You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Working Harbor’ category.

Photo Credit Victoria Johnson via New York Daily News

You’ve seen them lining the piers and waterfronts all over our fair harbor, standing for hours with their buckets and lures. Fishermen… there are loads of them here in the city. Question is, do they eat what they reap from the waters around New York City and is it safe to?

Fishermen in the area say it depends where you’re casting your lines. Each angler will claim their spot to be clean. [New York Daily News]

Photo Credit Tequila Minsky via The Villager

New York Daily News: Some eat their catch from Jamaica Bay but turn their noses up at shad from the Hudson, due to the GE plants that left polluting PCBs in the banks further up.

Photo via

Others enjoy the piers at Red Hook but consider that stream of water polluted when it becomes the East River, due to the effluence from Manhattan. With the water no longer shiny with oil, or filled with needles and condoms, more fishermen have joined the conversation.

Photo Credit Heuichul Kim via The New York Sun

These days, after decades of cleaning efforts, the city is covered in fishing spots. A culture of bait shops and lure crafters has arisen to take advantage of the cleaner waters.

Photo Credit Passer-By via Wikipedia Commons

Weekenders fishing to relax after 80-hour weeks share brine and piers with undocumented immigrants with families to feed.

Those who eat their catch often do so despite the state’s warnings. There are things like crabs and eels that we should never eat, according to the authorities, from places I saw men crabbing and even looking for mussels.

Photo Credit Bill Paciello via Visit Staten

Then there are fish that we should only eat in limited amounts — or not at all if pregnant. Some of the larger fish live for 30 years, so they have been through dark, dirty water full of antidepressants, birth control chemicals and whatever else New Yorkers flush. Read more by @DanGenis at the New York Daily News here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee


Photo by Mitch Waxman

NY1 News reports that the Rockaway ferry is definitely done-for after the summer. Since the low-cost ticket price will no longer be subsidized by the city, the service will cease operations in October of this year. [NY1 News]

The low-cost commuter service has been in operation since Hurricane Sandy wrecked the A-Line subway service in the area.

Ferry to the beach is ending this October. Photo by Mitch Waxman

Sadly the announcement comes as no surprise since we learned last month that the Mayor had chosen not to allocate any money to support the ferry service in the city’s 2015 budget.

The Rockaway Ferry Service transports approximately 400 commuters daily. Photo via NYCEDC

NY1 News: The Rockaway Ferry Service is slated to end this October.

It currently carries about 400 commuters from the Rockaways and Brooklyn to Wall Street and 34th Street. A request to extend the service was submitted, but the mayor’s office says it has become too expensive to subsidize.

The city says it will monitor service over the next few months, but unless ridership spikes significantly before October, the ferry will be cut. Read more at NY1 News here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

Newly wed Capt. John Doswell will be hosting today’s Hidden Harbor Tour of Port Newark. It’s a beautiful day to be on the water, and what better way to spend a gorgeous Saturday morning than to take a cruise behind-the-scenes of our magnificent working harbor.

Bill Miller will be guest-narrating with Capt John, powerhouses of our working waterfront. Bill, an expert in the history of the Hudson River and her glory days as the Ocean Liner Capital of the East, and Capt John Doswell with his extensive knowledge of the inner workings of NY Harbor, will enthrall you with their stories.

The 2.5 hour tour will cruise the KVK, ships highway to the towering cranes at Port Newark – passing maritime dry dock repair, state-of-the-art FDNY fireboats, while motoring alongside tugboats navigating huge container ships beneath the graceful arch of the Bayonne Bridge into the 3rd largest port in the nation.

Get an insider’s view of how the working harbor really works and learn about what all those ships and tugs do. Enjoy close up views of port terminals where container ships dock and unload their goods from around the world.

Our tour boat leaves Pier 84 (W42 St./12 Ave.) at 11 am (boarding at 10:30am), returning to Pier 84 at 1:30pm. You can get tickets at this link, or purchase them dockside at the Circle Line ticket booth. Just ask for the Hidden Harbor Tour!

