The MARY turns 80! PortSide turns 13!

Our ship MARY A. WHALEN made history! She turns 80 on May 21, 2018, and you can visit for art-making and TankerTours on Sunday May 20. She is the only oil tanker in the world open for public culture, education and job-training programs! Come visit! Come get to know PortSide NewYork! We turn 13 this month!

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Paint the ship red! Free cassoulet in return!

I don't know when the last time is that you painted a ship or when you had a great cassoulet; but I do know that this Saturday could be the next time for both!

Come and join us in Red Hook and make the Mary A Whalen red again! (And varnished!)

Stuff your friendly face with the best French dish ever! Cooked by real Frenchman Nicolas Anderson of Red Hook.

Beautiful weather ahead, 4 hours commitment minimum

Sat 11/19, 10am to 4pm

Work is sanding, painting, varnishing 

Please RSVP to Chiclet@portsidenewyork.org

Getting here:

Lots of free parking next to ship!

Directions at http://portsidenewyork.org/visitor-info/

Bus and Citibike info in real time on our Red HookWaterStories project site https://redhookwaterstories.org/. Click last two layers on the map icon.

Guest supervisor, His Bigness Paul Kennedy, railroad mechanic. Double whammy, learn about trains and ships!

Additional bonus, selfies with world-famous shipcat Chiclet!

Thanks!

Info on volunteering in general at http://portsidenewyork.org/volunteer/

Future plans for last of her kind, the tanker MARY A. WHALEN

We have news.

The MARY A. WHALEN is now the last of her kind in the USA. That’s because the tanker JOHN B. CADDELL, Staten Island’s symbol of Sandy’s wrath, has been scrapped. (See slide show right.)

Hurricane Sandy put the JOHN B. CADDELL on EDC property and cost the City a lot of money in fuel spill abatement, ship removal, ship storage and legal fees before the Sherriff’s auction.

At PortSide, we are very proud that we saved our MARY A. WHALEN from Sandy damage AND from damaging the property of others by breaking loose or riding up on to the pier.

Thanks to that, the MARY A. WHALEN is now a symbol of resilience, as is PortSide NewYork! Only the tough survive eight years of operating as a pop-up while looking for a home as we have.

Future-oriented mission for our historic ship

We love our historic ship and want to make clear that we use her for a forward-looking purpose.

PortSide was founded to bring change to NYC’s waterfront and waterways, by advocacy and by the example of business and programs at a place called PortSide NewYork that we will create.  The MARY A. WHALEN is our ambassador on that mission and will come and go from that place spreading the message, and our programs.

We recently retooled our official language to make the relationship of tanker and PortSide, our present and our future clearer.  Here it is. Let us know what you think. We welcome your feedback!

PortSide is a living lab creating a vision for 21st century urban waterfronts – and waterways.  Our focus is the water part, the BLUEspace, the Sixth Borough of NYC.

Our goal is to create a place that shows how to combine the working waterfront, public access and community development.

Our education, culture, workforce development and neighborhood promotion programs - all on a water theme –bring the community afloat and the community ashore together – for the benefit of all.

Building on our Sandy recovery work - which won us an award from the White House and honors from the NYS Senate - PortSide is developing flood preparedness and resiliency programs and will curate and house a resiliency center.

We export our programs via our ambassador, the historic ship, the MARY A. WHALEN, the only oil tanker in the world delivering public programs.

Help us continue this work and grow our programs

Support our fundraiser on Tuesday 10/28/14Resiliency is our HOOK.” Buy a ticket. Become a sponsor. Join the Host Committee and help sell tickets before the event. It will be a fun event with the rollicking Dixieland jazz of the Red Hook Ramblers and the great food and casual ambiance of Hometown Bar-B-Que restaurant.  We greatly appreciate your support!   As do the people and businesses who benefit from our resiliency work!



Great strides on the galley renovation! Update on "This Old-Ship-Kitchen" project

In between bouts of snow shoveling (will it ever end?!) we have been beavering away on the galley renovation.

Carolina Salguero & Paul Amico getting ready for sanding.

Carolina Salguero & Paul Amico getting ready for sanding.

As happens with renovating old things, the project got bigger as our work uncovered hidden problems which we will then fix. Thanks to this project, the MARY A. WHALEN will be stronger as well as better looking! 

As also happens with an educational institution like PortSide, renovation has strong components of historical research and becomes a program, an opportunity to teach you the reader, our December volunteer, and even us!

