Category Archives: Science and Technology

Fearsome Sails, Ancient and Modern

By Vladimir Brezina

Sailors have always put fierce images on their sails to intimidate their enemies:

Ancient Greek trireme        … the ancient Greeks

Viking longship






… the Vikings






… and now—

... and now

… sailing forth to intimidate, at least, their brand’s enemies.

Tugboat Race 2015

By Vladimir Brezina

Tugboat Race 64

Ah, the familiar first signs of Fall: the first crisp days and chilly nights, trees beginning to turn color here and there, migrating geese honking overhead…

And, of course, the Tugboat Race.

Tugboat Race 49Every year on Labor Day Sunday, the Working Harbor Committee brings together, in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan, a collection of New York Harbor tugs—those that can spare a rare half-day off work—to engage in

Tugboat Race 73various feats of tugboat strength: a race, nose-to-nose pushing contests, a line-throwing competition, and, for the kids as well as hyper-competitive tugboat captains, a spinach-eating contest.

We’ve attended the last three years, and written quite a bit about the occasion (in 2012, 2013, and 2014). So let’s go straight to the photos of this year’s event, the 23rd Annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition!

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By Vladimir Brezina


Move 1

No, you move!

Move 2

In NYC, gridlock doesn’t just happen on land…

Move 3

Scenes from this year’s Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition. Many more photos to come!

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Move.


By Vladimir Brezina

Acute angles, right angles, obtuse angles—angles as far as the eye can see:

Angles 1Angles 2Angles 3Angles 4Angles 5Photos taken on a Hidden Harbor Tour, September 2013.

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Angles.


By Vladimir Brezina

L'Hermione at the South Street Seaport, NYC

The Hermione was a French frigate that, most famously, in 1780 carried the Marquis de Lafayette to America with news of French help for the American Revolution. The Hermione was then a brand-new ship, having been built in Rochefort, France, in 1779. She survived only another few years, being wrecked in 1793.

L'Hermione under sailBut now there is Hermione 2.0! A full-scale replica, she was built again in Rochefort and launched in 2014. Earlier this summer, she sailed across the Atlantic for a tour of the major US ports of Franco-American historical significance.

We went to see her when she arrived in New York City.

Here is a selection of photos from that visit (click on any photo to start slideshow):

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Cardboard Kayak Race 2015: The Thrill of Victory… And the Delight of Defeat

By Johna Till Johnson
Photos by Vladimir Brezina

Cardboard Kayak Race 50

“We’re going to the cardboard kayak races this weekend, right?” Vlad said, looking at me expectantly. I glanced back dubiously.

We’d missed the 2013 race, the first year that the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance had organized the race as part of its City of Water Day, but we’d thoroughly enjoyed the video. Last year, I’d provided kayak safety support for the race, while Vlad took photos. And we wrote it up on Wind Against Current.

As much fun as the race had been, did we really need to experience it again?

Yes, we did! So last Saturday we headed out to Governors Island, on a sultry summer day that started out reasonably comfortable, but promised heat and stickiness by the afternoon.

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By Vladimir Brezina

Seen on our travels through New York Harbor—

New York Harbor 1
New York Harbor 2
New York Harbor 3
New York Harbor 4
New York Harbor 5
New York Harbor 6

Spot Johna in the last photo!

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Industry.