See you onboard!

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee. All photos by Mitch Waxman, generously shared with the Working Harbor Committee


It has been almost a week since I’ve seen a tugboat! I’ve been on overload with the Hatteras-Okracoke ferries, day and night. I do have some new photos from the KVK shot before I went on vacation.

Ferry Floyd J Lupton. Photo by John Skelson.

Ferry Croatoan. Photo by John Skelson.

Union County NJ Police Launch patrolling the KVK. Photo by John Skelson.

USAC Container ship Asir. Photo by John Skelson.

St Andrews in Push Gear. Photo by John Skelson.

Oleander is a regular visitor to NY Harbor. Photo by John Skelson.

MSC Kim riding high in the water. Photo by John Skelson.

McAllister Sisters. Photo by John Skelson.

Laura K Moran passing Bruce A McAllister. Photo by John Skelson.

Joan Turecamo. Photo by John Skelson.

Tanker Emma Miller hitting a wake. Photo by John Skelson.

Bruce A McAllister. Photo by John Skelson.

From Hatteras North Carolina… John Skelson

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

PortSide NewYork, a nonprofit maritime organization in Red Hook, Brooklyn will be having a massive “heavy metal” sale of maritime hardware this Sunday, from 11am – 4pm, as reported by DNAinfo.

Head over to Red Hook this Sunday and get yourself a Crosby Hook, or a 4-foot tall turnbuckle – there’s 3 shipping containers full and everything has to go!

DNAinfo: “This is a gold mine for people who repurpose,” said Carolina Salguero, the organization’s founder and director. Funds raised will benefit the nonprofit and its Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.

All of the items — which were donated by a local shipping supplies firm that shut down — are in working condition and can still be used in the marine industry, Salguero said.

Photo via Portside New York

Single souvenirs like the Crosby Hook — which has become the informal symbol of Red Hook — will also be available in large numbers. “A lot of local people are interested in hooks,” she said.

PortSide NewYork’s “Heavy Metal” fundraising sale will be held on July 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pier 11 loading dock in Red Hook.

Read more at DNAinfo here or visit Portside New York for more information.

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee



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.

Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, a nonprofit organization of hundreds of artists, will open their summer exhibit “Out of Order” this weekend in Red Hook, as reported by The Observer.

Jessica Fox, “Graffiti Girl.” (Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition) via The Observer.

BWAC is housed in 25,000 square feet of gorgeous waterfront space in one of the O’Connell Organization‘s historic Civil War-era warehouses at the tip of Van Brunt Street across from Fairway supermarket in Red Hook.

499 Van Brunt Street in Red Hook Brooklyn. Photo via

The Observer: The organization started as a tight-knit group of Dumbo artists in 1978, but they didn’t have a permanent home until developer Greg O’Connell stepped in, said Jane Gutterman, the organization’s arts administrator.

Photo via

“We started as a very small organization and we didn’t have a space,” Ms. Gutterman said. “Then 20 odd years ago, he gave us a space—first a smaller portion of the space and now 25,000 square feet. It’s really wonderful.”

Photo: (BWAC) via RedHook

The art exhibition will feature over 800 pieces by over 200 artists working in traditional and digital medias, and starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 26. Immerse yourself in art, live jazz and chocolate cocktails at the ‘meet-and-greet’ reception with the artists.

Charlotta Janssen, “Arrested July 13, 1961, Jackson, MS: Eddie Austin, 18.” (BWAC) via The Observer

The Observer: “The show will contain works critical and comical, traditional and digital, flat and 3D,” says a prepared announcement from the organization. “There is a special juried section, ‘World Out of Order,’ where problems such as homelessness, poverty and hunger are addressed and 25 percent of the sales will be donated to charities.” Read more at The Observer here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee





State Senator Daniel Squadron. Photo by Theodorakis via the New York Daily News

Get it done.