If you are joining the story here, this galley project kicked off when someone got in touch out of the blue to volunteer 40+ hours a week throughout December. That hero was Erika Stetson, an Air Force vet who was going to benefit by getting a crash course in ship maintenance to better prepare her for entering SUNY Maritime College in January. 

Working with Erika had a double benefit for PortSide NewYork: it enabled us to fulfill our mission to use the MARY A. WHALEN for maritime training AND get a lot of renovation done.

According to Erika her stint with us helped her!  In early January she emailed to say “I was named the honor cadet (top cadet) in my section. I also got chosen for a program with only 18 spots. It allows me to live aboard the ship full time as well as work aboard for about 20 hours per week. This gives me the chance to get a lot more shipwork experience on my resume over the next three years, a lot more mentorship from the mates, and eliminates my housing costs.”  She feels that getting familiar with air tools and the like aboard Mary Whalen probably helped her application for the berthing.

Painting is about to start. We could use volunteers! Get in touch if you want to help.

Renovation update

Erika Stetson was a December powerhouse of paint removal with HEAVY of work on chipping hammer and needlegun. She was joined over the Christmas holidays by Steve Swift, the ex-Engineer of ERNESTINA who helped us stabilize the Sandy damage to our replacement engine parts over Christmas 2012. Thank you, Steve, two years running!

Peter Rothenberg and others followed up with grinders. All paint has come off the rudder post, the exterior of the cabinets and the steel bulkhead by the stove, the skylight area, overhead beams and other spots.

The plate rack and two shelves were removed for stripping at East End Wood Strippers (recently of Union Street in Gowanus) who are donating their labor to this project.

131221 original green (5).JPG
131228 TeapotandPaint.JPG

As paint layers came off, we are tryig to suss out the original color scheme. Amidst many layers of paint, we find a soft apple green (a 1930s hue revived by Martha Stewart) on the bulkheads wrapping around the curve of the space.  The color matches a vintage teapot (at right) donated to us by John Weaver, son-in-law of MARY A. WHALEN Captain Alf Dryland.  The cabinets under sink and counter were always white, as was the rudder post and the overhead.  The forward bulkhead near the stove went through many colors, and we find the green by the stove. It was always white underneath the skylight, with the white there helping to bounce the sunlight into the space.

After Erika, Peter Rothenberg and the CUNY crew went after the detail work

We gave ourselves a lull in dust-production between the needle gunning and the sanding.  Three of our four CUNY Service Corps students Joshua Washington, Trevor Colliton and Chris  Zoupanitiotis stepped in to handle the delicate job of stripping paint off the Monel metal and the tiles on the floor with chemical stripper. They never worked in the dust. The fourth "CUNY" Renee Fayzimatova was off during January break.

The "CUNYs" were reversing the work of someone crazy for painting back in the day – some black floor tile was painted black and much of the decorative metal was painted-- the Monel porthole surrounds, plate rack and stove hood.  Getting the paint off the bronze portholes is very hard by hand, so the plan is to remove them completely and take them to the Paint Strippers Company along with the shelves.

Needle gunning inside the cabinets exposed a weakness related to MARY’s good looks.

The sides of the MARY’s house lean slightly inward which gives her lines greater grace; but that means that if portholes are not closed perfectly tight, the water running down the outside of the ship will run right into the boat.

What that means is rust from the inside.  As someone said “these old boats rot from the inside out.” Add to that sink leaks (but not our watch!) which evaporated near the hot galley stove and condensed over by the rudder post.  The galley cabinets had no air holes, so the space became a humid terrarium with cycles of evaporation and condensation.  (We will be installing cabinet vents on the sides where they will not change the look of the space.)

As a result of 75 years of the "terrarium effect," we found wasted steel: Carolina Salguero holed the exterior steel while needle gunning (though well above the waterline!), and Erika went through some of the cabinet steel near the sink.

Thanks to the wonders of the wonders of pricey Splash Zone epoxy, metal screen and self tapping screws and Paul Amico cramming himself into the small cabinet, small patches were screwed to fill the holes, with the patches to be finished off with Marine Tex epoxy.  Corroseal or Ospho (more pricey stuff, time to donate, Dear Reader) rust converter stops the rust dead before we repaint.

At one point, Paul couldn’t back out from under the sink and had to pull himself around through most of the cabinets!  That show (below) really fascinated Chiclet who comes in to inspect whenever power tools are not running.

