first started this project, I had no idea of what I'd say, or use it for, and I
am still not sure. Experimenting with how to make additional pages, I just
said anything to fill them, and called them "messages". Here's all
that old stuff in one place...making buttons for all those pages ( msgs ) was
2) Handling the EOT
5) Old Brooklyn Ferries Hey! Some new Old Ferry stuph here ( 2008 )
6) Styrofoam Cups
7) Night Orders
8) Derby Brown
9) Whistle Sounds
10) This Retired Seaman's View
11) Brooklyn Hulks and The 68th St. Powerhouse
12) Scows And Barges And The S.C.I
Nothing could be said better, than when it is said by
SLOWBELL gets to the point, and speaks plainly.
2) Handling the EOT
When "handling" the telegraph, do not jerk the handle, but move
it smoothly, staying within the segment ( ahead, or astern ),
unless moving from segment ( ahead, or astern ) to segment.
Traverse the whole segment when moving within it, to make the signal
heard at the other end...don't just move for instance from half to
full, move the handle up to slow, and then down to full. Don't lean
on the telegraph, it's bad for the shine.
Do not leave your windlass in gear except when heaving around, or
lowering the hook in gear. When at anchor, and fetched up, just secure
the brake, don't set the pawl. When secured for sea, use only the
brake, paul, and devil's claw. Remember, if you lose the plant while
at anchor, or any other time, and want to pay out some more, or drop
the hook, if the windlass is engaged you are up the creek. Also note
that backing off the motor to relieve the clutch don't work...there's
a bloody brake on the motor too, and it takes juice to release it.
Before soogying, make sure the deck, and surrounding machinery, etc.
is protected from splatter. If using TSP, make sure the water it's
mixed in is good and hot. If using a wooden bucket, check for leaks,
and make sure the handle isn't rotted away. If using sand-soap, use a
heavy canvas as a cloth. Wet the bulkhead down from top to bottom with
clear water, and start soogying from the deck up. If you start at the
top, you will streak the lower part, and never get the streaks out,
and you'll be in for it with the mate, or chief. In case of splatter,
make sure anything that might get splattered is wet. When finished
scrubbing, rinse with fresh, clear water, and swab the surrounding
deck. Don't ever throw away the canvas...save it for the next job.
Use the sand-soap until it can't be held anymore. If there be any
water left in the bucket, check with the R/O, he may want to bathe.
5) Old Brooklyn Ferries
Shhhh...the best kept secret in the world. If it existed today, it would be listed as a prime target.
As world famous in its day as Coney Island was, it serviced millions...if you visited Brooklyn, you most likely rode it. Untold thousands of photographs were taken of it, and its slip, and dock, many more from its decks. If only for the reason that I get the occasional request for a photo of the ferry, I wouldn't be thinking of it now, but in my quest for photos from acquaintances, I come up with just one of each...the old steam side-wheeler, and its replacement - the Electric Ferries, and embellished ( colored ) both of them just for effect. I made the animated Side Wheel Ferry myself.
Spending weeks surfing the web, I found bits, and pieces of documention, but none very comprehensive. However, what I present here should satisfy those who hold a soft spot in their hearts for the 69th Street Ferry; Brooklyn - Staten Island Ferry; Electric Ferries; Bay Ridge Ferry; or whatever else name they went by.
Hold On...Avast! Many moons have passed...we can now say we have found loads of documentation and photos once we have caught on to this stuph!
Oh...about the sign above...if you're a Brooklynite, or former one, which means you're still one, you may remember it...I don't, though I lived only a few blocks from where today just one still exists. I "edited" it a bit...cleaned it up...the photo of it, with its location can be found by searching, using: "69th street ferry".
While we're here I might as well insert this new graphic I just composed showing the ferry's route...all 1 and 3/4 nautical miles of it in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor between Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and St. George, Staten Island ( Richmond ). Note the characteristic of our dearly beloved Light Tower - FR ( fixed red ) up 24 feet above mean sealevel, and visible nine miles. The tower is assigned the number "2" - fitting in with the Aids numbering for this channel.
Way back in the early
part of this century ferries like the one to the left, painted box-car red, steamed from Brooklyn's
69th St. Pier to St. George, Staten Island. It only cost a nickle as a
pedestrian, and if you had a car, just a few cents more. They were later
replaced in the early forties by new boats, which were painted
dark green. Known as "Electric Ferries", and sometimes sporting that name in large white letters...the one in the photo being "The Narrows"...otherwise Brooklyn - Staten Island. Some were built by General Ship & Engineering Works, East Boston, Mass., in 1941 for
Electric Ferries, Inc., of New York City...others elsewhere...like in Texas. Their dimensions were: displacement 569 tons; length: 171'9"; beam: 54'; draft. 9'6"; did 13 knots; and were Diesel Electric...and here too, there are varying statistics. They weren't all that big...569 tons ( or whatever ) displacement isn't all that much.
They had it down to a science...it was zip zap!
This is the ramp the cars and trucks will come down. You see some on the dock waiting. But that line sometimes can be quite long...the ferry is just about to moore.
Here's the Vehicle Deck of the the ferry...in this case the Hamilton...all the cars and trucks loaded aboard in Staten Island have driven off, and it's ready to embark.
If you owned a car, or knew someone who did you have to remember waiting here to board the ferry. It was just up the street from the dock. Is that Officer Murphey directing the traffic? Nah...that's Clancy.
The company ran seven boats: The Tides; The Narrows; Hamilton . This next photo looks familiar, so we can assume the contributor glommed it. If that be the case, please don't look at it too long, and wear it out. It's the only colored photo from that era, a rare find indeed - E. G. Diefenbacch; Hudson; Gotham; and St. George seen here when she ran on the Hudson River between N.J. and 125th Street in Manhattan.
Just in case you're wondering, yes...there was another "Gotham", though a bit smaller, but designed by the same architect - Eads Johnson. Easily recognizable because its covered ladder-well from the 01 level to the Main Deck, unlike all the others, was on the opposite ( right ) side facing both ends. It ran in the Chesapeake.
In April of '42 ( during WW2 ), the Navy acquired the Hudson from the company, renamed it Gould Island, and gave it the designation of YFB-31. It was returned to the company in May of '46.
The ferry service ended right after that bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island came into service in November of '64.
Whatever the dispositions of our belovered ferries were, in some cases you don't want to know...I didn't care. For instance the Hamilton went to Costa Rica in 1971...renamed - El Nicojano...painted white and bright orange, and used to carry cattle to slaughter...besides people and vehicles. Did you really want to know that? I have a photo of it...thankfully in grayscale.
The ramp...mustn't forget the ramp down, and up which the cars, and pedestrians embarked, and debarked the ferry. A substantial thing, constructed of heavy timbers, and which was adjustable in order to accomodate the freeboard of the ferry, and the tide conditions. It was also to the ramp which the ferry moored with two lines...one port, and one starboard. You have to remember the clanking of the pall on the rachet gear when the deckhand spun the large, spoked wooden wheels in order to take a strain on these lines...which by the way had a hook spliced into it's end...the hook placed into the padeye on the deck of the ferry. Yes, yes...when that wheel stopped spinning, and the clanking of the pall stopped, the line was taught, and the ferry fast. To cast off was to simply release the pall, and un-hook the ferry...simplicity in the sublime.
The Ferry Terminal in my early days remained simple, and stayed that way until its demise. The small sign in the photo says: "THE SHORT ROUTE 69th St. FERRY TO STATEN ISLAND &
OUTERBRIDGE + GOETHAL'S BRIDGE TO NEW JERSEY".
Today the new dock stands without a hint of its former glory.
"and you could hear the tugs in the harbor chugging and the deep ooooo from their whistles floated across the bay and rolled down 2nd Avenue and even the ferry's mooring winch could be heard, when it was quiet and still, clanging a ferry into the slip and it was a drag of a night"
Last Exit To Brooklyn
Hubert Selby, Jr.
"As a deck hand, I had certain jobs to do. In the slip there was a wheel on each side which had a rope with a hook on it. I would stand on the side edge, holding onto the railing, and reach in and grab the big hook and hook it on to the eyelet. Then I’d jump off into the slip when it was close enough and go in and crank it in. There was a big winch with four-inch wheels and once I got it in tight I’d dog it to hold it there. Then the guy at the slip would lower the slip down or raise it up, whatever was necessary according to the tide. Of course, there was a guy on the other side of the ferry who did the same thing I did. That’s why they needed two deck hands."
Riding the Ferry and Other Adventures
69th Street Pier showing the Ferry Slip, and a liberty Ship moored on the pier's North side, and some further comments at the bottom of that page.
Another rare photo of a Ferry Ramp showing the Mooring Winch, hawser, and hook. More often than not you will find a Double Windlass. Presumbly as a back-up feature.
We luck out...newly discovered photos hidden in long lost archives.
Click Here for photo taken in '39 of 69th Street Pier with the side-wheel ferry Wyoming; and N.Y. Harbor Supervisor boat. Also a full lenght view of the Skeletal Light Tower at the pier's end.
Taken shortly before, or after the photo just viewed, here's another different class of Ferry - the Yorkville in the slip. With no evidence of a Walking Beam, it can be presumed it is a screw rather than side-wheel ferry...though still steam driven.
There's no mistaking this ferry for anything but a side-wheeler...see the walking beam on top...you can make out its name as New Amsterdam. Photographed in 1929 this is a rare find. The sign says "Bay Ridge Ferry To Staten Island". I searched using "Bay Ridge Avenue" ( avenue spelled out ) rather than 69th Street because back then they didn't call it that. Shear luck!
Though there appears to be a sea wall, there's no nice iron fence; no bike, or walk path; no Shore Parkway either; just dirt. This is an oldy alright!
This photo, taken in '29 also shows the ferry Carteret approaching 69th Street Pier...another side wheeler.
It's hard to nail down, but in the company's web site they say that in 1912 Emmet J. McCormack founded the first Staten Island to Brooklyn Ferry with the old side ( they call it "wide" ) wheeler - John Inglis ( should read: "Englis" ). Neat to know, Emmet was born in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, Kings County, New York of Irish Immigrants on September 2, 1880. We got history here....This ain't just some ordinary dock! In 1905 Emmet started up a coal company to supply British ships. During this activity he met Albert - good ol' Albert V. Moore. On July 9th 1913, Messrs. McCormack and Moore ( both just shy of 33 years of age ) formed Moore McCormack Inc. You wanna go geef a luke? Go look in the N.Y. Public Library Digital Archives and you'll find a photo of the entire pier taken around '29 showing a Moore McCormack freighter tied up at the 69th Street pier in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. How about that!
The Brooklyn and Richmond Ferry (69th Street Ferry) ran from 69th
Street in Brooklyn (north of the present Verrezzano Bridge) to St.
Brooklyn and Richmond Ferry Company 1912 to 1939,
Ferries company 1939-1954
City of New York 1954 to 1964
Captain George M. Auten, Assistant Secretary of Moore-McCormack Lines, joined Moore-McCormack in 1914 as manager of the Brooklyn and Richmond ferry.
Whatever, it was in 1912 when ferry service from Staten Island to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn started. First or second, it's a toss up, an old time "ferryman" by the name of Hawkins ( Clifford ) claims he with some buddies leased two ferries - The Garden City; and Flushing from the "Long Ghool Railroad" or depending where in Brooklyn you lived - "Lawn Guyland RR" - LIRR, and on July 3rd 1912 "sneeked into 69th Street Pier to start service.
The other story is that on July 4th the service started with the John Inglis ( should read: John Englis ) ferryboat. No data on the Englis, but it was "old"...all of twelve ( 12 ) years old.
