USS San Antonio and USS New York. Credit:

News Press / Waterfront

Press Release: Turnstile Tours & Classic Harbor Line Launch World War II Harbor History Tours in Honor of Fleet Week and Memorial Day

“Fighting Ships & Working Waterfronts” Tour Will Feature Historic Highlights and Modern Navy, Coast Guard Ships, May 22-25

Preview Cruise for Press and Fleet Week Servicemembers, Wednesday, May 20, 6:30pm

May 15, 2015, New York, NY — For the second consecutive year, Turnstile Tours and Classic Harbor Line are leading a special series of tours that examine the World War II history of New York Harbor and give visitors a chance to get a waterside view of the Navy and Coast Guard ships in town for Fleet Week.

These 2.5-hour tours will be offered to the public May 22, 23, and 24, 5:45-8:15pm and twice on May 25 (Memorial Day), 11am-1:30pm and 2-4:30pm. Departing from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers (W 22nd St & West Side Highway), the tours will be held aboard Classic Harbor Line’s beautiful wooden motor yacht Kingston. Tickets are $68 per person and include a free drink and light hors d’oeuvres, and space on each tour is limited to 30 guests. World War II-era veterans and defense workers are invited to attend the public tours for free, and discounts are available for veterans and active duty servicemembers through the USO.

The public can purchase tickets at or, or by calling 212-627-1825. Advance purchase is recommended.

We will be offering a special 90-minute sneak preview of the tour for members of the press, tour partners, and servicemembers from the visiting Fleet Week units on May 20, 6:30-8pm. If you are interested in attending this preview tour, please contact Sarah Pennington at or 212-627-1825 x1501. Space is limited, so please book as soon as possible to ensure a seat on the boat. Attendees should arrive no later than 6:25pm, as the boat will be leaving promptly at 6:30pm.

These “Fighting Ships & Working Waterfronts” tours will be led by Andrew Gustafson, Vice President of Turnstile Tours, head of Turnstile’s public programming at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and creator of the public tour, “The ‘Can-Do’ Yard: The Brooklyn Navy Yard in World War II,” offered monthly in partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92. Andrew’s voice will be complemented by a selection of oral history recordings from the Brooklyn Navy Yard Archive, collected from sailors, shipyard workers, and merchant mariners that help to bring the story of the harbor at war to life.

During World War II, New York was the nation’s most important port. 3.2 million troops and 37 million tons of supplies passed through the piers and warehouses of the harbor, and 39 shipyards built and repaired vessels for the war effort. Factories making garments, machinery, and food shifted production to make uniforms, weapons, and rations. And the bright lights of Times Square, even the Statue of Liberty’s torch, were turned off to protect ships from submarine attack (the silhouettes made excellent targets for lurking U-boats).

The first stop on the public tour will be to head up the Hudson River to pass by USS San Antonio, USCGC Spencer, and the US Naval Academy Yard Patrol Craft (read about these ships’ connections to NYC on Turnstile’s blog), as well as the USS Intrepid to discuss its wartime service and repairs and upgrades conducted at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. From there, we will head south, past the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to Bayonne, NJ, where a World War II-era shipyard still repairs ships today. Skirting the Staten Island shore, we will see the destroyers USS Barry and USS Stout,  as well as the NJ-based Coast Guard Cutter Sturgeon Bay, at The Sullivans Pier (named for the five Sullivan brothers killed aboard the Kearny, NJ-built cruiser USS Juneau in 1942).

Heading up the Brooklyn shoreline, we’ll examine sites like the Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bush Terminal, and the piers and shipyards of Red Hook, and then head into the Wallabout Bay, site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The country’s busiest shipyard during the war, BNY built 3 battleships, 4 aircraft carriers, and 8 tank landing ships, while also repairing more than 5,000 vessels. This is also the yard that built USS Arizona in 1915, sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and USS Missouri, the site of the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945 – two ships that form the bookends of America’s involvement in World War II. Our final stop will be to skirt Battery Park, home to many important World War II memorials, including the Merchant Marine Memorial, honoring the 9,000+ US merchant seamen killed in the war.



Andrew Gustafson, Vice President, Turnstile Tours •, (347) 903-8687

Sarah Pennington, General Manager, Classic Harbor Line •, (212) 627-1825 x1501

Turnstile Tours creates and operates unique, rigorously-researched, engaging tours and public programs in partnership with non-profit organizations and cultural institutions that bring together out-of-town visitors, community residents, and people of all ages and abilities. Turnstile is a Certified B-Corporation, and New York State-registered Benefit Corporation, and has committed to contribute at least 5% of all ticket sales to designated non-profit partners. Current programs include several different theme-based public tours exploring the past and present of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, public tours of the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and Food Cart Tours exploring the street food scene in Manhattan’s Financial District and Midtown.

Classic Harbor Line is a national company with a collection of turn-of-the-century style schooners and motor yachts operating in New York City, Boston, Newport, RI, and Key West, FL. Classic Harbor Line offers the alternative to typical sightseeing boat tours, with most tours on eco wind-powered sailing schooners that are never over-crowded. In its home port of New York City at Chelsea Piers, Classic Harbor Line offers unique programming, with special cruises like the critically-acclaimed Official AIA-NY Around NYC Architecture Tour, Morimoto Sushi & Sake Sail, and full-day trips to Bear Mountain. Classic Harbor Line’s parent company and maker of all the yachts is Scarano Boat Building in Albany, NY, where all boats are made proudly using only American-made parts.