We also learned are that the cabinet drawers are probably not original, thanks to Paul Amico who explains,

"The existing galley drawers are fabricated from electrogalvanized sheet metal. This process was in its commercial infancy in the 1930's and wasn't truly perfected until the 1960's. It is commonly used in duct work and rarely used where it would have abrasive contact of any sort, such as where drawers rub on the rails. This contact would wear out the thin protective film of zinc which would nullify its true intention.  That, along with the fact that I haven't witnessed any other electrogalvanized metal on board, leads me to believe these are not original."

We now believe a large fan was bolted to this shelf.  Once we did some heavy sanding of this shelf, we found the outlines of two circular items which had been bolted on it over the years.

We now believe a large fan was bolted to this shelf.  Once we did some heavy sanding of this shelf, we found the outlines of two circular items which had been bolted on it over the years.

We presume the first drawers rusted out (leaks from the counter and portholes), and we're sure the current cabinet hardware is not original.  Once the cabinet paint was removed, we found the holes and marks of earlier hardware and are looking for 1930s latches that resemble the pattern of the holes. 

Conferring with the helpful folks on the tugboatinformation group of Facebook, which includes several former crew members of the MARY WHALEN or their sons, we think we have determined that one wood shelf held a large fan, and that another fan was bolted to the forward bulkhead right underneath the skylight. 

We’ll be looking for vintage fans to fit those footprints left behind in decades of paint.  We have also acquired some 1930 kitchen implements, appliances and housewares ads to give a sense of shipboard cooking at the time the MARY was launched. 

A fun and easy way to support the educational end of this project

A fun way to get involved is to buy original 1930s ads for food, appliances, housewares and kitchens on eBay for us.  Plenty of them only cost around $10!  Search "1930s kitchen"' for starters.  To give you an idea, we have ads for Brillo, Land-O-Lakes butter and a few more.  We would display the collection of ads in a binder during tours of the ship.  We have found that the galley is of great interest to people; and the fact that we have the original cast iron stove (and use it) and a wood paneled fridge and freezer, make the galley a good place for explaining food, dietary and domestic history.  We would also welcome more 1930s kitchenware and appliances, but please get in touch before you get any of those so we don't have redundancies!

Note: This blogpost lags about two weeks behind the work accomplished. Stay tuned for more!

PortSide NewYork Hyster eligible for National register of Historic Places

karry krane logo.jpg

Another triumph!  Another historic item for Red Hook! Our Hyster crane (built in 1941) has been deemed eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Places! and in record time~

What triggered this accomplishment

In just two days, the PortSide team researched the history of our 1941 Hyster and the history of this "Karry Krane" model, submitted an application to SHPO (the NYS Historical Preservation Office) to see if it was eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and got that application approved! 

We profusely thank the staff at SHPO for reviewing our application in just hours, and we also profusely thank Jenny Bernstein of FEMA who told us about the grant that prompted us to focus on the Hyster. The Hyster was flooded by Sandy, and the grant is for Sandy damage to historic and cultural resources. 

PortSide-NewYork-DOE-1941-Hyster-Karry-Krane.jpg

PortSide applied for funding to reverse Sandy damage to the Hyster and to the replacement parts for MARY A. WHALEN's engine which were in the shed. The grant does not cover damage to historic documents which were flooded by Sandy. 

We applied for for the Hyster, and for damages to MARY's engine parts we would use. (The grant would not cover damage to those engine parts we planned to sell to support the restoration of the MARY A. WHALEN's engine.)  Earlier this year, we applied for FEMA Sandy recovery funds for Sandy damages, but we do not yet know if we will get funding.  We did not apply until May 2013 because we were told in a November 2012 funding workshop that we were not eligible; that was corrected in May, at which point we immediately sought Sandy recover funds. 

Our total Sandy damages amount to $134,000

Crash course into the National Register of Historic Places

In short, getting on the National Register of Historic Places is a two-stage process: being "deemed eligible" and actually being listed. PortSide did the MARY A. WHALEN in two steps.  For something to be on eligible or listed, it has to be deemed historical significant in some or all of the following ways:

Is it associated with an important person, event, or movement in history? Does it represent a significant design or technology, or is it a special example of a particular style? Is it the work of a recognized master? Could it yield important archaeological information about our past?

Here is our full application to SHPO in two parts.

