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Harbor Voices: New York Harbor tugs, ferries, people, places & more

The Big Apple’s Big Harbor

When Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger’s Airbus A320, with 155 passengers and crew, glided safely to a stop Jan. 15 on the Hudson River, it was one of the most remarkable and miraculous events that had occurred in anyone’s recent memory. To those intimately connected with New York Harbor, however, it was merely the latest in decades of sensational stories that comprise the harbor’s history from the time New York City was New Amsterdam.

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In her anthology, “Harbor Voices: New York Harbor tugs, ferries, people, places & more” (Sea History Press, 2008), Terry Walton gives readers a backstage pass to the harbor and its vibrant personalities, boats and businesses.

Like a scrapbook, Walton stitches together a patchwork of tales from a variety of sources to tell the harbor’s story. In one major section, “The Jobs That Make the Harbor Work,” the people who live and work around the harbor are given the chance to recount how their lives, much like the city around them, have been shaped by the harbor. Walton also examines the variety of ships that can be seen coming and going on any given day, from historic schooners to tugboats and ferries, to the large container vessels that are the backbone of our maritime economy. In addition, readers will learn about famous landmarks such as Fulton’s Fish Market, minutia like the battery weed at Fort Wadsworth, and even how many trips the Staten Island Ferry makes in a day.

Terry Walton has written about New York Harbor for 30 years and is the former managing editor of Boating magazine, as well as the former editor of Seaport magazine.

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This article originally appeared in the June 2009 issue.