A guerrilla historian in Gotham



Located in the Arthur Kill just north of Rossville on Staten Island, the Tugboat Graveyard is an amazing collection of decomposing hulks-- tugboats, rescue tugs, dredging barges, old ferries, and others. Further south, near Charleston, you can find the remnants of all-wood coal barges, which were probably built more than a century ago and scuttled in the early 20th century.

All the ships are scuttled, but the shallow water means that most are well visible above the water. I still know very little about this place and would appreciate an email from anyone who knows more, such as what department owns the land or what dates it was in use or how ships ended up there. You can reach me at steve (at) undercity.org.

Many thanks to Brett and John for their help with this venture, and for taking some of these pictures. Thanks as well to Brett for sharing his knowledge of nautical history with me.

Some of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen are Shaun O'Boyle's photos of the boatyard. You can find his photo essays at www.oboylephoto.com



The Hood Island, headed south down the Arthur Kill, passes a derelict tug.






A corroded two-stroke steam engine in the lower section of an all-wood tugboat. The two cylinders are different sizes; the steam would first power the smaller cylinder and then, having cooled and expanded slightly, it would pass into the second, larger cylinder. (Info courtesy of Brett.)





All text and photos Copyright © Steve Duncan 2002, 2003, 2004