Happy Labor Day everyone and I hope you enjoyed your long weekend with friends and family.
Yesterday was the 19th annual running of the Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition on the Hudson River. I boarded the Circle Line “spectator” boat at Pier 84 at 9:00am with a jolly crowd of mostly native New Yorkers to sail up the Hudson River or the Great North River as the nautical folk call it. We sailed along side the tugboats with a terrific vantage point to photograph the boats as they raced by. So, by now you are probably snickering knowing that tugboats are not known for their speed and yes it was like watching snails race but despite appearances they are quite powerful, after all they do move huge ships and haul tremendous amounts of cargo up and down that harbor 24/7 . There were ten boats; The K-Sea or Ross Sea. The Maurania III, The Pegasus, the three Miller tugs: The Susan Miller, The Freddie K. Miller and The Catherine C. Miller, The Sea Wolf, The Growler, The Quantico Creek and last but not least The Bronx. Before the race the tugboats paraded against a back drop of the majestic retired WWII aircraft carrier now museum the Intrepid, the enormous cruise ship the Norwegian Gem and towering commercial and residential buildings that loom over this riverside community.
During the race I looked to the south and saw what looked like a ghost ship floating through a white translucent mist. It was the Fireboat Three Forty Three, named after the number of firefighters who died in the September 11th attacks on the WTC, proudly sailing up the river with all hoses firing long graceful plumes of water that spread into curtains of white water. I almost fell over the side of the boat trying to get shots with over a hundred other excited people shoulder to shoulder with me watching this spectacular water display.
In addition to the race there were two competitions: the nose-to-nose pushing contest exercising the formidable power that tug boats are known for and a line throwing contest; a test of agility and coordination. After the race all of the tugboats including our Circle Line tied up at pier 84 where I disembarked and then walked along the pier where the tugboats were now resting and I had a chance to photograph them close up and personal. I noticed that in addition to the numerous old rubber tires that surround a typical tug boat an apron of thinly sliced tires surrounds the bow of the boat like black rubber balene. The boats had a hoary rough and grungy look to them that gave the impression that these were no party boats but hard working denizens of the harbor. Each tug and its crew of friends and family were getting ready for an afternoon of celebration with picnic tables and chairs set up on the stern and people hopping from on boat to another to talk with fellow boat captains and crew.
A wonderful, fun and exciting river adventure and a great way to celebrate the Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the photos below and you can view the entire gallery of images by clicking here.