New York Harbor is bustling with boats every day, making it perfect for ship spotting, a hobby that involves seeing, learning about, and tracking ships as they come and go. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a great place to see all kinds of ships, including ferries, fireboats, tugboats, and even oyster tenders! During this program, our expert ship spotting guide will share some tips and tools to help us learn more about the boats we see in the harbor. We’ll also visit with a NYC Ferry captain who will show us around the wheelhouse and the controls they use to operate the boat each day.
When looking back at the ship’s history from the perspective of its tragic end, one can’t help but find many omens; when taken together, they seem to have foretold its fate. They are, of course, coincidences, not curses, but fascinating nonetheless.>> Continue reading
Operation Neptune, the seaborne component of the Normandy invasion, required nearly 6,500 vessels to deliver the vast Allied armies and their supplies and equipment onto the continental beaches. This didn’t just include warships and landing craft, but also more mundane vessels, like barges.
Allied planners scoured the British Isles for craft of any kind to use in the invasion, and they encountered a major shortage of large barges, capable of carrying 1,000 tons or more, and with a draft of less than six feet. Enough simply could not be found or built. Barges of this size were too large to load onto the decks of even the largest transports, and too fragile to tow across the stormy North Atlantic. So in February 1944, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower sent an urgent message to Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall asking for a solution.>> Continue reading
Created after World War II, when the US had a massive surplus of merchant ships, the NDRF was a way to keep those ships in reserve if another national emergency should arise. Managed by the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and once containing thousands of ships at eight anchorages around the country – including the Hudson River Reserve Fleet in nearby Tarrytown, NY – today the NDRF has only about 50 ships in Beaumont, TX, Suisun Bay, CA, and in the James River near Newport News, VA. While these ships are in various states of repair, requiring weeks or even months of work to be put back into action, MARAD also maintains the Ready Reserve Force, 45 vessels strategically positioned around the country with minimal crews that can be reactivated in just four to 20 days.>> Continue reading
Visits by naval vessels to New York aren’t what they once were, but they do still happen, and we try to spot them whenever we can. On April 14, we stopped by Manhattan’s Pier 88 to check out a pair of foreign naval vessels that had docked for port calls.>> Continue reading