Local pols State Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilman Steve Levin put the pressure on last week to get East River Ferry’s India Street pier in Greenpoint reopened before the 5-week long scheduled shutdown of the G train between Greenpoint, Brooklyn and LIC in Queens. [The Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

Photo via East River Ferry

The ferry landing was closed and fenced-off in mid-February when the gangway collapsed into the river. Thankfully, no one was hurt but repairs to the vital commuting option have been stalled for 5 long months in a hot-potato game of who’s responsible while ferry boats bypass Greenpoint altogether.

India Street Pier, Greenpoint, before the collapse. Photo by Jim Henderson, Wikipedia Commons via Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle: “With two weeks before the G train’s summer shutdown, we still haven’t received a firm date on when the India Street pier will be reopened,” the pols said in a joint statement. “This is a transportation lifeline for Greenpointers and northern Brooklynites, especially with the looming G train shutdown. Though the EDC has worked with us to create a shuttle service, the ferry landing has not been available for use since February 13 of this year.”

Photo by lesterhead/Flickr via New York Observer

Can it happen in a week?

Now, the Greenpoint ferry stop could be back in service by next Friday, according to NYCEDC spokesman Ian Fried, as reported by DNAinfo. A barge-mounted crane appeared on-site Thursday morning to install new piles for the new ferry landing and gangway.

Photo via Instagram/East River Ferry

DNAinfo: “The G train is a critical transportation link for people in the area,” Fried said. “We recognize the importance of making sure the East River Ferry is operating in Greenpoint prior to the G train shutdown. Red Sky has always operated with this in mind.”

Weeks on the scene. Photo by Doyle Murphy via New York Daily News

The city allowed Red Sky to move forward by building a new landing and gangway instead of repairing the old one.

“Obviously safety is the first priority,” Fried said. “There’s no way that the ferry landing will open until it is absolutely safe to do so.”

Read more at Brooklyn Daily Eagle here and DNAinfo here

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

The New York Times reports that the historic steamship SS United States could be headed for Brooklyn in a matter of months.

SS United States docked at Philadelphia, Pa. Photo by Lowlova via wikipedia

The 990-foot-long, luxury ocean liner that once steamed across the Atlantic has been slowly disintegrating, tied to a pier in South Philly.

The ships financially struggling owner, the SS United States Conservancy has been talking to several developers about options for converting the vessel into a hotel/entertainment/shopping mall complex, or some other combination of reuse, in an effort to save the “last American ocean liner” from being scrapped.

SS United States at sea, 1950s. Photo via wikipedia item held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.

The New York Times: Scrapping the ship would destroy a piece of American social history and an engineering landmark that still holds the record for the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing by an ocean liner, said Susan L. Gibbs, executive director of the conservancy and granddaughter of the ship’s designer, William Francis Gibbs.

“There is no other American ocean liner left,” she said in an interview. “This is the last one.”

SS United States in dock at Pier 86 in New York on 31 July 1964. Photo by JR Covert via wikipedia

Now there’s word that the ship could come back to homeport here in Brooklyn.

The ship may move to a location in Brooklyn within four to six months if negotiations with the conservancy succeed, according to a person with knowledge of the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations are continuing.

The person said he was optimistic that a deal would be done, and that the ship would be reborn as a commercial and cultural center.

The SS United States in Philadelphia February 25, 2012. Photo by Smallbones via wikipedia

Simply keeping the ship tied up in Philadelphia costs at least $60,000 a month, and that has drained the conservancy’s resources to the point where redevelopment is the only option, Ms. Gibbs said.

SS United States in New York Harbor. Photo postcard via Cafe Parisian

Despite the ship’s historic listing, the conservancy receives no government funding, she said. Read more at the The New York Times here…

Anyone know where she might be headed in Brooklyn? Any speculations?

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

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.)

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow me on Twitter

Post Archives



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,731 other followers

%d bloggers like this: