ships drawn for the blog, Bowsprite, a NYHarbor sketchbook

  1. while on the hydrographic vessel, we often saw the DEP vessel. There was no head on our boat, so I envisioned port-a-potties on docks,
  2. the eelgrass and the Cornell boat,
  3. tankers of orange juice offload in Jersey.

charts created for various publications, posters or to illustrate posts on Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook.

graphics created in response to various events: BP blowout, INIZIATIVA DA LAS ALPS,occupy wall st


Art Dock, Zürich

Art Dock, Zürich, is the idealistic anarchy of Ralph Baenziger.

It is a marvelous vision, an incredible space, a mammoth project powered by the indefatigable personality of Ralph, benefiting immensely by his knowledge, connections, friendships, passion, impeccable taste. It is wonderful.

And, it is stymied by his ideals, anarchy, and personality. Nevertheless, aided by a rotating roster of talented, selfless staff volunteers, Ralph, by dint of superhuman work, effort, luck and rock hard perseverance/stubbornness, makes Art Dock work.  His many detractors will also admit: he’s got a damned good thing going.

Click on images to enlarge:

Housed in the last of the undemolished train loading docks, Art Dock is nestled in an industrial parking area.

The penultimate exhibit was a fascinating collection of Zürich artists, past and present.

Entitled WahnWeltWellen (Delusional World Waves,) it brought in 77 artists, presented over 1,800 pieces, and ran from April to December, 2015.

This post is merely to show the space; the artworks exhibited will be featured in a catalog. One hopes.

Spaces within the spaces were expertly created. Ralph, being a good carpenter, made the lofts and panels.

The space, the art, the people—both crew and visitors.
These are the ingredients which make Art Dock so special.

It is the art of Zürich artists, for the people of Zürich: denizens and visitors alike.
It serves as a historical archive, a pedagogical collection, a social hub.

To go through the collection with Ralph is to hear the stories of each of the artists.
Many of them Ralph knew well personally. Quite a few have left us.

During a great flurry of photographing the works (Marcel), packing and returning everything (Lucas, Heinz, Beat) and keeping track (Elizabeth), a new show was installed, almost simultaneously.

Ester Brunner (Zh-Paris)

and Piro Authenheimer (Basel) are both now showing at Art Dock.

In the few weeks I have been around the works, I found many artists I love. There are too many to feature in this post, but here are three of my favorite pieces (credit, to come):

Look forward to the next exhibition: Frauen Power!

Art Dock, Zürich

Iniziativa da las Alps

The arguments against a second Gotthard tunnel are to prevent increased traffic, pollution, and harmful impacts to nature.
These are good points. However, there is more:
Easily obtained fossil fuels are gone. It will very soon be prohibitively expensive to truck goods. You will have built this tunnel for naught.
Save your money, Switzerland. Do not build this redundant tunnel.
LOOK: who stands to benefit from such a project? who will make the money?
examine their records, and see where their interests lie.
Their interests may not reflect yours, dear Swiss voter.
It has happened to us in the USA.
Be warned: the more power you give those who do wrong by the Earth, the harder it is to get your power back.
This happened to us, think if this could happen to you:
There will always be oil, however, the corporations that get the oil are already spending more money and effort. The low fruit has been picked. It will soon be too expensive for a corporation to justify obtaining oil.
• To get more oil, we go to greater risks: drilling deeper than before, going further into pristine, remote tundras, damaging seas, lands and life,
• To get more oil, we engage in hydrofracturing of oil- and gas-bearing shales for ‘tight oil’, threatening our drinking water and water table, leaving vast damaged, poisoned, ravaged, unusable lands and waters,
• To get more oil, we use dirty oil from “tar sands,” bitumen,: a very expensive, fuel-burning process, destroying forests, soil, air and waters,
• We do dirty politics to keep oil coming to us (you know what the USA has done: the wars we wage to protect our oil interests, the deceitful, shady deals we make…and you SEE what we have unleashed upon us.)
The more roads and tunnels you build, simply, the more traffic comes.
Roads crisscross the USA like varicose veins.
We mainline fossil fuels like heroin junkies, completely addicted.
The USA as structured today cannot function without fuel. We have made ourselves so dependent on ‘happy motoring’; all our industries and corporations make it nearly impossible for the addiction to end.
Our governments lack the money to maintain the roads and infrastructure.
Bridges and tunnels are crumbling.  The poorly maintained roads and highways pollute the land and waters, further adding distress to our landscape.
We lack the funds to address all that needs to be fixed.
More roads and tunnels means more maintenance.
And you will become addicted to the ‘happy motoring’, too.
Vote NO! to an unnecessary tunnel.
Do not line the pockets of the greedy few at the cost to yourselves, your country, your future.
Iniziativa da las Alps


The Devil, bored one day, walked around the Teufelsbrücke to look for more trouble.