Apparently the ferry John Inglis was sold to a Carteret ferry company in 1917 but retained as a "rental" along with other ferries from the Carteret company...one of them being the ferry Carteret pictured above. The Carteret company ceased its run from Jersey to Staten Island in '29, leasing its "fleet" ( a half dozen or so ) to the Richmond Brooklyn outfit. In '39 when the Brooklyn Richmond outfit folded, the ferry John Englis was scrapped.
There is no "John Inglis"...it should read: "John Englis"...a steel, steam sidewheeler ferry of 1022 gross tons built by T. S. Marvel Shipbuilding Co., Newburgh NY, and delivered to the Brooklyn Ferry Co. in June of 1900. On June 22, 1901 the SIRT leased the Williamsburg ferry company's new steel-hull paddle- wheeler John Englis. In 1912 the Richmond Brooklyn Ferry Co. "acquired" it.
Whatever, before the "City" took over, it was "musical ferries" - like "musical chairs" kids play. There was no original intent to get this deep into the history of our 69th Street Ferry...just to show pitchers ( pictures ). However, if you geef a luke on the internet, there's loads. Finding that some of these "ferry barons" were BayRidgites like myself, and probably played stick-ball like us, I stuck 'em in here. It's for sure they found more interest in the pier than just fishing - like us. These men got in on the ground floor and with so many others built New York into what it is today. At first just adventurous, but later acquiring "culture"...building mansions...some intermarrying...becoming giants of industry...some even statesmen. They had dreams, and their dreams became our enjoyment, and to our benefit. Big guys...small guys...we all won. It would have been nice to end this with a photo of the John Englis as the first 69th Street Steam ferry, but there isn't any. You can figure, though it was steel, it looked like the wooden side-wheelers of that decade. They built these things like hot cakes.
Entering the shipbuilding business in the 1870s, Jackson & Sharp constructed a variety of wooden vessels, from barges to yachts. This Ferry, the Charles W. Galloway, was built for the Staten Island Railway in 1922.
BR>There was even a ferry named Brooklyn. Believe it or not.
More Great Finds from our Library Archive friends. They have the photos, but have no idea what they are about. Such a waste.
Click Here for photo of the then new skeletal light tower all BayRidgers of that time loved. A rare find in that the archivists called it a "Lighthouse". It's a "Brooklyn Eagle" photo taken in 1932. So what's a newspaper taking a photo of a light tower for? We can presume because it was just installed, and considered "newsworthy". Here it is as we remember it.
Check out Moonset In Brooklyn...a short fantasy. How many considered the light "theirs"? How many rendevouzed at that light...at the end of that pier - 69th Street Pier. Do you know there isn't any 69th Street...it's just the pier ( called affectionately "The Dock" ) that's numbered as such. It's at the foot of Bay Ridge Avenue.
Here's another of the entire thing...notice though they hadn't installed "our" light yet. See the bow of one of the old steam ferries in the one, and only, and quite simple slip. It's late twenties...not later than '32.
Ten years later when the "Electric Ferries" were put online we see this new ramp or "float bridge" installed, at first just one. Later another was installed giving the terminal two...and then some years later yet - three....Believe it or not.
Search forever ( seemingly ) and you won't find a decent photo of the "Dock".
But here someone - probably The Brooklyn Eagle, took this shot...just for us - for posterity.
Taken in the late forties...early fifties...see the "Electric Ferry" in the slip, and the vintage of the cars.
Last, as there aren't any other photos anywheres of the old pier in the entire world, here we have around the year 1947, or 8 the author (left); pal Randy; and his pal. I had begun, or was about to begin classes in Manhattan at Metropolitan Vocational H.S. - the H.S. with the Liberty Ship - Jown W. Brown, from which I did graduate, and begin a life-long carreer at sea retiring in 1988. In the picture we see one of the New York Harbor Supervisor boats...they had four of these steam tugs. They were used as Harbor Patrol boats mostly keeping a lookout for polluters.
Tied up to the pier out of sight, but it's mooring lines evident, is a Liberty Ship using the pier as a "Lay Berth".
