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Tug & Barge Tour 2011

Here are the current activities and programs of the historic vessels Tug Pegasus and the museum and showboat barge Lehigh Valley No. 79.

New: Join us! Trips on either end of a programming venue are available to the public. Please look below for these great opportunities. All funds go to the ongoing restoration of these historic vessels. We are grateful for your participation.

Take a short destination cruise on Tug Peg

Riverdale RiverFest: PAST!

June 11 & 12, Riverdale, the Bronx

The Riverdale RiverFest is a project of Friends of the Hudson River Greenway in the Bronx. Featuring trips and tours of the historic Tug Pegasus, Tug Cornell, Sailing Vessel Mystic Whaler, the Spud Barge Black Diamond, and the museum and showboat barge Lehigh Valley No. 79.

The ships dock at the College of Mount Saint Vincent to celebrate the Hudson River and to create a walkway along Riverdale's waterfront.

Join us there via subway. Directions are on the RiverFest website.

Destination Cruise #1

July 14, Red Hook, Brooklyn (foot of Conover St.) to Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park (foot of Atlantic Ave.)

Departure time: 1000. Please be aboard in Red Hook by 0900.

Duration: 2 hours, with close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and other fine monuments.

Disembark Pier 25, Brooklyn Bridge Park: 1200

Cost is $150 per person. We are able to take 12 people on each vessel. Please reserve a place on the Barge Lehigh Valley No. 79 by emailing waterfrontmuseum at and on the Tug Pegasus by emailing info at

Click here for more information about the destination cruises.

Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 6: Tug & Barge Week

July 14-July 26

Shows at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Please see the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy's website for a detailed calendar of events for the Tug & Barge Tour 2011. Additional programs include:

July 17: Jalopy Sea Chantey Concert, 7 p.m., tickets $10.

July 18: Jalopy Sea Chantey Sing-along. Refreshments. 7 p.m., tickets $20.

July 20: Tug & Barge Community Fundraiser, music by The Tiki Brothers, refreshments, 6:30- 8:30 p.m. A tax deductible donation of $50 requested. For the Tug & Barge Community Fundraiser, please pay at the door or by using this link to Network For Good.

July 23:

"Juggling For Fun" workshop and "Learn to Juggle" with Showboat Captain David Sharps, 3 p.m.

Sunset Music Concert--Steven Oates and Ellsworth & Hicks , 7 p.m., tickets $10.

July 24: Showboat Shazzam featuring the Great Adammo, young juggling sensation from Amazing Grace Circus. "Josephine" is direct from Paris--classical clowning and musical prowess entwine. See David Sharps, master of Chinese vase manipulation and ceramic-urn tossing. Hilary Sweeney: elegance and eloquence in the air, a dance to remember on aerial corde. Watch Aerial Emery, an acrobatic dance with hula hoops, direct from Quebec's Circus School. Shows at 1 and 4 p.m., tickets $10 in advance and $15 at the door (if available).

Destination Cruise #2

July 26, Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 (foot of Atlantic Ave.) to Hudson River Park's Pier 25 (Downtown Manhattan).

Departure time: 1600. Please be aboard at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6 by 1500.

Duration: 2 hours, with close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and other fine monuments.

Disembark Pier 25, Hudson River Park: 1800.

Cost is $150 per person. We are able to take 12 people on each vessel. Please reserve a place on the Barge Lehigh Valley No. 79 by emailing waterfrontmuseum at and on the Tug Pegasus by emailing info at

Click here for more information about the destination cruises.

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Festival at Pier 25 Features Free Ship Tours, River Trips, and more at Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park activities

Please join the North River Historic Ship Society as it celebrates the opening of the first historic ship pier in Hudson River Park with a four-day festival at Hudson River Park Pier 25 in Tribeca July 28 -31.

Participating vessels include:

  • the 173-foot former Coast Guard Lighthouse Tender Lilac, built in 1933 and the last remaining steamship in the Coast Guard fleet. Lilac, which now makes her home at Pier 25, will be open for free dockside tours, photography exhibits and an evening party featuring the Coast Guard Auxiliary Band.
  • the 103-year-old tug Pegasus, who spent her long career towing barges and docking ships in New York Harbor, and will also be homeported at Pier 25. She will offer both dockside tours and free educational river trips.
  • retired NYC fireboat John J. Harvey built in 1931, will offer free educational river trips on Saturday, July 30.
  • Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 79, built in 1914 and the only surviving wooden railroad barge of its type afloat, will host the opening night party on Thursday, dockside tours on Friday and Saturday, and circus performances on Sunday.