He was delighted at how easily he could take candy from babes: the people who tricked him the first time, were not so clever this time. They fell into his trap, and built a superfluous tunnel for vehicular traffic, not wanted by many, but pushed for, strongly by a few.


And with their money, he invested in his many other development projects, like shopping malls, high rises and dry cleaners.

But, in a few years’ time, the people found that the tunnel they built was a terribly costly mistake: a heavy ration on fuel stopped truck and motorcar traffic dead. The tunnel cost too much to maintain, and soon, it cost too much to guard, as other countries needing resources—like water—began to penetrate into their country through the tunnel.

The people decided to dynamite the tunnel shut. And the Devil offered them their rocks from the initial drilling, but at a very high price —


— This time, a goat would not do…he wanted the souls of all the people.

what ship is that?

How to recognize the sailing vessels that will be (hopefully) out on the water soon. These are USCG certified passenger vessels, some have holds that once carried cargo but have now have been converted into berths. Contacts are provided if you would like to try to charter one:

Schooner Pioneer:
Built: 1885, in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania
Docked at: Pier 16
Material: Steel Hull, Iron Frames
Length: 102 ft.
Breadth: 22 ft.
Draft: 4.5 ft. (w/centerboard up) 12 ft. (w/centerboard down)
Mast Height: 76.6 ft.
Sail Area: 2,737 sq. ft.
Passenger Capacity: 35
Master: Richard Dorfman, with the South St Seaport Museum

Once carried sand for the iron working process, has a good large hold and two conveniently located hatches. Berths and galley have been taken out. However, she is a busy passenger vessel and will probably be doing harbor tours for the Seaport Museum this sailing season.

Schooner Lettie G. Howard:
Docked at: Pier 16
Material: Wood hull, masts, spars
Length: 125.4 ft.
Breadth: 21.1 ft.
Draft: 10.6 ft.
Sail Area: 5,072 sq. ft.
Crew: 7-9

Docked at pier 17; currently under repair. Good size fish hold, as she once fished on the Georges Banks, but the space has been converted to berths for passenger overnight trips. If you can get a berth for a trip once she’s up and running, do it.

Schooner Adirondack:
Built: 1994, Scarano Boat, Albany, NY
Docked at: Chelsea Piers
Material: Douglas Fir , cedar, teak, and mahogany.
Length: 80 ft
Draft : 8.6 ft.
Sail Area – 2,000 sq. ft.
Passenger Capacity: 49 passengers

Strictly a passenger vessel for Classic Harbor Line, but one of our fastest schooners.

Schooner Imagine:
Docked at: Chelsea Piers
Built: 1997, Scarano Boat
Length: 78 feet
Passenger Capacity: 49 passenger

update: renamed Adirondack II

Sloop Clearwater:
Docked at: 79th st Boat Basin
Length: 106 ft
Mast Height: 108 ft.
Sail Area: 4,305 sq. ft.

Pride and joy of the Hudson River, this is the tried and true ship for our waters. She’s busy with her environmental mission, but if we were to build cargo sailing vessels for our waterway corridor, it would look like her. More information here.

Schooner Shearwater:
Built: 1929, Rice Brothers Shipyard, East Boothbay, Maine
Docked at: North Cove
Materials: Wood; Teak, Mahogany, Native White Oak Georgia Pine
Length: 82.5 ft
Beam: 16.5 ft
Draft: 10 ft
Mast Height: 85 ft

Schooner Clipper City
Docked at: Pier 17, NY

More information here, the Clipper City illustration is coming!

Illustrations and information to come on the following passenger vessels:

Sloop Ventura:
Docked at: North Cove, NY

Schooner Mary E.:
Docked at: City Island, NY

Schooner Liberty:
Docked at: Liberty Marina, Jersey City, NJ

Schooner Richard Robbins:
Docked at: Lincoln Harbor, Weehawken, NJ

Quinnipiac (CT)

*** the Quinnie has education programs for the season, however the Master of this special vessel is open for possible cargo carrying off season; a fellow advocate of sailing cargo commands this vessel. More information here.

