JOHN J. HARVEY 9/11 FIREBOAT
On this, the 15th anniversary year of 9/11, we are again honored to welcome the John J. Harvey Fireboat back to Oyster Bay. Launched in 1931, the John J. Harvey had a distinguished FDNY career until her 1994 retirement. She was named for a marine fireman killed when a ship
exploded during a fire. Among the marine fires at which she assisted were the Cunard Line pier fire in 1932, the burning of the Normandie in 1942, the ammunition ship SS El Estero in 1943,and the collision of the Alva Cape and
Texaco Massachusetts oil tankers in 1966. Her official designation at the end of her career was Marine 2.
Sold at auction in 1999 to a private consortium of marine preservationists determined to prevent her from being
scrapped, in June 2000 she was added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. Her current owners have thoroughly restored her.
The John J. Harvey had an unexpected encore. Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the boat’s owners asked FDNY officials for
permission to assist in evacuations from Ground Zero. Meanwhile, firefighters had determined that the vast scale of destruction had damaged many fire mains, depriving fire crews of water. Officials radioed the Harvey, asking if her pumps still worked. Responding that they did, she was told to drop off her passengers as soon as possible and
return to the disaster site, reactivating her official designation, Marine 2.
She is among the most powerful fireboats ever built, capable of pumping up to 18,000 gallons of water a minute. Alongside two other FDNY fireboats, John D. McKean and Fire Fighter, she pumped water at the site for 80 hours, until water mains were restored. The National Trust for Historic Preservation gave the Harvey a special National Preservation Award to recognize this incident.
LOCATION: West End Waterfront Pier
Also present will be Christeen, a 40-foot, gaff-rigged sloop, owned and operated by The WaterFront Center, a not-for-profit community sailing and marine education center located in
Theodore Roosevelt Park.
Christeen connects people to the water through
education and recreation, taking out more than 3,000 passengers each year. The oldest surviving oyster sloop in America and a National Historic Landmark, Christeen was originally built in 1883 for Captain William Smith in Glenwood Landing for harvesting oysters in Oyster Bay and Cold Spring Harbor. Over 125
years, she has served as an oyster dredge and also as a cargo carrier and liveaboard between Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.
After surviving 16 major hurricanes, numerous Nor’easters, two sinkings and severe neglect, Christeen was returned home to Oyster Bay in 1992. Volunteers worked with a full-time shipwright and raised more than $300,000 to completely restore and launch Christeen in 1999.
Observe West Harbor and Oyster Bay from a different viewpoint as you cut through the water under sail and look towards the shore. See wildlife, important landmarks, and learn about some of the history of the home of a former President.
SCHEDULE: Saturday & Sunday
1-2:30 p.m. & 3-4:30 p.m.
AGES: 5 and older
COST: $25 adults/$10 children under 12 with a paying adult
IDA MAY PROJECT
The Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corporation is building a replica of the historically significant Ida May oyster dredge. The original Ida May was built in Bayville by Frank M. Flower in 1925 as one of the oyster industry’s first powered dredges. The completed replica will be owned and operated by the WaterFront Center for public recreation and marine and maritime education.
The mission of the Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corp. is “to preserve Oyster Bay’s maritime heritage by involving the community in traditional boatbuilding projects.” Many volunteers under the guidance of local shipwright Josh Herman are learning new skills
working together to create a significant vessel.
Since 2009, Building J, a large shed on the Western Waterfront, has been transformed into a boatbuilding shop. The Christeen Corp is raising capital to complete the project.