayonne Bridge at Dawn. Photo: ©John Skelson

HMS Justice Barge on the Hip Leaving Bayonne. Photo: ©John Skelson

Sabine McAllister, a New Arrival in NY Harbor. Photo: ©John Skelson

Patricia at Sunrise. Photo: ©John Skelson

Kobe Express. Photo: ©John Skelson

Heavy Traffic at the Bayonne Bridge – Maersk Iowa with Gramma Lee and Miriam Moran and Glen Canyon Bridge with Robert E and Ellen McAllister. Photo: ©John Skelson

Emerald Coast. Photo: ©John Skelson

Brenda (a Turecamo) This is Tugboat Painting Time. Photo: ©John Skelson

Resolute with Glen Canyon Bridge. Photo: ©John Skelson

ZIM New York. Photo: ©John Skelson

Lastly, there will be an exhibit of my photos on the Historic Lighthouse Tender “Lilac” opening Saturday July 5, with a reception on Tuesday July 8th from 6-9 PM. The exhibit will be up for the month of July. (Directions to Pier 25.)

Hoping for a dry 4th of July!

All photos by John Skelson, generously shared with the Working Harbor Committee

Ed note: A special treat this morning from Ship Spotter, John Skelson who was up and on the KVK earrrrly this morning to bid the USS Slater ‘bon voyage’ as she wound her way up the Kill, headed home to Albany. Thank you, John!

0500 Hrs. 30 June, 2014.

We saw her on dry dock 2 weeks ago on the Hidden Harbor Tour®, and this past Saturday she was in the water sporting her “Dazzle Paint Job”.

Slater left Caddell Dry Dock this morning, June 30, almost on time in great early morning light, before sunrise. Here are a few of the photos… And if the Slater wasn’t enough, the Kill Van Kull was alive with ship traffic… 5 Container Ships and I do not know how many tugs… now to take a nap.

Dry Docked 2 Weeks Ago. ©John Skelson

Back in the Water, this Past Saturday. ©John Skelson

Coming Out of Caddell’s 0520 Hrs. ©John Skelson

Underway. ©John Skelson

Slater with Tugs Margot and Frances. ©John Skelson

A Dazzle-ing Paint Job. ©John Skelson

Outbound in the KVK at the 9 Buoy. ©John Skelson

All Hands on Deck. ©John Skelson

At the Salt Pile. ©John Skelson

Tug Margot. ©John Skelson

Passing ZIM New York. ©John Skelson

Next Stop Albany NY. ©John Skelson

More photos from this morning later this week… Happy spotting… John Skelson

All photos by John Skelson, generously shared with the Working Harbor Committee


Weigh anchor! Off we went on the Circle Line Brooklyn, Saturday morning 28 June, on the second Hidden Harbor boat tour sponsored by the Working Harbor Committee this season.

The day was absolutely glorious! Our Captain, Kenneth Corcoron, paused the boat in all the right places and took us on a delightful side trip around Shooters Island. The boat pauses were coordinated with the speakers narrations. Perfect!

We enjoyed opening and closing remarks by Meg Black, and she announced that the tugboat race will take place on Sunday 31 August! The guest speakers, Ed Kelly from the Maritime Association of the Port of NY and NJ and Capt. Margaret Flanagan from the South Street Seaport Museum, were excellent.

Between the two of them we learned extensively about the history of the areas we passed on the tour and about the shipping industry, shipping companies, and even about graving docks! Among the distinguished guests aboard the Brooklyn was Ann Hermes, staff photographer from the Christian Science Monitor.

At the Statue. Photo: ©Phyllis Featherstone

Kayaks in Red Hook. Photo: ©Phyllis Featherstone

Enjoying the Trip. Photo: ©John Skelson

Rachel Marie. Photo: ©John Skelson

Guest speaker Ed Kelly, Executive Director of the Maritime Association of the Port of NY and NJ. Photo: ©John Skelson

Photo Ops. Photo: ©John Skelson

Captain Corcoran. Photo: ©Phyllis Featherstone

Scotty Sky and Pegasus. Photo: ©Phyllis Featherstone

Guest speaker, Captain Margaret Flanagan of the South Street Seaport Museum. Photo: ©Phyllis Featherstone

Moran’s Yard Staten Island. Photo: ©Phyllis Featherstone

Great Day. Photo: ©John Skelson

Turning HS Paris, Laura K, on the bow and Gramma Lee T Moran, stern. Photo: ©John Skelson

Ed Kelly and Meg Black. Photo: ©John Skelson

FDNY Fire Fighter II at the Statue. Photo: ©John Skelson

Thanks to all for a wonderful trip… more photos to follow.

All photos by John Skelson and Phyllis Featherstone, generously shared with the Working Harbor Committee

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