A.J.Meerwald  Rosemary Ruth

what ship is that?

Hamburg CoastLink

Many, many heartfelt thanks to CoastLink and David Cheslin, Gavin Roser, Antje Wiechern and Margaret Williamson! Coastlink (headquarters in the UK) is an organization dedicated to the promotion of short sea and feeder container shipping in Europe. An incredibly informative conference was held in Hamburg last month, with presentations from major ports and a few new start-up ports. Representatives from ports in the Mediterranean/North Africa, Russia as well as several ones in Germany spoke.  To hear what was happening in short sea shipping today in Europe was eye-opening and borderline deflating, for we are so very behind in this country.

How many out there would like to band together to purchase a few cranes and open a little port near the train station? On a  large and professional scale, the Port of Workington did it.

David invited me to speak a bit on New York Harbour as Hamburg is facing the same issues of accommodating the new PanaMax containerships; they lack the air draft problem but have the water depth and dredging issues. It was an educational experience the whole way: a thumbdrive is a “USB stick.” And to them, a torch is allowed onboard: it’s a flashlight, not the open flaming thing we hunt monsters with in the woods. And I will present soon other things I learned from CoastLink. Thank you, again, David and Everyone!

Here is the slide show I presented:


I am an illustrator and have a blog on NYHarbor where I put up stories:

I am also a part-time deck hand on this hydrographic survey vessel.

This auspicious image…

…started off my surveying adventures: the single-beam sonar caught our boat’s wheel wash and the bottom below.

We have surveyed all around this island…

There is water access all around the island of Manhattan, into the boroughs of the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, connecting New Jersey, and out the Long Island Sound.
To the north runs the Hudson, up the incredible locks of the New York State and Champlain canals. Access to the Finger Lakes region is through the NYS Canal system that is 524 miles long.

Westward are the indomitable salt marshes, the silting arteries of the Passaic  and Hackensack, the very busy Kill van Kull and Arthur Kill, the Raritan river which once connected us to Delaware via a canal now long gone.

Passaic (80 mi/129 km)

Hackensack (45 mi/72 km)

Kill van Kull (3 mi/(4.8 km)

Arthur Kill (10 mi/16 km,)

Raritan river (16 mi/25.7 km)

The East river mingles with the Bronx River, and flows out into the mighty Long Island Sound and beyond. Or, runs inland as the Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal. Out the Narrows, the waters flow through Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook…and out to sea.

East river (16 mi/26 km)

Bronx River(24 miles/39 km)

Newtown Creek (3.5 mi /6 km)

Gowanus Canal (1.4 mi/2.3 km)

Hackensack, Hoboken, Navesink, Lackawanna, Passaic, Raritan, Secaucus, Weehawken… these names tell me where these places are. However, to the Native American tribes who lived here, these names also described the water, which would reveal the food that was to be found there: the fish, the flora, the animals. And as nothing was wasted, it would also mean tools, skins and furs. Water, food, clothing, shelter: all are human necessities. The ships that ply our waters do bring clothing and materials to make shelter. However, food is not transported by water here: it is all flown and trucked in, most of it is brought to one place.

We have a ‘warehouse on wheels’ model. Whatever we need, we call in and order. Our stores operate the same way: including food stores.

“…there is less than a week’s supply of food in the entire food chain, while consumers—in contrast to America before 1960—hold less than a week’s worth of food at home…In their refrigerators.”

We depend upon the fact that the bridges will stay standing, the tunnels will remain clear, and that the roads that lead into the city will not be overwashed by storm surge. And that trucks can continue to roll in, rumbling over the abused bridges, tunnels and roads, burning fossil fuels in thick snarled traffic, beating up the infrastructure even more, and releasing pollutants into the air.

There are initiatives to bring regionally-grown produce into the New York Metropolitan area by water (please see “Alliances” for some of their links). The longest in the game have been the NY Soil and Water Conservancy, The Lower Hudson – Long Island RC&D Council with the USDASustainable Ports, HARVEST, Floating Food, the ShipCoop and others have joined either forces and resources or are working independently, and the number of good people with the desire to contribute to the cause is growing.

Of the models being discussed, the one which is the closest to being assembled and set into action is clean tug and barge work.
Roughly 60% of the tugs in the harbor are involved solely with petroleum transportation by barge, 30% do ship/barge-assist, and perhaps 10% move other things: aggregates (sand, gravel & stone), cement, scrap metal, paper recyclables, dredge spoils.

