Some weeks ago I got an email from Carolina Salguero informing me that she was hoping to resurrect her once-excellent but lately dormant blog about efforts to refurbish the Mary Whalen, the 172 foot long rust-bucket of a tanker that she has adopted like a stray kitten. She mentioned that she would momentarily be moving the Mary Whalen from her most recent home in the Red Hook container port, to a new, but also temporary berth in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, that vast pocket of crumbling industry wedged between
Weeks passed, and when I did think of
In my case this was a bit of a charade, since the sum total of my work aboard amounted to a couple of hours of painless schlepping, many months ago, on a warm and sunny day at the end of spring. After that morning I managed to let an entire summer and fall season of volunteer days slide by without another visit.
Last Sunday was a chilly one, but we try never to let an opportunity to get out onto the waters of New York harbor go unseized, so, bundled up and fortified with bagels, we trudged down Van Brunt street to the container port.
The tug Nathan Stewart, lashed tight to the Mary Whalen in the container port.
The irrepressible John Weaver prepares to hoist the gangway on deck. In every picture in which Weaver appears he wears this broad, warm grin, perhaps delighting in the fact that, even if only under tug power, the Mary Whalen is once again setting out to sea. In a moment of idle Googling, Weaver and his wife, the daughter of a long-serving captain of the Mary Whalen back in her days of active duty, discovered
Under way at last, lower
In a particularly inspired moment,
Raise the Roof! As the wicked winds of winter came whistling in over the waves, many danced to stave off the chill, shaking their groove things to the funky brass band sounds of the Hungry March Band.
I counted at least six video cameras on board filming the historic event, from the palm-sized to the professional. It is starting to feel as though everyone is making a documentary about something. However, despite all the cameras, there were no working soundmen participating in this media frenzy, which may explain why I don't have any gigs at the moment. This dude, from Channel 12, was doing his own sound the hard way. I would have thought having to hold a hand mic for the interview you are filming would seriously limit your ability to choose and hold a nice frame. In the business, this is known as the "one-man band," or "one-man banding it," and we sound brethren frown on this sort of behavior, for obvious reasons. I'm going to complain to my union, if I can get anyone on the phone over there.
Home, sweet ghetto. The new digs in the
Adieu Red Hook: The Mary Whalen at her new berth in the Navy Yard. I know this picture looks as if it had been taken from on board the tug as it heads back south, the day's work done, but that would only be possible if the Nathan Stewart had kindly offered us a lift back to the neighborhood, which they couldn't have, because their insurance and other policies wouldn't permit it. So, in short, I have no idea how this picture came into existence.