Determination of Eligibility (DOE) for listing on the National Register

Supplemental History of Michael Cowhey

SHPO's response was "{C}{C}{C}Thank you for pulling together this very compelling and fascinating history of the "Karry Krane"  in such a short amount of time!  Both myself and my colleague, Kath LaFrank of our NR Unit, have reviewed your submission and, based on the information provided, the Hyster "Karry Krane" is eligible for the State and National Registers of Historic Places.  The only other somewhat similar type of property in NYS that we've called eligible is a historic steam shovel in LeRoy, NY. "

We copy excerpts from our DOE application below.

The Hyster Karry Krane is currently parked alongside the MARY A. WHALEN in the Red Hook Containerport. PortSide will be moving to a publicly accessible site in Red Hook at GBX-Gowanus Bay Terminal, known as the site of the Port Authority Grain Terminal. It would be parked in a diagonal parking spot on Columbia Street due west of the Mary A. Whalen almost opposite the crosswalk coming from the southern end of IKEA’s waterfront park (the former Todd Shipyard). This would make it highly visible to people coming southbound to us on Columbia Street.

 
 

This site also puts it between two sites of great industrial significance during the period it represents.

To the west is IKEA which was the mighty Todd Shipyard, major to the war effort in WWII. To the east is our prospective landlord's property, currently called GBX, with the huge grain silo built in 1922.

The property just east of GBX is where our MARY A. WHALEN began her working life in 1938, the shipyard and fuel terminal of Ira S. Bushey & Sons. See attached photo to see what that looked like in 1946. Bushey built over 200 vessels in their day, and had many more built at two other yards. Vessels built at Bushey's are listed here

http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/5small/inactive/bushey.htm

Ira S. Bushey & Sons shipyard in 1941

Ira S. Bushey & Sons shipyard in 1941

Todd Shipyard boomed during WWII. There were mobile cranes like ours in use at Todd. We have yet to check if the grain terminal used them.

In short, on southern Columbia Street, our 1941 Hyster would be in a perfect spot to tell local industrial history and how and where such Hyseters were used. Forklifts are still being used both sides of Columbia Street at GBX, IKEA, Arizona, Erie Basin etc, so the Hyster will be relevant to ongoing industrial and commercial activity in Red Hook. We plan to hang an exhibit banner on Erie Basin's chain link fence with history of forklift machines. Our goal is to make the currently empty and dull Columbia Street esplanade into an open air museum with historical info and explanations of contemporary working waterfront activities installed all along it.

On Columbia Street, PortSide NewYork will be creating center of historical exhibitry. With the MARY A. WHALEN, already on the National Register of Historic Place, combined with PortSide public events using the street and esplanade, the Hyster will be central to a Columbia Street activated via cultural tourism, creating a new attraction within the industrial theme and history of this immediate site and emblematic of the Red Hook and Brooklyn working waterfront as a whole.

History In brief

The “Karry Krane” name was first used July 14, 1941. PortSide’s Crane is from 1941. PortSide’s crane is both one of the original Karry Kranes made and, while once common, is now one of the last of its kind.

This crane type was developed by Hyster during WWII and was very significant to the war effort here and overseas. It was used in shipbuilding facilities, in ports for cargo handling and for rebuilding after the war effort. It was such a useful vehicle that Hyster produced it overseas when it opened its first plant outside the USA in 1951. It became an international workhorse. We find documentation that shows it was used in New Zealand in addition to Europe.

This particular Hyster crane was last used by Cowhey Brother Marine Hardware in Red Hook which closed in 2005 and donated their final inventory to PortSide NewYork. The Cowhey family was in several forms of maritime business in Red Hook for about 140 years when three Cowheys wound down the business.

Cowhey’s bought the crane from the Staten Island Bethlehem Steel shipyard when that closed in the 1960s. We presume that the crane was new when purchased by Bethlehem Steel when that yard boomed during the war effort.

Physical description of the crane

The crane dimensions are:

Body length 12’ 4”
Length of boom 10’ 1”
Overall length 22’ 3”
Height of body 3’ 3”
Height of boom 10’ 8”

1940: By experimental use of tractor frames, an advanced type of mobile crane is developed, later named the “Karry Krane."

1952: Hyster opens its first plant outside the USA, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The Hyster 40” and the Karry Krane are the first machines to be assembled there.
Criteria for evaluation.