The tugs and barges are ready.  In some cases there are ships which would be better suited for the job. For example, Ro-Ro’s onto which trucks can be driven and transported. Passenger ferries with freight-carrying capabilities, would another model. However, we have many beautiful old single screw tugs, historic tugs all along the Hudson and up into the NYS Canal System that could take on the shipping work right away.

There are many obstacles, of which the large subsidies to trucking is the hardest to beat. Maintenance of truck-abused roads, bridges, and tunnels, and the costs of traffic congestion, air and water pollution, and accidents: these are all , or mostly, externalized costs not factored into the user-end price of trucking that is paid by a cargo consignee or the retail price of goods and services paid by consumers. A good report is here, published by the US Government Accountability Office “Surface Freight Transportation – A Comparison of the Costs of Road, Rail and Waterways Freight Shipments That Are Not Passed on to Consumers.”

An undeniable physical barrier is that which surrounds Manhattan: walled off waterfronts with no where to tie up:

We have the bollards, but they are lawn furniture.

Where there was once active piers, docks and slips, there is now crumbling remains.

And new construction does not have room for the working vessels. Unless it is a yacht.

Pier 57 was once an engineering marvel: a pier that was built upon three giant concrete blocks, used to receive ship passengers. And today? Abandoned.

The old warehouses of Erie Basin once stored sugar, grain, cotton, spices, flax, hemp, jute, wood, indigo, india rubber, leather, dried fruit, seeds, tobacco,
cocoa, coffee. They also let you drop your cobblestones ship ballast for a fee. Put in your application here today.

All along the waterfront you will find places that once welcomed passenger or cargo laden ships which now no longer do. If the infrastructure to dock a vessel is lacking, we will refit old landing crafts and pull ourselves upon the shore to unload goods. Except that there is hardly any  ground upon which to land. U Thant Island is taken.

Until recently, the waterfront was incredibly important and active:

A good write up is to be found here from Fordham University on how this was lost. The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 created the Interstate Highway and Defense Highways, essentially a massive subsidy to trucking (the least efficient means of freight transportation that exists besides air freight), relegating rail and shipping to second-class status.

Railroad cars once floated across the river, bringing in raw materials from the hinterlands and sending off manufactured goods back. The Erie Lackawanna terminal, hemmed in by development, has been beautiful preserved and will one day serve as a ferry slip, but is currently used more for film and photoshoots.

The NYNJRail, is the only cross-harbor rail barge service left. Once, hundreds of these carfloats would traverse the harbor daily. Keep an eye out for the Cross Harbor Freight Program.

Perhaps the most beautiful building in the harbor is the Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal.

Kudos to NJ for preserving this site, which is now on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Passengers and goods once travelled inland: today, it is a quiet sanctuary, living proof of Nature’s indefatigable force. Nothing we make–with all our might!–is going to last.

Everywhere around the harbor, testaments to the once-productivity of this city are to be found. The Domino Sugar factory is being condominumized.

Old factories built to last, last. But the industries themselves have not.Even upriver,  one can pass by abandoned plants, like the Adirondack Power and Light Company,

or this unnamed carpet factory. Mills, lumberyard, factories have all closed and the towns have never fully recovered from the loss of work.

Small family owned stores that were once plentiful and placed about in neighborhoods have been forced out, replaced by the Walmarts and KMarts which require a car to reach. Public transportation to the megacomplexes do not exist. The youth, lacking ways to getting to the malls, have no easy ways of earning wages, nor any venues in which to social. Gang activity is high in some towns.

The Henry Street Grain Elevator stands behind tanks,

and the old Todd Ship Yard cranes are now decorations for the IKEA shoppers to pass as they park over the largest graving dock that was filled in for their cars.

The loss of industry affects the maritime industry. There was once great a demand for tugs and experienced crews to run them. In the last two years, we lost two women-owned local tug companies.

What, then, does this city produce?

Garbage. Recyclables. Babies.

And  wastes. Here is the Dept of Environmental Protection‘s “honeyboat” bringing sludge from the Newtown Creek to the 134st dewatering plant. The human wastes are treated, dried, pelletized and sold for fertilizer for non-organic salad growers. Yet another reason to go organic.

So, that is what this city produces.