You can see children with their parents fishing, as well as others. Since in the original photo the photographer, probably my brother, didn't include the top of the light tower, with the help of recently found photos of the tower, I could digitally restore it. Seldom in my recollection was the pier ever totally whole...most of the time being repaired one way or the other...so much for wood, which is merely vegetable matter when you think of it.
However, vegetable matter or not, it did survive it's near-century long existance as an interesting maritime feature in that not only people, but vessels like ferries; excursion boats; tugs; and whatever else that floated could tie up, adding to the charm of it all. There were no street lights like the new pier has. You could venture out on it in the night and be enchanted by the sound of the swells hitting on the timbers beneath, or the stars above. There were no railings...people in those days weren't prone to falling off docks, or being wobbly. Fishing was a pleasure as you could just screw whatever device you used to secure your fishing line while you grabbed a smoke. Remember those little bells that would jingle if you got a bite? Lastly, though I'll never have use for, or see the new pier, why couldn't they have restored the skeletal light tower needed or not in the same location as the old pier. Where now can a guy secretly rendezous with his partner on dark, wintry nights when in the romantic mood? Ha ha. Oh well! Nothing stays the same...I guess.
You've been good...you stuck with me this far, now for a treat! Whoever it is, we are indebted to this contributor for two excellent views of our beloved pier as we remember it...always a host to the odd tugboat or two, and a full length view of our "idol" - the skeletal light tower. Many thanks...many thanks dear friend.
view of the end of the pier with tug and tower, and a view looking shoreward along North side of the pier with a tug moored alongside.
What? Alright already, here's your blonde! Sheesh...these Bay Ridge guys...never satisfied!
We luck out...newly discovered photos hidden in long lost archives....Again!
Click Here for 17 full color views of our beloved Brooklyn To Staten Island ferries taken on the last day of operations - November 22, 1964 at 69th Street Pier, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
Here's a little a little documentation. Interesting to note our pier does go back to 1916; is/was 740 feet long; 47 feet wide; was a public pier; and was called the "Bay Ridge Avenue" pier.
6) Styrofoam Cups
Back when styrofoam cups were popular, and not
considered environmentally unsafe, you had to be careful at night to
remember where you left it. I am talking of course at night, in a
darkened wheel house underway. I had on one occasion a second mate who
would chew tobacco, and use his cup for a spittoon. If there is one
thing you don't need, is a slug of that stuff. More on spittoons later.
7) Night Orders
There is no standard, or guide for what
Captains considered necessary to put in their "night orders", nor
should there be. I have seen some night orders two pages long, and I have seen
the "one liners" like one skipper wrote night after
night..."Follow the red line.". The ship was a liner - so the same
charts were used each trip. Charts being considered expensive - $1.00 - they
were used until they fell apart, this particular skipper drawing in the course
lines using a red ball point pen. Over the years, after reading many night
orders, I came up with the following, which was pretty
Standing Orders, and Rules of the Road. Give all shipping a Wide Berth. Keep a
Good Lookout. Follow the course line as plotted, allowing leeway as needed.
me if at any time in doubt."
I very seldom
left a call, being an early riser anyways, unless landfall was expected early,
which I very seldom allowed to happen. Most always I scheduled arrivals, and
departures, dockings, and undockings, around my sleep schedule, and meal
hours....After all, I ran all my ships as it were my private
8) Derby Brown
This is Derby Brown, my
Two years old next April,
and ready to
stand lookout on any vessel
the English Channel in fog,
or any other condition
ting visibility. Licensed
also for keeping mates awake.
9) Whistle Sounds
Graphic is of actual whistle assembly of the old Queen Mary loaned to the new Q M 2 do late in 2003. She will be the world's largest passenger ship at 150,000 gross tons.
It weighs one ton, and would stand six feet if stood vertical. Said to be heard ten miles distant without bothering passengers on deck.
10 ) This Retired Seaman's View
A retired seaman's view.
water, but yet some.
enough to day dream by.
11 ) Brooklyn Hulks and The 68th St. Powerhouse