Tickets are required for many events, including some that are free. You can order them below.

Note: As of July 1, advance reservations for some of the free trips have "sold out." A small number of tickets (12 per ride) will be distributed at Pier 25 on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at noon on July 30. Look for the NRHSS pop-up tent on the north side of the pier.

Thursday, July 28

6 to 8:30 p.m. Party to celebrate the opening of the first historic ship pier in Hudson River Park on board historic railroad barge Lehigh Valley No. 79.

Presenting our first annual “Historic Ship Champion” award to Richard A. Maitino, who, as director of the Route 9A project, first welcomed historic ships to the West Side piers. Wine, beer and refreshments included. Minimum tax-deductible donation: $50. Click here for tickets.

Friday, July 29

4–8 p.m. Free dockside ship tours. Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 79, Pegasus and Lilac. No tickets needed.

5:30–7:30 p.m. Closing Party for photography exhibit: “Waterways,” by Shelley Seccombe. Lilac. Free. No tickets needed.

Saturday, July 30

12–5 p.m. Free dockside ship tours. Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 79 and Lilac. No tickets needed.

1, 2, and 3 p.m. Free educational trips on the Hudson River departing hourly aboard John J. Harvey and Pegasus. Space is limited. Only one boat ride per person. Duplicate reservations will not be honored. Order free tickets here.

6–10 p.m. Party to celebrate Coast Guard Day aboard former Coast Guard Lighthouse Tender, Lilac. Live music by Coast Guard Auxiliary Band Flotilla 22-7, performing marches and familiar tunes. Cash bar. Space is limited. Order free tickets here.

Sunday, July 31

Juggling jars

1 p.m. and 4 p.m. CIRCUSunday on the SHOWBOAT, Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 79. Two performances featuring circus magic by the Grand Falloons, stilt walking and tricks from the Bond Street Theatre and Serious Foolishness by Captain David Sharps.

These shows offer a glimpse into what an authentic NY Harbor showboat would have displayed in NY harbor waters dating back to the late 1800’s. More information at the Waterfront Museum.

Order tickets here: $10 in advance; $15 at the door, if space is available.

5:30 -7:30 p.m. Opening reception for photography exhibit “Hidden Ellis Island” by Paul Margolis. Lilac. Free No tickets needed.

This festival is sponsored by the North River Historic Ship Society with support from Friends of Hudson River Park.

Destination cruise #3

August 1, Hudson River Park's Pier 25 (Downtown Manhattan to Red Hook, Brooklyn (foot of Conover Street).

Departure time: 1000. Please be aboard at Hudson River Park's Pier 25 by 0900.

Duration: 2 hours, with close-up views of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and other fine monuments.

Disembark Red Hook, Brooklyn: 1200.

Cost is $150 per person. We are able to take 12 people on each vessel. Please reserve a place on the Barge Lehigh Valley No. 79 by emailing waterfrontmuseum at and on the Tug Pegasus by emailing info at

Click here for more information about the destination cruises.

The Tug Pegasus Preservation Project and the Waterfront Museum thank all of our contributors, sponsors, visitors, and program participants. Below are only a few.

Some of our supporters

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Tug Art Show II

The Tug Pegasus Preservation Project (TPPP) started the Tug Art Show in 2010. Tug Art Show II was held in February of 2011. Both shows were held at the Ear Inn Gallery.

Gerry Weinberg and Senator Daniel Squadron Gerry Weinberg and Huntley Gill
NYS Senator Daniel Squadron, right, and Gerry Weinstein, president emeritus of Tug Pegasus Preservation Project, were the honored guests. Gerry being introduced by Huntley Gill of the fireboat John J. Harvey.
Gerry Weinberg speaking Julie Nadel, curator
Gerry delivering a passionate speech on maritime preservation and its overwhelming frustrations. Gerry is president of the Lilac Preservation Project. Julie Nadel, the curator of the show. To the left of Julie is one of John Bartlestone's photographs from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and to the right, Pamela Talese's painting, also of activity in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Julie Nadel's print of the Lilac Looking at art
Julie Nadel's print of the Lilac. Looking at art.
Pam Hepburn and Peter Gronbeck in front of a Bill Murphy print. Bill Ferry and partygoers
Pamela Hepburn, founder of TPPP, and Peter Gronbeck. Bill Murphy's iconic image of a beached ferry is behind Peter. Bill Ferry is on the right.
Another of Julie Nadel's prints with Joanne Eding and Max Henry Max Henry painting
Another of Julie Nadel's linoleum cuts, of the Tug Pegasus, between Joanne Eding and Max Henry. Max Henry's painting.

