Bill Doherty, August 3, 2021, discusses a painting of Todd's Shipyard in Red Hook's Erie Basin in the early 1960s based on his memories of being there at the time.
"Jiffy Lube, New York Harbor. Early 1960's. What a collection! All tied up at Todd Erie Basin Ship Drydock and Repair Yard.
An old American Export ship with her unique "Spoon stern", and "ESSO" tanker in dry-dock, in the background, one of the original MooreMac (Good Neighbor)passenger ships, maybe the Uruguay or original Argentina.
One of Isthmian Lines "Round the World" C-3's in the forefront and one of Farrell Lines "C-2's to the right, probably getting ready to head to West Africa.
The Farrell ship looks bright and clean, backing out of the slip, with her new Shipyard paint job. That will last until the first rain, then the old "patina" returned.
Looks like a German ship nestled between the MooreMac and Isthmian boats. I can't remember stack insignia of the ship to the far left.
It’s not hard to imagine just who the artist was commissioned to paint this piece by.
That Moran tug, in the foreground, is out of proportion with all the big seagoing ships in the background.
Tugboat guys, are like that.
Just joking of course. I wouldn’t want to “squeeze” one of those ships into the berths without a couple of tugs, assisting.
There is one more ship in this painting. It's significant because of another ship in this drawing. See if you can identify her.
If you went to the first bar outside the gate, there would be sailors from the Farrell, MooreMac, and Export ship at one end of the bar, and the Isthmian guys at the other.
In those days NMU and SIU guys didn't drink together. Mates and Engineers, however, blended right in.
That is early in the night. By nine o'clock, everyone was at the same end of the bar, telling sea stories and joking. The guys off the German ship would be there too. They would share their sea stories too.
Depending upon the last trip, the Mates and Engineers might become a little "polarized" by the end of the night.
Then there was this District One / District Two stuff that would come up as the night wore on.
There were two different Seafarers Unions back then, and there was always competition and suspicion between them.
Funny how a couple of Hafenreffers would break down that barrier. By closing time everyone crawled back to their ships together.
I don't think the ESSO guys drank, I think they went to the library.
The Export Mates and Engineers weren't there either. We never knew where they went. Something about BMO and MMP/MEBA not mixing well. Rumor was, those guys went to places called "restaurants" and ate solid food when ashore.
We used to get sent to Todd's Erie Basin, at the end of a foreign trip for quick repairs if we encountered issues on the trip. They had the only"Graving Dock" in New York Harbor available for repairs.
If you still had cargo aboard and needed to go on the blocks, you couldn't use a typical "Floating drydock " due to stability issues, you had to wait for Erie Basin to open up.
Those super quick shipyard visits were called a "Shave and a haircut." Get the repairs done as fast as possible, nothing extra, and get back to sea.
Just like "Jiffy Lube", going in there was an "In and out" experience. Only the very minimum required tasks were completed. Their quality standard was the same, minimal.
Their guarantee was "One round trip, or the Pilot Station. Whichever came first."