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Photo Of The Week – 11/1/10

Cheyenne, pushing a string of loaded scows southbound past the upper mouth of the Harlem River (another one of New York Harbor’s many tidal straits), is among the last working examples of a special breed of tug: the canal boat. The retractable pilothouse, low stack and counterweighted main mast that can be easily lowered were designed for passing under the many low bridges spanning the Erie Canal. They were built by the Matton Shipyard of Cohoes, N.Y. Check out the website of the Waterford Maritime Historical Association for more information.

Visible in the background are the Spuyten Duyvil Railroad Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge, and the south tower of the Broadway Bridge, just three of the 8 mile-long river’s 18 crossings (15 bridges & 3 tunnels).

New York City, comprised of three islands (Manhattan, Staten and Long) and a peninsula (the Bronx), is surrounded by and shot through with miles and miles of water. With geography like this waterborne transportation is by far the most efficient and, in the future of constrained and diminishing energy supplies that is rapidly approaching us, it will become more critical than ever. Rail, too, will be of major importance. In New York and elsewhere throughout our country we need to invest heavily in the local, small-scale infrastructure that facilitates the timely movement of freight and people from place to place and between water and land, which is how it was all done before our cheap fossil fuel-fed orgy of waste took over. Given our love of ever-advancing technology, and our blind faith that it can and will solve all of our energy problems, it’s truly ironic that we’re now in the midst of discovering that the future we’ll need to build resides in our own not-so-distant past.

You can call it short sea shipping. Or maybe America’s Marine Highways suits you better. Either way we’re going to have to move much more by water. The U.S. Maritime Administration knows it. Canada and Europe do too. Hell, MARAD even has a whole reference library on the subject. It’s time to stop wasting precious time and dwindling financial and natural resources on more of serving the four (or eighteen) wheels that have gotten us into the mess we’re in. Water is the way to go…..

#NewYorkHarbor #ShortSeaShipping #HudsonRiver #CanalBoats #HarlemRiver #SpuytenDuyvil #Cheyenne #NewYorkCity #Manhattan #DONJONMarineCo #TheBronx #AmericasMarineHighways

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