Monday, September 22, 2014

The Frying Pan, historical boat and a restaurant

This is one of those places in the city where you realize how amazing NYC really is.  The  floating restaurant on the Hudson with  amazing views from all angles of wherever you sit is locates at the very end of West 26 street in Chelsea.  My friend and I came here  for a short break on  a sunny Thursday afternoon  a week ago   after walking the High Line(elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan's West Side). I fall in love with  this place,  and we ended up  hanging here for almost three hours . I felt like I was on vacation - the wind, the faint scent of salt in the air... The view was incredible! And the history behind this place is really interesting.

In 1929 the lightship  name just " Lightship No. 115 " was built in Charleston, South Carolina   for Cape Fear,  North Carolina. 


Photograph courtesy
U.S. Coast Guard

Since the late 1800s lightships had been used to guide other ships around harbor entrances and dangerous  shallow sandbars.
The shallow waters there  have the name " Frying Pan Shoals" - so the ship was renamed “The Frying Pan”.  A crew of 15 men served aboard the ship for three months at a time followed by two months of shore leave. The lightship remained at its post until 1965 and then  a  new lighthouse was built on shore. Frying Pan Lighthouse was automated in 1976 and then deactivated in 2003. In 2010 the lighthouse was sold for   $85,000   


 The Frying Pan ship was moved  to  an old oyster cannery on the Wicomico River in the Chesapeake Bay  where she  spent next ten years.  She sank due to a broken pipe and  was underwater for three years before being raised by salvers.


John Krevey, an electrical contractor and businessman from New York City bought the ship for $8,000. Krevey installed a truck diesel engine and started and started  a  coastal sea voyage to the Hudson River in 1983.  By 1991, he had it docked temporarily at Pier 59 on the Hudson River at 18th Street. 
 Until the early 1970s, railroad cars used to float into Manhattan by barge, then link up with railroad tracks at the waterfront, and finally to warehouses located nearby.  In 1996, Krevey acquired an old railroad barge  that formerly carried railroad boxcars across the Hudson River, and tied it up on the north end of Pier 63, at W. 23rd St.


In 2000, Krevey and friends  bought  the John J. Harvey, a decommissioned fireboat.   Built in 1931, MV John J. Harvey,   is among the most powerful fireboats ever in service.   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.   On Sept. 11, 2001, the  ship  helped evacuate Battery Park City residents  and after that    under radio direction from the Fire Department, trained its powerful water pumps on the blazing towers. In 2008 Krevey   rented a tugboat and moved the Frying Pan, the  barge and John J. Harvey  to Pier 66 (3 city blocks north).  Three years later in 2011 John Krevey died   at age 62 while on a vacation with his son in Santo Domingo. The cause appeared to be a heart attack. 

Today  Pier 66 is a part of  Hudson River Park  and  includes  a former Lackawanna railroad barge, the Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill, the Lightship Frying Pan, a historic rail float bridge, and an authentic 1900′s caboose.  While the outside of the Lightship Frying Pan    has been restored to her original appearance, the inside retains the barnacle-encrusted, sunken-ship motif that acknowledges her storied past.  
Pier 66 is open  7 days a week  from  May 1  to  October 1, and in October only when   weather is 65 F (18 C) degrees or over.