Posts Tagged ‘hudson river’

vermont sail freight

In a bit of a departure from the usual fare here on A Movable Bridge, I’d like to draw your attention to the Vermont Sail Freight Project.

Erik Andrus of Ferrisburgh, Vermont, has developed this demonstration project to show how sailing vessels can be used to deliver non-perishable Vermont-produced foods to markets in the Lower Hudson Valley and New York City. He and a bunch of volunteers are currently at work building the boat, whose design is based on that of Thames River sailing barges.

As of this morning they had received $14,338 in pledges toward the $15,000 goal on Kickstarter. There are nine days left in which to pledge. Click here to learn about the project on Kickstarter and to make a pledge.

For full information about the project, visit the Vermont Sail Freight Project website.


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Those of us who spend time on or near the water are quite familiar with the amazing variety of tugboats. Most are quite large, but sometimes you need something small to get the job done. Here are some of the smaller boats I’ve seen around.

Herbert P. Brake at the entrance to the Gowanus Canal
Bosco from Boston near Troy, NY
Harbor II at work in Erie Basin
An unidentified boat in the Delaware at Marcus Hook, PA

And a personal favorite:

Brian in Gloucester, MA

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As the brand new Willis Avenue Bridge makes its way down the Hudson from the Port of Coeymans it has passed under, or has yet to pass under, these bridges in order from north to south. (Just to confuse things, all views below are from the south.)

The Rip Van Winkle Bridge:

The Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge:

The Mid-Hudson Bridge (and on the far side of the bridge you can see the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, formerly the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge):

The Newburgh-Beacon Bridge (which did not show up for its school picture).

The Bear Mountain Bridge:

The Tappan Zee Bridge:

And the George Washington Bridge:

All photos probably by Karen, except maybe the Bear Mountain Bridge (but I don’t really remember).

And here’s an update on the bridge’s progress from tomorrow’s (?!) New York Times.

Also, Cornell is not towing the bridge, but her owner, Matt Perricone, is working on the tug Margot, one of three boats assisting with the move.

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Thanks to Karen for the title!

This morning the brand new Willis Avenue Bridge began its trip from the Port of Coeymans, where it was built, down the Hudson. The 350-foot, 2700-ton bridge took 15 months to build and will replace the current Willis Avenue Bridge over the Harlem River, which has been in use since August 22, 1901. Details about the current bridge and the replacement project are on New York City’s Department of Transportation site.

Karen and I passed under the old bridge for the first time back in July 2008.

The new span was loaded onto barges this morning and will head for Bayonne, New Jersey, before finally being towed to the Harlem River. It looks like the tugboat Cornell has the honor of towing the barges. (See pictures on Cornell‘s Facebook page.)

If you’re planning to travel on the Hudson this week, you should be aware of these scheduled river closings and restrictions to travel. The East and Harlem rivers will also be subject to closings as the bridge makes its way up the Buttermilk Channel to its final destination.

If you want to see the bridge as it comes to New York, it should be near the George Washington Bridge around 3:00 a.m. on July 14 and at the Holland Tunnel ventilator tower around 4:15 a.m. The bridge should then transit the Buttermilk around 11:00 a.m. and head up the East River. (UPDATE: The “East and Harlem rivers” link above indicates the barge will be moved up the East River on the 14th, but it will not be moved until just before installation in August.) The new bridge will be installed on August 2, and the old bridge will be removed on September 20.

In 2005, New York City put the current bridge up for sale for $1 with free delivery within 15 miles, on the condition that the buyer keep it as a bridge and not scrap it. No one bought it, and the bridge will be demolished, with a piece kept as a monument in Harlem River Park.

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World’s End is the third novel by T. Coraghessan (now T.C.) Boyle, published in 1987. The title refers to a point on the Hudson River just above West Point, which we passed on our trip last July. Very briefly (because it’s hard to do justice to the plot in a short space) it’s the story of three families — the Van Brunts, the Van Warts, and the Mohonks — in the late 1600s, 1949, and 1968. Most of the action takes place in the Hudson Valley, near the fictitious town of Peterskill (which bears a remarkable resemblance to the actual town of Peekskill). Boyle assembled his book non-chronologically, jumping back and forth in history, which allows us to experience New York when it was a Dutch (and then English) colony, to be there for the riots at the Paul Robeson concert, and to enjoy the parallel histories the characters experience.

There’s just enough magic (or magical, if you prefer) realism to make you grin when you come across it (if you like that kind of stuff), but not so much that you groan and wonder if you’re reading Gabriel García Márquez by accident. I don’t want to call World’s End a sprawling epic, because I don’t want to frighten potential readers, but it is a sprawling epic (well, epic in scope, not in size). It has everything: the weight of history, fate and destiny, familial expectations and obligations, murky moral choices, tragedy, and even a literary version of the Hudson River sloop Clearwater.

Let the first sentence be your invitation:

On the day he lost his right foot, Walter Van Brunt had been haunted, however haphazardly, by ghosts of the past.

Open the door and enter this world that is both familiar and exotic.

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With the season’s first snow yesterday, I found myself thinking back to this past summer’s amazing boat trip up the Hudson. Looking through pictures from that trip, I found this one of the full moon, taken at Catskill Marina. I’ve put it here since I can’t think of anything else to do with it.

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Today Karen, the kids, and I along with our friends Elisa and Jon took a tour of Bannerman’s Island. Also known as Pollepel Island, it was bought by Francis Bannerman VI in 1900. Here he built an arsenal to house his inventory of military surplus and also a residence for his family. Last winter I took some pictures of the island and its ruins, and we passed by on our trip up the river in July, but this was the first time we actually set foot on the island.

The coolest thing about the tour was that we had to wear hard hats:


This warning sign was also cool, if a little scary:


Bannerman was not an architect, but he was rich, so he designed the castle himself, taking design elements from various castles he had seen:



He also invented a coat-of-arms for himself and a Latin motto, which used to appear over the entry:


Bannerman was fond of carving words in cement. These are the steps that lead down to Wee Bay on the south side of the island:


Also on the south side are the ruins of the Bannerman family residence:


This tower:


reminds me of this painting:


The image carved here refers to the story (probably false) that Bannerman told about how his ancestor carried the banner of Scotland back in the days of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and was called the “banner man.” Hence the name.


Here’s one last view of the arsenal as we boarded the boat back to Beacon:


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