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Repurposed Barge & 100-Year-Old Tugboat Let New Yorkers Experience NYC’s Maritime History

Posted By Jessica Dailey On May 7, 2012 @ 8:00 am In Brooklyn,Sustainability Initiatives,Water | No Comments

Tug Pegasus, waterfront museum barge, tug pegasus preservation project, partners in preservation, partners in preservation nyc, barge, tugboat, historic vessels new york harbor

The Waterfront Museum [10] occupies the Lehigh Valley No. 79 barge, the only surviving all-wooden example of the Hudson River Railroad Barge from the Lighterage Age (1860-1960). David Sharps, director of the museum, purchased the barge for $1 in 1985. It was half under water and in terrible condition — it took two years just to get the 300 tons of mud, caked on eight feet deep, off of the boat and to get the boat to float again. Still, the bow and the stern deckhouse have not been finished, and the roof needs new hatches to allow cargo to come in and out.

Tug Pegasus served in the harbor for 90 years, originally used by the Standard Oil Company [11] of New Jersey. The tug retired in 1997, the official Tug Pegasus Preservation Project began in 2000 under the direction of Pamela Hepburn. The boat’s structural strength is evident in that she’s still running after all these years, but much still needs to be done. ”We’ve gotten preservation to the point where the boat is safe,” says Hepburn [12]. The deck still needs to be adequately repaired, and the diesel engine, which was installed in the 1950s when the tug was converted from steam to diesel, would benefit from being rebuilt.

Tug Pegasus, waterfront museum barge, tug pegasus preservation project, partners in preservation, partners in preservation nyc, barge, tugboat, historic vessels new york harbor

The Waterfront Museum and Tug Pegasus would both be able to make these necessary renovations if they are one of the winning contestants in the Partners in Preservation [13] program. The program selected 40 historic sites throughout New York City to vie for part of $3 million which would go towards preservation efforts. The public votes for which site they want to receive the funds, and when voting ends on May 21, the top four sites will each receive $250,000. The rest of the funds will be split between the remaining sites.

Both the Waterfront Museum and Tug Pegasus [9] aim to better connect New Yorkers to the water — in a more meaningful way than pedestrian piers and grassy waterfront parks. The harbor and rivers have always been vital to New York City, and the museum and tug work to engage the public in maritime activities by offering free public programs and educational programs with local schools.

The Waterfront Museum docks permanently at the end of Conover Street in Red Hook, opening up to the public on Saturdays and Thursdays, and Tug Pegasus was just recently awarded a berth at Pier 25 [14] on the Hudson River in Manhattan. The two vessels tour together, visiting different piers throughout the city. You can stop by and visit them May 12 and 13 on Pier 25 [15], and again on June 27 and July 2.

+ Waterfront Museum [10]
+ Tug Pegasus Preservation Project [16]
+ Partners in Preservation [13]
+ Vote for the Tug Pegasus & Waterfront Museum [17]

All photos © Jessica Dailey for Inhabitat

Partners in Preservation, Partners in Preservation nyc, Partners in Preservation blogger [13]

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This post is sponsored by Partners in Preservation [13]. Inhabitat has partnered with the project as a blog ambassador to help spread the word and raise awareness of select historical sites throughout New York City. All opinions expressed here are strictly the author’s.

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[5] New York's harbor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Harbor

[6] pretty parks: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/east-river-gets-new-life-with-waterfront-esplanade/

[7] passenger ferries: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/east-river-ferries-to-get-eco-upgrades/

[8] Waterfront Museum: http://www.waterfrontmuseum.org/home

[9] Tug Pegasus: http://www.tugpegasus.org/index.htm

[10] Waterfront Museum: http://waterfrontmuseum.org/home

[11] originally used by the Standard Oil Company: http://www.tugpegasus.org/vhistory2.htm

[12] Hepburn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5GMMITSyYQ

[13] Partners in Preservation: http://partnersinpreservation.com/

[14] Pier 25: http://pier25.com/

[15] visit them May 12 and 13 on Pier 25: http://waterfrontmuseum.org/events/tug-barge/waterfront-museum-visits-nyc-may-3-may-15

[16] + Tug Pegasus Preservation Project: http://www.tugpegasus.org/

[17] + Vote for the Tug Pegasus & Waterfront Museum: http://pipvoting.nationaltrust.org/detail/38

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