There is shipping activity, and even some short sea shipping activity: small containers on barge.

Oil is moved about, in barges or in small tankers.

Cruise ships, ferries, water taxis, tourist boats are on the water.

The fishing industry is active.

Recreational vessels abound, to the chagrin of the working mariner. Kayakers, swimmers all go in the drink.

Government vessels like this Army Corps of Engineer Driftmaster constantly ply the waters. Coast guard, harbor police (“Harbor Charlie”), buoy tenders, ice breakers drift or speed by.

Restoration of historic vessels is also active. This old lightship is now a popular bar and restaurant.

There is no shortage of dredges, scows and their tugs and supply boats.

The Kill van Kull  (kill is ‘creek’ in dutch) was once at a natural depth of 15-18′, and home to rich beds of oysters, clams, and fishes, surrounded by salt marshlands. Today, this major shipping channel has been dredged to 50′ below mean low water.

The Army Corps of Engineers, with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has been working on the Harbor Deepening Project since the 1980′s. They have had to contend with a bottom made of soft and stiff clays, red shale, serpentine rock, glacial till, and granite. Different kinds of dredges are used for the different materials.

This cutter suction head was used to drill through hard bedrock as an alternative to blasting. For videos of how this works, view these dredge animations on the ACOE site.

Here is one of three spare cutter heads, with a total of 52 teeth in each of the helical jaws. The cost of a tooth (which weighs 16 kg / 35lbs) is between $150 and $180 each, depending on size and manufacturer.In the wheelhouse is a large heavy black cabinet which sometimes shakes, vibrates and ‘walks’ around as the cutter head grinds through the incredibly hard bedrock, and at the end of the 12-hr shift, several of the men have to move it back.

Many thanks to Capt. Bill Miller and Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., and Tugster for the dredge photos.

Where does the dredge spoil go?  as it is contaminated with PCP’s, special environmental buckets and scows are required to transport the spoil. Some of it is mixed with ash and concrete, and turned into landfill. For more information, you can download reports from the USACOE Dredged Material Management Plan for The Port of New York and the State of New Jersey.

Two golf courses have been created with dredge spoil: the Bayonne Golf Club, above, is an exclusive “scottish link” design. Liberty National is the other one.

Thanks to the ACOE of our and our army of dredgers, draft is not an obstacle to short sea shipping within the Harbor.

The air draft is however, an issue for some containerships. The air draft beneath the beautiful Bayonne Bridge varies with the tide between 151 and 156 feet.
(It was the longest steel arch bridge in the world when it opened on Nov. 15, 1931. Look for her sister bridge in the film, The King’s Speech, hanging in the office of Lionel Logue!)

$1.3 billion has been approved to raise this bridge up to 215 feet; and engineers intend to raise it while simultaneously keeping the bridge open to traffic. Many believe the project is necessary in order to accommodate larger container ships being built in anticipation of the widening of the Panama Canal in 2014. Here is the ACOE’s very thorough 69page reconnaissance report, created in 2009, the Bayonne Bridge Air Draft Analysis.

However, there are many who believe the raising of the bridge is an unwise use of money when there are better options.

See from Bridging the Gap by Andrew Willner

An obstacle to short sea shipping is certainly the lack of many small ports distributed about, and the lack of infrastructure: piers, docks, cranes, ramps, storage facilities.

Pictured above are the ports we have. A very good listing of all the port facilities and their facts can be found here.

In NYHarbor, it is illegal to handle cargo without going through the International Longshoremen’s Association.

I believe the going rate is $250 a lift: taking a container off a ship and setting it on wheels. Rolling and then transferring the container onto a smaller vessel would be another $250. Depending on where the vessel would be going, it might almost be worth it.

Jones Act. I’m not able to hold any sort of discourse on this complex subject but I surely can refer you to good people who can, and who would argue very intelligently for both sides of the case: those who want to upkeep the Jones Act to protect American workers and shipyards, and those who want to repeal or amend the Act to allow cheaper, foreign built ships to operate.

I can only say that if the Jones Act was completely repealed, many of my friends would be out of work, unable to compete with trained, cheap foreign labor, and we would lose what little manufacturing knowledge and ability we have.

Above: Union Dry Dock, before a captive audience.

More obstacles: policies that stack all odds against water transportation and lack of funds to change policy.

