Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tall Ships, Barges, and Tugs of Yesteryear

Back in the summer of 2009, during the Quadricentennial, the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of the river that bears his name, several historic vessels visited Hudson's waterfront as part of our Quadricentennial celebration. Recent developments have brought attention to a few of those floating visitors and inspired this review of where they are now.

The centerpiece of the Namesake Celebration was a three-day visit from the replica Half Moon, which was docked at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park during the last weekend in July 2009. During that visit, there was talk of Hudson possibly becoming the Half Moon's home port, but that never happened, Sad to say, the Half Moon now has a different home port far away. In April, the replica tall ship was loaded onto a big ship and carried across the Atlantic to its new home in the Netherlands.

Photo: Rod Smith,

In September 2009, the Hudson waterfront was visited by 
the barge Lehigh Valley No. 79, accompanied by the tugboat Pegasus. As Gossips reported, the historic barge passed by here last weekend on its way to Waterford where it will go into dry dock for repairs. The repairs are estimated to cost $192,000, and so far $132,000 has been raised. If you are moved to make a donation to help keep the barge afloat, you can do so here.

Lehigh Valley No. 79 is expected to return to Red Hook in Brooklyn in September and resume its life as a maritime museum in October. 

The story of the Pegasus, the tug that accompanied the barge to Hudson in 2009, is not as happy. The New York Times reported on Friday that the tug is now docked, uninsured, at the end of a canal in New Jersey: "Pegasus, a Tugboat and Floating Museum, Hits Rough Waters."

Photo: Todd Heisler, The New York Times
On its website, the not-for-profit Tug Pegasus Preservation Project explains the situation for the 107-year-old tug.
The tug Pegasus is looking for new leadership, new ideas and ultimately a new home. . . . [A]fter being awarded a berth at Hudson River Park's Pier 25 in 2011, the organization continually experienced difficulty obtaining the necessary funds required to operate a historic boat as well as keep up with the high costs of insurance associated with getting the public onto the water. Regrettably, we are no longer able to sustain our operations.
Thankfully, the other vessels that visited Hudson in 2009--the fireboat  John J. Harvey, the replica tall ship Onrust, the sloop Clearwater, and the canal barge Day Peckinpaugh--have had happier and less eventful experiences in the past six years. The John J. Harvey continues to take people out on the water and do water displays in New York Harbor. Its most recent trip was yesterday, and tomorrow it will do a water display in honor of John Weeks Doswell, a founder of the project that saved and restored the historic fireboat.

The Onrust, a replica of the first ship constructed in New York in 1614, was last seen in our part of the Hudson two summers ago, when it accompanied the canoers paddling down the river as part of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign. 

Yesterday, in its home port of Waterford, the Onrust was offering free tours and a cannon firing in honor of the Fourth of July. 

The Clearwater continues its mission of education and inspiration as America's Environmental Flagship.

The Day Peckinpaugh, owned by the New York State Museum, continues to be one of the museums's ongoing exhibitions.


No comments:

Post a Comment