Without the particpating artists and art donors, we would not have had a show. We would like to thank them all for their very generous donations of their work:

Jonathan Atkins, John Bartelstone, Dave Boone, Mitchell Bruce, Steve Cryan, Amy Digi, Jane Fowler, Hardie Gramatky, Frank Hanavan, Griselda Healy, Barbara Henry, Paul Margolis, Larry McGuire, Patricia Melvin, William Murphy, Julie Nadel, Shaun O’Boyle, Jack Putnam, Marak Sarba, Donald Sutherland, Pamela Talese, Tom Urgo, John Watson, Oliver Yourke, Rob Seyffert, Max Henry, and Gerry Weinstein.

Thomas the Tank Engine Rides with Tug Pegasus

NEW YORK, August 26, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Peep! Peep! Thomas the Tank Engine™ fans were treated to quite a sight this morning as Thomas arrived to Brooklyn Bridge Park not by rail, but by sea. To mark the DVD release of the Thomas & Friends Misty Island Rescue from HIT Entertainment and the introduction of the newest Thomas toys from Fisher-Price, Inc. (a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT)) the companies joined together for a very special sneak preview. Click here for the rest of the story.

June 19: Historic Ship Rally Features Free Trips and Tours of Historic Vessels

Fireboat John Harvey and Tug Pegasus
Fireboat John J. Harvey and Tug Pegasus. Photo © 2009 Bernard Ente

On June 19, the retired New York City fireboat John J. Harvey and the 103-year old tugboat Pegasus will join the former U.S. Coast Guard Lighthouse Tender Lilac at Hudson River Park, Pier 40 (W. Houston Street and the Hudson River)  for a fun-filled and informative afternoon.

Lighthouse Tender Lilac
Lighthouse Tender Lilac. Photo by John Bentham

Featured are free educational boat trips, steam-engine tours and talks  about fireboats, tugs and steamboats by noted maritime historian Norman Brouwer. This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Hudson River Park and the North River Historic Ship Society.

Advance reservations are recommended.

To order your tickets, please click here to go to the NRHSS's reservations system.



Partner News: Canal Motorship Day Peckinpaugh

The Day Peckinpaugh can certainly be seen from different points of view, but as someone who has spent thirty years of his professional life preserving, interpreting and sharing the rich maritime heritage of our region to the public, the preservation of the Day Peckinpaugh by the New York State Museum and a devoted crew of maritime professionals and preservationists is one of the landmark projects in regional maritime preservation history. 

The Day Peckinpaugh, one of the first of her kind and now the last of her kind, represents and connects us to New York State canal history, a history that defines New York State and has impacted its economic development, settlement pattern and remarkably still operates in over 500 miles of integrated canal, river and lake systems.  The canal system is one of the cornerstones of New York State history and the present-day canal represents enormous recreational and economic potential for the future. 

The preservation of the Day Peckinpaugh is a tangible embodiment of this extraordinary history and a valuable window into the past as well as the future. The saving of the Day Peckinpaugh and its restoration and adaptation into an interpretive venue that can travel the region’s waterways and connect the public to this similarity of history is a more than worthy public investment. 

The society that forgets where it came from will have a tough time navigating where it is going, and the Day Peckinpaugh, with its heritage tourism potential, has the ability to support all the communities along New York’s historic canals and rivers.

Arthur B. Cohn, Executive Director
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
New York State Museum

Tour a Steam Power Plant, July 23

Pratt Institute operates one of the most historic and unique power plants in the metropolitan area. It has been designated a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

The plant has two claims to fame:

  • First, the three steam driven generators are the oldest such machines known to be operating in the Northeast area of the United States. They were installed in May of 1900 and still run during the winter when exhaust steam is sent into the main heating system.
  • Second, the present equipment replaced that installed in 1887 when Pratt Institute was founded and so the Institute has been generating electric power in the same location longer than any other known firm.