MARAD does not recognize the Hudson River, canal systems and the Sound as corridors, and will not approve new project designees until funding becomes available; MARAD will advise when they are accepting submitals. A meeting with the City Council revealed that they would like to see an full economitive study or white paper on watertransportation of regional produce, but do not have the funds to support one. The USDA has zero’d out all funds for the Hudson River Foodway Corridor initiative for this year. Coffers are bare.

dear Rigmor from Bornholm DK stands in front of a MARSEC sign at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.

Alternating between an (expensive) inconvenience to an absolute obstacle could be the tight security the government imposes upon all marine actions. At the time of this talk, the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) was in place, but has since been replaced. Which is good, because they never did use the blue or the green Level plates. They probably did not even have them made. The fear and suspicion that 9/11’s acts of terrorism has inculcated into law enforcement has affected all mariners, and affects even the workings of maritime photographers and sketchers with big drawing pads.

Dept Homeland Security’s TWIC program (Transportation Workers Identity Card) is a redundundant ID card, issued by Lockheed Martin, and not terribly popular with some mariners, as compiled here. You cannot move about waterfront areas without one, but you cannot move anywhere with one, either.

“The National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, replaces the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS). This new system will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.”

Though not an obstacle as much as a frustration, new piers are being constructed for strolling of park goers and not for working mariners. However, it is a wonderful, hopeful beginning. It would be very good if those with funding to build such projects would consult with marine experts. Understandably, as park piers were not initially constructed with marine industry in mind, we’re happy with what we get.

Eagerly awaited new piers have large yokohama fenders appropriate for big ships hanging over water of depths of 6 to 10m. Tiny gates too small for ship brows and ramps are placed in front of pile clusters and bollards, and pier furniture blocks the entrances. However, they absolutely do deserve praise for building piers.

Crumbling, yet working, piers is what you will find in the Newtown Creek and the Gownus Canal:

“One of the most polluted industrial sites in America…containing years of discarded toxins, an estimated 30 million gallons of spilled oil, and raw sewage from New York City’s sewer system.  Newtown Creek was proposed as a potential Superfund site in September 2009,  and received that designation on September 27, 2010…Since there is no current in the creek, sludge has congealed into a 15-foot-thick (4.6 m) layer of “black mayonnaise” on the creek bed.”

3.5 mi (6 km) long, the Newtown Creek has vessel traffic going to the fuel tanks, pumping stations, waste treatment facilities, and recycling facilities.

Excavated in 1881 for commercial shipping and barge traffic, the Gowanus Creek became the Gowanus Canal. Lined with small industries and neighboring residential areas with chic bars and restaurants, it is a navigable channel: 7,500′ long, 100′ wide, and of depths from 4′ to 16′.

For over a hundred years, oil refineries, machine shops, gas and chemical plants, soap makers and tanneries all indiscriminately dumped industrial pollutants; compounded with discharges, storm water runoff, and sewer outflows, this water body ranks as the nation’s most extensively contaminated, pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to designate the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site on 2 March 2010. Read more on the ACOE’s Gowanus Canal and Bay Restoration Study.

However, the bridges work: here is a well-organized listing of the bridges. A call to the USDOT at (201) 400–5243 at least 4 hours in advance will insure that an operator is there to open the Hamilton Avenue Bridge, unless it is under maintenance.

According to the New York State Highway Bridge Data, “Based upon data submitted to the Federal Highway Administration in April 2010, about 12 percent of the highway bridges in New York State are classified, under the broad federal standards, as structurally deficient and about 25 percent are classified as functionally obsolete… ”

The incredible New York Canal System is an inland waterway that runs 524 miles into NY State, connecting the Hudson River, Lakes Champlain, Ontario and the Finger Lakes, the Niagara River and Lake Erie, passing through 25 counties and close to 200 villages, hamlets and towns. Depth and height restrictions are found here.

The locks are well-built and well-cared for, maintaining the equipment seems to be a source of pride with the operators. If the power went out, the locks would still work. “It would take 6 of us,” one man told me, “but we’d get you through.” Look here at Tug44‘s homage to the beautiful equipment and machinery!

There are many small regional farms located near water. We have the best land for producing dairy, and yet large subsidies to giant agribusinesses make milk from states across the continent ubiquitous and cheaper in the stores. The land upstate produces the best apples, yet in stores, apples from Washington state are trucked in and carried.

As one observer said at an Outdoors America conference on supporting upstate farms: “This IS a homeland defense issue!”

