By Vladimir Brezina
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.
Every 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
various 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!
(Click on any photo to start slideshow)
1. Tugboat parade
Tugs begin arriving from downriver
Tug trio: Patricia, Mister T, and James William
The tugs await the beginning of the parade
… sweeps past
Catherine C. Miller
Robert E. McAllister passes the Intrepid…
… with a full complement of McAllisters
Thomas D. Witte…
… sweeps past
The Empire State Building behind
Eric R. Thornton
Robert E. McAllister comes round again…
… with cheering crew
… weaves back and forth
Two Manhattans observe the parade
Make way for a working tug!!
2. The race
The race begins upriver
Going all out
Robert E. McAllister surges ahead
Patricia is going strong too
Piling up the white water
Now off the Midtown piers
Thomas D. Witte and Mister T neck-and-neck
Fireboat John J. Harvey marks the finish line
The race is over
The McAllisters can be happy—Robert E. McAllister is the overall winner
3. Nose-to-nose pushing contests
The tugs mill about after the race
The McAllisters are having a picnic
Robert E. McAllister on the prowl
Red Hook pursues Thomas D. Witte
The Millers about to join battle
Thomas D. Witte turns and engages Red Hook
The Millers are still at it
The Intrepid behind
… and turning
Catherine C. Miller breaks off…
…and heads out into the river in search of fresh opponents
James William vs. Red Hook
Susan Miller joins in
The view from the spectator boat
Sizing each other up
Gridlock on the water
Buchanan 12 vs. Robert E. McAllister
Everybody joins in
James William vs. Catherine C. Miller
Smoke and white water
John J. Harvey…
… joins the festivities
Mist in the sunshine
4. Line-throwing competition
Thomas D. Witte and Sarah Ann awaiting their turn
Joined by Buchanan 1
Impatient Robert E. McAllister
Red and black
Buchanan 12 and Mister T
Catherine C. Miller ready to go in for the throw… if only those pesky kayakers would get out of the way
On Buchanan 12, the designated thrower gets ready
Buchanan 12 backs off
Mister T comes in…
… and has a go
It’s not so easy!
Members of the public practise on the pier
5. The tugboats docked
Tugboat color 1
Tugboat color 2
Tugboat color 3
Tugboat color 4
Tugboat color 5
Tugboat color 6
Tugboat color 7
Tugboat color 8
6. Spinach-eating contest!
The kids are well behaved
But the adults are out to WIN!
And we have a winner!
… or maybe two or three: winning this contest is a matter of split-second timing
And that’s all until next year!
More photos are here.
The official results of the 2015 Tugboat Race & Competition are here.
Other photographers have also posted great photos of the event:
- Mitch Waxman, via the Working Harbor Committee: here.
- John Skelson and Phyllis Featherstone, via the Working Harbor Committee: here and here.
- Tugster: here and here.
- Frogma: here.