Click here for more information.

Dick Forster, Chronicle of a Boatman

June 27, 2009: Farewell to a Boatman, Father and Friend

A farewell service for Capt. Dick Forster was held on June 27 on the Hudson River aboard the Tug Pegasus.

Dick's family: Daughter Lynn, granddaughters Kaitlyn and Jacqueline, daughter Kathy, sisters Joan and Marie, grand-nephew and brother Jim. (Not in photo: Lynn's daughters Kathryn and Elizabeth and Dick's great-grandchildren, Maggie and Lucas). Pals: David Sharps, Justin Ryan, James Clay, Charlie Chellemi, Frank Zic and Al DeCruz.
Steaming upriver. Tugs gathering.
Steaming up river where Dick started on the tugs. Photo: Bernie Ente Tugs gathering. Photo: Huntley Gill
Willy on the Tug Sea Lion. Fred on the Tug Fred K II.
Willy, Tug Sea Lion. Fred and Diana on Tug Fred K II.  
Fr. John on the Pegasus.
Father John aboard the Tug Pegasus. Kathy and Lynn.
A brother of the sea laid to rest.
A brother-of-the-sea is laid to rest.
Tugs gathering, from the Fireboat John J. Harvey.

From the Fireboat John J. Harvey. Photo: Huntley Gill

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2008 Newsletter

Click here for our 2008 newsletter.

The Chain of Ships

4 & 5 October 2008, openhousenewyork provided a venue for our first day of public programming for the historic Tug Pegasus.

We made two trips each day, serving 196 visitors. It is our job to interpret New York Harbor and to show the vitality and importance of our port.

Photo: © 2008 by Jonathan Atkin
The Tug Pegasus departed from the berth of the Lighthouse Tender Lilac, north side of Pier 40, North (Hudson) River.

Lilac’s keel was laid on August 16, 1932, at the Pusey & Jones Shipyard of Delaware. She entered into service in the newly formed U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1933, tending to aids to navigation, namely lighthouses, lightships, and the increasing number of buoys.

The Lighthouse Tender Lilac is open to visitors.

Photo: Lilac Preservation Project
Built in 1931, MV John J. Harvey, at 130 ft and 268 net tons, is among the most powerful fireboats ever in service. She has five 600 HP diesel engines and has capacity to pump 18,000 gallons of water a minute. Her pumps are powerful -- enough so that when she and the George Washington Bridge were both brand new, she shot water over the bridge's roadway. She was retired by the New York City Fire Department in 1994 and bought at auction by her current owners in 1999.
Photo: World Ship Society The John J. Harvey runs public trips which are announced on their website.
Built in 1929, Lightship #115 Frying Pan guarded its namesake, Frying Pan Shoals, 30 miles off of Cape Fear, NC, from 1930 to 1965.  She is 133 feet and 3 inches in length with a 30-foot beam; she is 632 gross tons. 

The Lightship Frying Pan serves as an exhibit open to the public at Pier 66 Maritme, North River.

Photo Pier 66 Maritime
New York Harbor was full of interesting vessels: schooners, other historc tugs (the W.O. Decker below) and the usual complement of modern tugs, barges, ships and ferries.
Photo: Jay Holmes
The day brought some great tug spotting of the old and the new: the W. O. Decker, of South Street Seaport Museum (left) and the newest addition to the harbor fleet, Tug Rosemary McAllister. Photo: Jay Holmes
Carolina Salguero interpreted our focus of the day: Red Hook. This area of the port is steeped in maritime tradition and continues to serve an essential role in the Harbor (note the stacks of lumber behind Carolina at American Stevedoring, Inc.),

Carolina Salguero is the founder of PortSide NewYork, a not-for-profit organization located on the Tanker Mary A. Whalen, Pier 6 East River (Red Hook).

Photo: © 2008 by Jonathan Atkin

The Mary A. Whalen was built for Ira S. Bushey & Sons in 1938 and is 172’ long. She began life as the S.T. Kiddoo. In the late 50s, she was rechristened the Mary A. Whalen.

The Whalen delivered fuel products up and down the Atlantic Coast, as far away as Maine and Maryland and up many rivers. In her last years, she stayed close to home and often worked the Gowanus Canal or delivered fuel to ships. She went out of service in 1993.

