Out of town visitors

Friday brought clear skies but also a sharp drop in temperatures back down to more typical late October levels. The tugboat Copper Mountain anchored in the North River with an empty barge. This tug lists St. Louis as its hailing port, and it arrived here from the Gulf of Mexico this week. Another out of town tug, the Genesis Vigilant, passed up the North River heading upstate. Vigilant lists Houston as its home port and it was operating there as recently as early October. These visits may be related to oil product shortages in the northeast bringing cargos here from Gulf Coast refineries.

Copper Mountain, an out-of-town visitor, at anchor off 96th Street

Another unfamiliar boat on the River Friday was the large and unusual looking yacht Asteria which made a loop up to the Bridge before docking at North Cove Marina downtown. Asteria was built as a salvage tug in 1970 and converted to an “expedition yacht” about 20 years ago. The vessel is capable of navigating in the Arctic and Antarctic, and was in Greenland as recently as August. The helicopter deck was crowded with shrink wrapped jet skis which are perhaps being dropped off somewhere for winter storage.

The expedition yacht Asteria on the River Friday
Meanwhile, more familiar boats from DonJon’s dredging crew were at work Friday morning, adding back depth between Piers 98 and 99

2 responses to “Out of town visitors”

  1. Hello Mr. Katman,

    I live in West New York, NJ on Boulevard East overlooking the North Hudson River.

    I have watched a thousand ships go by up and down the Hudson without much thought. After seeing the HosMax300 docked off my window a few days ago, I had to research it. Hence, I found your blog.

    Thank you! I have been amazed at how much I have learned that happens just outside my window. I love your blog and you made me appreciate the maritime industry and the North Hudson river more than I would ever have imagined.

    My Grandfather was a longshoreman. His brother, Eddie, was also a Longshoreman. Their sister, Mary Fitzgerald, married John Foley, a Longshoreman hiring boss, that was assassinated on the North River Piers of NYC. Many say he would not bend to the mob, (Westies). what is a “Hiring Boss”? A hiring boss controlled a pier and allowed those who needed to be on it to work and decided how many would be needed.He basically managed the pier for the Union.

    My Uncle Eddie Fitzgerald, worked a parking garage across from the West Side piers at night. His second job. On February 9, 1942, The S.S. Normandy went on fire and the best shots of that fire was from my Uncle letting photographers up on the roof top of the garage to take the photos. My Grandfather and Grandmother, Bernie and Mary Fitzgerald and my Uncle Eddie Fitzgerald ran a luncheon wagon on the piers for breakfast and lunch starting in the early 60’s. It’s the only VW van converted to a lunch wagon I ever saw. They did that for a about 3 years feeding Longshoreman daily.

    Love your photos and blog! Keep up the amazing photos and history of the river. Back in the early 80’s, I met my grandfather at the Hiring Hall on Spring Street and Varick.

    It told you where to go and what ship you would be on for the day or week. I think it was the corner of Spring and Varick Street.

    Depending on seniority, You would be a “A” “B” “C” “D” man. A newbie, “D” man, would be sent to unload Coffee or banana boats. Bags and banana bales weighed up to 150 pounds a bag. An “A” man, “Highest Seniority”, would unload luggage for those that would cruise the world on ships, like the Queen Elizabeth or Queen Mary-I.

    My Grandfather said the best tip he ever received was from Vincent Price, boarding the Queen Mary, for a 6 week Cruise.

    My grandfather and Uncle were Longshoremen for over 40 years. I bring it up cause they are the people that load and unload the ships. When a mega ship comes into port with thousands of cars and you wonder where the 16 miles come from? It’s the Longshoremen on both sides of the planet that drove that car on to and off that ship than be picked up and transported to a dealer. That’s just a small example of a Longshoreman’s job.

    Thank you for letting me share,

    Thank you,
    Chris McCormack


    1. Chris, thanks so much for the feedback and for sharing some of your family’s interesting history on the waterfront. I’m really glad to hear you were able to find the blog and it helped answer your initial question about the Browning. The river is a fascinating and vital marine highway, and I have always been surprised how little gets written about it. Looking forward to getting back to posting in the new year. Wish you all the best for 2023.


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