Written by D.F. Karppi Friday, 12 October 2012 00:00
Huntley Gill, captain and part owner of the John J. Harvey is offering free rides to the Oyster Festival for 60 people. The only catch is you leave early, on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 a.m. and will leave late, on Monday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. The Oyster Fest is on Oct. 13 and 14. Check their website for reservations and details for the voyage. Last year Dan and Tanya Walker took the trip back from the Oyster Festival as did Philip Blocklyn, Oyster Bay Historical Society executive director and Elizabeth Roosevelt, who runs the OBHS gift shop. Mr. Gill said it’s a great trip through the Long Island Sound back to Manhattan and its hi-rise bordered waterfront.
The John J. Harvey is returning to the Oyster Festival for the second time. Last year from wherever you were on the waterfront you could see the Harvey doing water displays on the hour. They will be doing that again. Mr. Gill said, “Last year thousands of people visited the boat, it was great. This year again we will be offering tours of the wheel house, the engine house, we will be giving out printed guides and the pilot will be there to explain what we do.”
Good things are happening for the Harvey, said Mr. Gill. “John J. Harvey has been awarded the generous (and prestigious) Federal Save America’s Treasures Grant. We must raise $165,955 by January 31, 2013 or lose the money. Our recent New York State matching grant has ensured our hull’s integrity. This federal grant will restore decks, house and stacks, ensuring critical watertight integrity from above.”
He said to raise the needed funds they are holding their 2012 Fall Benefit on Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1 to 7 p.m. at Pier 66, located at 26th Street, on the Hudson River in NYC. It is a benefit to celebrate their Federal Save America’s Treasures Grant, and to dedicate the John J. Harvey Honor Roll.
From 1 to 5 p.m. it will be all family fun including boat rides, a barbecue, raffles, tours and celebrity readings of Fireboat, at a fee of $15 per child and $25 per adult. From 5 to 7 p.m., there will be a gala sunset party with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, an auction and they will unveil a donor wall, all for a ticket price of $100. Donating more money to the event will result in more gifts such as John J. Harvey crew t-shirt and copies of My River Chronicle and Fireboat.
Fireboat John J. Harvey is moored at Pier 66 Maritime, at 26th St. and the Hudson River, a historic car-float barge. Harvey’s home is provided by the generosity of Angela Krevey and her late, greatly missed, husband John, whose vision was the catalyst for saving the fireboat.
John J. Harvey was built in 1931 and named for FDNY pilot John J. Harvey who was killed aboard fireboat Thomas Willett while fighting a fire aboard the North German Lloyd Line’s SS Muenchen. At 130 feet and 268 gross tons, she is among the most powerful fireboats ever in service, capable of pumping up to 18,000 gallons of water a minute. She is the link between the fireboats with steam engines that pre-dated her and gas powered engines. Harvey assisted during such notable fires as the Cunard Line pier fire in 1932, the burning of the Normandie in 1942, and the ammunition ship El Estero during World War II. She served the FDNY until her retirement in 1994.
On September 11, 2001, John J. Harvey was reactivated as FDNY Marine 2. Alongside FDNY fireboats Firefighter and John D. McKean, she pumped water for 80 hours, until water mains were restored. That story is told in Fireboat, a 2002 Maira Kalman book. The Harvey is also detailed in My River Chronicles: Rediscovering the Work that Built America by Jessica DuLong.
Ms. DuLong is the John J. Harvey’s chief engineer, one of the world’s only female fireboat engineers. She will be aboard the Harvey on the Monday and Friday sails but not at the festival. Her book will be available for sale.
According to the John J. Harvey website, “After journalist Jessica DuLong was laid off from her dot-com job, life took an unexpected turn. A volunteer day aboard fireboat John J. Harvey led to a job in the engine room, where she found a taste of home she hadn’t realized she was missing.
“Working with the boat’s finely crafted machinery made her wonder what America is losing in our shift away from craftsmanship and hands-on work. Her questions crystallized at Ground Zero where fireboat Harvey worked alongside active-duty FDNY Marine Division boats to pump Hudson River water - the only water available since hydrants had failed - to firefighters on land.”
Before being called back into service as a fireboat the Harvey had been helping to evacuate lower Manhattan when they were told they were needed by the fire service.