The American Stevedoring, Inc., cranes loom next to the Caribbean Princess receiving her "bunkers" at the Brooklyn Passenger Terminal (right).
Photo: Jay Holmes
Tucked under the Queen Mary 2 (in the Brooklyn Passenger Terminal the first day of openhouseny) and around the corner from the Terminal is the Waterfront Museum, housed aboard the Lehigh RR Barge No. 79. This is a New York Harbor jewel.

Built in 1914, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge #79 was one of thousands of barges bringing coffee, spices and other cargo from shore to shore in the NY Harbor. She was made obsolete by major shifts in the shipping industry in the 1950s. In 1985, when she was bought for $1, she was filled with 300 tons of mud. Now restored, Barge #79 is the only railroad barge still floating (right).

Photo: Waterfront Museum

On our return trip back to Pier 40, North River, our photographer, interpreter, and volunteer Jonathan Atkin has a quiet moment off the Battery (left).
Photo: Betsy Haggerty
The trip was about 2 hours and we hope that our visitors got to understand a little more about New York Harbor. The trips made by the Tug Pegasus were generously sponsored by:
  • Trustees of the Tug Pegasus Preservation Project
  • Pier 66 Maritime
  • New York Water Taxi
  • Working Harbor Committee
  • and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.

Logos of sponsors of Openhousenewyork

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Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition--the line-up

31 August 2008: The Great North River Tugboat Race was a perfect venue for the debut of the Tug Pegasus. Coming out in public for the first time in many years, she looked good enough to get the "Little Toot" Award.
Tug Pegasus underway

Tug Pegasis with New Jersey in the background

Tug Pegasus underway. Photos: Jeffrey Anzevinno

“Simply gorgeous, congratulations on a beautiful job.  I love the fender work, it really shows off her lines well.  I hope to see the Pegasus chugging around for a long time to come.”

Bill Brucato, Tugboat Captain, Reinauer Transportation

Lining up for the parade Lining up for the parade
Lining up for the parade. Photos: Bernie Ente

“Looks great and congratulations!”

Brent Dibner, Editor of Tug Bitts Magazine

The wheelhouse Coming into pier 84
The wheelhouse. Photo: Ray Montana
Coming into Pier 84. Photo: Jay Holmes

“What a great time we had watching all the tugs frolicking around and showing off their stuff--and the best, of course, was the Pegasus. Congratulations on getting [that] beautiful boat back out onto the water.”

Helena Andreyko, Hudson River Foundation

Wheelhouse gang John Watson pointing
Wheelhouse gang. Photo: Ray Montana
Photo: Walter Fitzgerald

“I've been seeing the photos of the Pegasus out there. Congratulations on getting it going.”

Geo Matteson, tugboat captain and author of Tugboats of New York.

In the North River with New Jersey condos behind her
In the North River with New Jersey condos behind her. Photo: Donald Sutherland

“Been watching this in slow-motion for 11 years. Good to see it gaining speed.”

Don Sutherland, Marine Photographer

Nose to nose with the Oxman Pam in the wheelhouse
Nose to nose with the Oxman. Photo: Ray Montana
Pam in the wheelhouse. Photo: Walter Fitzgerald

“Congrats!  Winner of 'The Little Toot' award at  the 2008 NY Harbor Tugboat Races is a great thing to put on our Accomplishments List!”

Best from Barge #79,
David Sharps, president of the Waterfront Museum

am and the Little Toot award
Pam and the Little Toot award. Photo: Bernie Ente
Coming into Pier 84 for lunch and awards Tied up at Pier 84
Coming into Pier 84 for lunch and awards.
Tied up at Pier 84. Photos: Ray Montana

“Wow-- congratulations! “ --Ann Loading, tugboat captain

“Bob, I was aboard the PEGASUS yesterday and Pam [and crew] has much to be proud about.” --Dave Boone, tugboat painter

“I think it's great also, Pam, I can almost hear her main engine running over that 2-71. I found some of the John E. from way back when. As soon as I can scan them I will post them for you. “ --Bob Mattsson, Ret. tug engineer, once chief on the Pegasus

“Congratulations on having her afloat and running Pam. what a labor of love you pulled off......” --Bob Hill,  Ocean Tug & Barge Engineering Corp.

“That is so exciting!” --Roberta Weisbrod, Partnership for Sustainable Ports

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