Alf Dyrland, Captain of the MARY A. WHALEN, 1958-1978

Alf Dyrland Collection By The Red Hook WaterStories team Alf Dyrland was Captain of the MARY A. WHALEN from her rechristening in 1958 until 1978 when he retired. He was her first captain; she was his last boat. Alf loved the MARY deeply.  As he lay dying in 1996, what he said out loud revealed […]

Winter Life on Canal Boats, 1915

By The Red Hook WaterStories team Residents of Erie Basin Celebrate the Holidays in Much the Same Fashion as Folk Ashore. Near Christmas time, 1915, a female reporter and an illustrator for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, visited a few of the many canal boats and barges moored for the winter in Erie Basin “in search […]

Title Fight: Louis Heineman vs. William Beard

By The Red Hook WaterStories team “No man ever, perhaps, got so much the best of old Beard as did Louis Heineman, the housemover of the Twelfth ward.” (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 19, 1891) When Louis Heineman died in 1904, he was reportedly 104 years old, and likely the oldest man in Red Hook […]

Brooklyn Spar Company By The Red Hook WaterStories Team

In 1921, the Brooklyn Spar Company advertised in The Marine Journal that it sold wooden masts and posts for derricks and flag poles, which the company made at its waterfront facility at the foot of Columbia Street. In O.R. Pilat’s 1929 article, John J. Murphy, a 40-year veteran of the Brooklyn spar business, said that during World War […]

Tug Talk: Mariners’ Names for Red Hook

By The Red Hook WaterStories team Tug captains use landmarks (points on land visible from the water) to tell other mariners and the Coast Guard VTS (Vessel Traffic Service – the harbor equivalent of air traffic controllers) where they are.  This is not always as straightforward as it sounds, but it is proof that maritime […]