This 1941 Hyster Karry Krane meets the following National Regsiter criteria:

(a) that are associated with history of a prominent Red Hook family and business. It is the last sizeable artifact of that business. It is related to a collection of other artifacts we have for that business. This particular crane is related to maritime history of NYC (two sites, one in Red Hook, one in Staten Island). And the crane model is particularly related to WWII history everywhere this crane became a major workhorse
(d) that have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history. It is a means to tell stories related to the Cowhey family and business in Red Hook, the Bethlehem Steel shipyard in Staten Island, WWII and reconstruction operations in civilian and military applications.

History of the Hyster company

This is a 2.5 ton Hyster,the most popular World War 2,dock, lift and carry crane.they first came over on lease lend in 1941.

COLLECTION HYSTER KARRY KRANE MOBILE CRANE USAF USNAVY WWII

Establishing Willamette Ersted Co.
The company that would be known as Hyster Co. was founded by E.G. Swigert in 1929 under the name Willamette Ersted Co.[2] Initially, this company was established to manufacture logging winches for the forestry market in the Pacific Northwest, with headquarters in Portland, Oregon.

The Early Products
1934 saw the development of the straddle carrier with forks, which was one of the company’s earliest forklifts. Following this was the development of the BT, a forklift with a cable hoist system, able to lift 6,600 pounds (3,000 kg).[3] By 1940, the company began to manufacture its first piece of mobile lifting equipment, a mobile crane on a tractor frame, first known as a Cranemobile, later to be renamed Karry Krane. The Karry Kranes would prove to be very profitable for the company, as these lift trucks were used for loading and unloading massive cargo ships for importing and exporting purposes. In 1941, Willamette Ersted began recognizing a need for a smaller lift truck, and designed a new smaller model known as the Handy Andy. The following year, the Jumbo was introduced as the company’s first product to use pneumatic tires and a telescoping mast.

Operations in Peoria
In the company’s early years, one of its prominent customers was Caterpillar Tractor Co. Caterpillar held an exclusive contract with the company, whereby Willamette Ersted Co. would manufacture specialized winches for Caterpillar’s logging tractors. In light of this, the company decided in 1936 to open a warehouse and distribution center in Peoria, Illinois, where Caterpillar was headquartered. By 1940, Willamette Ersted Co. had begun full-scale manufacturing of products at its Peoria location.

For more info check out...  http://www.ritchiewiki.com/wiki/index.php/Hyster_Co.

 

History of the Cowhey family and their business in Red Hook

The story of this business is a means to cover several topics: how an immigrant family rises in stature, the growth of a marine business from “speculator” (eg, the maritime version of the scrap collectors with shopping carts today, someone who collected scrap metal by going boat to boat in the harbor), to a purveyor of nautical antiquities to the wealthy, then a marine hardware supplier and the operator of a port in Albany.
The Cowhey family grew in prominence in Red Hook from their speculator days in the 1860s, and at the peak of the business, they owned most of a block in the vicinity of their final outpost at 440 Van Brunt Street.
In 2005, as the business wound down, the Cowhey family operated a terminal in Albany of Federal Marine Terminals http://www.fmtcargo.com/.
Chronology of Cowhey family in Red Hook (for more, see attached history about Michael Cowhey)

John Cowhey started his business about 1862 [1937 obit says business started about 75 years ago]

By the time his son Michael Cowhey was running it, the business, John Cowhey Sons at 400 Van Brunt was a ship wrecking and salvage firm. The company was well known to decorators looking for nautical articles.

John Cowhey was famous for purchasing in 1911 the RELIANCE a racing yacht which one the America’s cup, dismantling her and selling her fittings and scrapping her parts. The 110-foot mast went to the Federal Baseball League park.

Michael Cowhey. d. 1937 had a wife Regina [or Margret according to a different source], a daughter Regina and two sons Thomas and John.

Thomas M. Cowhey in 1990 was the title holder to 440 Van Brunt which was built c. 1931, altered in 1957.

A Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan. 20, 1931 article describes John Cowhey as "one of the influential citizens of Red Hook" in his day.

The same article tells that Michael had in his yard several large old church bells that he had bought for scrap but had decided to hold on to. The bells rang eerily in the night but:

"If some one suggested that the ghost of an old Bailing ship skipper might be behind the tolling, he would nod solemnly. Then he would ask if his questioner had ever heard how in 1880 the wind blew so hard that Red Hook was white with scales, blown clean off the harbor fish, and how all the houses on the Hook had to be held in place by anchors. And how once it was so cold that he, Michael Cowhey, was able to walk barefooted over the ice to Staten Island. "