But the challenges goad us into being more resourceful:

(source unknown: pls notify us of owner of this photo, thank you)

if these good fellows had TWIC cards, we’d be set.

(source unknown: ditto)

And, we are willing to try anything. We might even have to go to the Big Guy: maybe Santa would let us charter his rig for off-season rates so we could ship by reindeer and sleigh:

photo: Bill Bensen

all other photos either by Capt Joel Milton or Christina Sun©2011

I have two other wonderful hosts to thank: Vielen danke e grazie to Hamburg urban planner and lighting designer,  Mario Bloem e Donata for food, shelter, technology and true friendship–

Mario: “No, Christina. NO more than 30 slides, otherwise it will be like those friends who show you their vacation photos, and if you bore them, it will be bad karma.”


Hamburg CoastLink

to market, to market! come!

Foodshed is a year-round, indoor farmers’ market on Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, open every Sunday from 11:00-5:00. Here are two submissions for their poster contest:

And come on down to the New Amsterdam Market’s Oyster Saloon!

Saturday, April 9
5pm – 10pm

The Oyster Saloon takes place at the site of the original Fulton Fish Market, established in this Market District in the 1830’s. This event will be held just outside of the Fulton Fish Market Tin Building (1907), the third riverfront market shed constructed at this location: click on South Street between Fulton Street and Beekman Street. The Oyster Saloon will be outdoors, under cover.

I’ll be there, shucking!

to market, to market! come!

ship and be happy

Calling all available vessels! calling all shippers and consignees!

The NYHarbor Shipping Cooperative is working with many good people: come aboard!

What do we have?


and barges:

sloops and schooners*

*(note: the appearance of a particular vessel here does not indicate its membership or affiliation with the ShipCo-op, nor readiness to begin carrying cargo.)

ferries and water taxis

dories, workboats, kayaks, dinghies

Why ship?

We are surrounded by water. Watertransport of cargo is the most efficient method of tranport, above rail and most definitely above trucking. (Studies & illustrations to come.)

Manhattan is in red, amid the waters that have always nourished it.

To the north runs the Hudson, up the incredible locks of the New York State and Champlain canals. Access to the Finger Lakes is through the NYState Canal system.

Westward are the indomitable salt marshes, the silting arteries of the Passaic and Hackensack, the very busy Kill van Kull and Arthur Kill, the Raritan river which once connected us to Delaware via a canal now long gone.

The East river mingles with the Bronx River, and flows out into the mighty Long Island Sound and beyond. Or, runs inland as the Newtown Creek and the Gowanus. Out the Narrows, the waters flow through Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook…and out to sea.

Short Sea Shipping, Harbor Shipping, Blue Highway, Marine Highway…however you say it, please bring it here!

Currently, our freight comes in as containerized cargo to New Jersey (Port Elizabeth, Port Newark, Jersey City-Bayonne), Staten Island (Howland Hook), and Brooklyn (Red Hook).  Everything is then mostly trucked around, with only some things moving off by rail.

Short Sea Shipping is the use of smaller vessels to bring goods from the central container terminals to various little ports around our city to get it all off the streets, and to you, via the water.

Your computer. Your clothing. Your chair. Your shoes. Your cup. The beverage in your cup (unless it’s good ol’ NYC tap–the best!). The dinner you will have tonight (unless you grew it yourself on your fire escape or illegally shot it in the park):  all these things we consume do not truly reflect what it cost to bring to you if we were to factor in the work and maintenance on roads, bridges, tunnels alone. (Not even going onto the topic of stress on the Mothership, yet.)

We are behind. Roughly 40% of freight in Europe moves by short sea shipping. And in Hongkong: mid-stream operation.

Notice, above, how many piers there were in 1933? A bit of history here on how we lost it.

Here is what it might look like. As long as I am allowing my imagination to run amok and it is all theoretical, I shall be generous:

the newtown creek floating market & pick up point

oh, and while i’m fantasizing:

See also: America’s Marine Highways and Deep Water Writing

More information to come. Please check back soon! Thank you!

source: Texas Transportation Instituteship

ship and be happy

Hudson River Foodway Corridor

The US Department of Agriculture is coming onboard!

“This project seeks to demonstrate that locally grown New York agricultural products can be distributed from upstate New York farms to urban centers downstate using intermodal
transportation systems as an energy efficient approach, establishing a Hudson River Foodway Corridor.”

Read the document here:


Sponsored by:

Lower Hudson-Long Island Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc.

Hudson River Foodway Corridor

America’s Great Outdoors

If you have an idea for conserving our Nature and reconnecting people to the outdoors send it along to the following site:


Please join senior representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other federal agencies for a public listening session on conservation, recreation and reconnecting people to the outdoors. The session will be held Friday, August 6, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in the Hudson River Valley—whose magnificent landscapes served as the cradle of American History.

This past April at the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors, President Obama signed a memorandum establishing the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to develop a conservation agenda worthy of the 21st century and to reconnect Americans with our great outdoors.  The President understands that protecting and restoring the lands and waters that we love and reconnecting people to the outdoors must happen at the local level.

Therefore, President Obama directed the principal leaders of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to travel across the country to listen and learn from people directly involved in finding grassroots solutions to conserving our lands and waters and reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.  The President indicated that the sessions should engage the full range of interested groups, including tribal leaders, farmers and ranchers, sportsmen, community park groups, foresters, youth groups, businesspeople, educators, state and local governments, and recreation and conservation groups.

The Hudson Valley has an important place in conservation history and was one of the first regions in the country designated by Congress as a National Heritage Area.  Its natural resources and beauty have inspired collaborative conservation initiatives that are helping revitalize urban and town centers and rural communities.  A private conservation movement is protecting working farms, safeguarding critical water resources, and supporting a vibrant tourism industry. Public-private partnerships are helping people enjoy, protect and revitalize the river and Valley.

The August 6th public listening session and discussion are an opportunity for leaders of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to hear from you and other voices in the Hudson Valley about solutions for building a 21st-century conservation and recreation agenda and for reconnecting people with the outdoors. Here are the details.

Listening Session and Discussion Information
When: Friday, August 6, 9:00 a.m. – noon

Where: Marist College, Student Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

For directions, go to:

Who: Senior Washington, D.C., and local leadership from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies will be present to hear your thoughts and to participate in a conversation with you about America’s Great Outdoors.

Please Register: This event is free and open to the public.  For planning purposes it would be helpful if you would pre-register by Tuesday, August 3 by sending an email to with your name, the name of the organization with which you are affiliated, if any, and your telephone number. Include in your email your primary area of interest by noting your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of the Concurrent Breakout Listening Sessions listed below. We will make every effort to accommodate everyone. Please also let us know if you have any special needs.

In the event you are unable to participate in person, please submit your comments and stories via the America’s Great Outdoors website at

If you have questions, please contact Joseph Heller at (845) 883-7162, Extension 104 or

We hope you will participate and look forward to hearing from you.

Choice of Concurrent Breakout Listening Sessions:

1.      Conservation of working farms, forests, and coastal areas.
2.      Reconnecting people with the outdoors through recreation and education.
3.      Creating a healthy river: Conserving and restoring important habitat and blueways.
4.      General session for those who do not want to designate a specific topic.

Peter Seeger will be there!

America’s Great Outdoors

Focusing Resources, Economic Investment and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010

Three Senators, lead by Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, introduced a bill that would make it the policy of the United States “to improve the efficiency, operation, and security of the national transportation system to move freight.” The bill, titled Focusing Resources, Economic Investment and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010, enumerates five primary objectives to achieve this policy goal:

•    Reduce delays at international points of entry
•    Increase travel time reliability on major freight corridors
•    Reduce by 10 percent the number of freight related fatalities by 2015
•    Reduce national freight related CO2 levels by 40 percent by 2030
•    Reduce freight related air, water, and noise pollution

The bill establishes within the Department of Transportation an Office of Freight Planning and Development, and gives the DOT two years to develop a National Freight Transportation Strategic Plan that would guide federal investment to achieve these goals.

The bill also establishes a competitive grant program to provide funding for capital investments for freight projects. These grants could go towards projects such as port or intermodal facility improvement, freight rail improvement or capacity expansion, and Intelligent Transportation Systems to reduce congestion.  It also mandates that the DOT develop new tools “to support an outcome-oriented, performance-based approach to evaluate proposed freight-related” projects.

read more here:

Focusing Resources, Economic Investment and Guidance to Help Transportation (FREIGHT) Act of 2010


pls leave your contact information below if:

• you have a ship, boat, or tug ready to transport goods,
• you are an able-bodied person ready to work on a vessel,
• you have cargo bikes,
• you can cycle goods on a trailer or cargo bike from the waterfront to the buyer