The Little Fireboat That Could
June 9, 2006 3:44 PM   Subscribe

New York City's oldest fireboat rides again. Built in 1931, the John J. Harvey served for decades, then was retired by the city in 1994. Local boat-lovers rescued it from the scrap-yard and restored it to new glory. Good thing, because the ancient JJH wound up being called back into service one last time, to save New Yorkers during their darkest hour...

The city has showed its gratitude with grant money, and the JJH's story has now become an award-winning children's book praised as a healthy way to discuss the events of September 11th with kids. Come to Pier 63 for a visit or a free ride sometime this summer!
posted by hermitosis (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Somehow I missed this story on 9/11. Thanks for the post, hermitosis. Very moving.
posted by AuntLisa at 4:10 PM on June 9, 2006

I attended a birthday party on the JJH last year and it was the highlight of my summer. During almost each voyage they fire the water cannons, which is ten tons more awesome at close range than in the pictures.

On September 11th (for those who don't read the articles) the collapse of the towers crushed the water mains under the streets. All nearby passenger vessels, the Harvey among them, had been summoned to help out by evacuating people, which is when the NYFD was shocked to discover the solution to their water problem was right under their noses. The JJH pumped water from the Hudson to the fire-trucks nonstop for 4 days.
posted by hermitosis at 4:18 PM on June 9, 2006

Thank you for this post - I may have to go see the Harvey.
posted by caddis at 4:39 PM on June 9, 2006

Great story! Thanks for posting this. The Amazon children's book link has some interesting discussion Some interesting reader discussion at the Amazon children's book link as well.
posted by Voivod at 4:45 PM on June 9, 2006

This is a great story. Thanks! Here in San Francisco we have the Golden Fire hydrant which saved the southern part of the city during the great quake and is given a small celebration each year.
posted by vacapinta at 5:16 PM on June 9, 2006

Awesome post.

The JJH pumped water from the Hudson to the fire-trucks nonstop for 4 days.
posted by hermitosis at 4:18 PM PST on June 9 [+fave] [!]

Just so damn cool.
posted by snsranch at 5:20 PM on June 9, 2006

Incredible. Thanks, hermitosis.

To firemen who had survived the terrorist attacks, the Harvey must have seemed an apparition, an old warrior coming out of the mists of memory to do battle one more time.

posted by codswallop at 6:19 PM on June 9, 2006

As someone who spent years restoring old equipment, this brings tears to my eyes. Thanks.
posted by pjern at 6:47 PM on June 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Codswallop, that line was what made me choose that link over many similar articles-- the folks over at "Power and Motor Yacht" really just seem to get it, ya know?
posted by hermitosis at 10:16 PM on June 9, 2006

this is good.
posted by kaytwo at 10:23 PM on June 9, 2006

correction, this is great.
posted by Busithoth at 1:00 PM on June 10, 2006

Apparently, a collision with a 'sunken garbage truck' damaged the original propellers. Only in New York?
posted by my neighbourhood is sexy and popular at 1:17 PM on June 10, 2006

I always thought this was an excellent boat, and I've admired a lot (it lives near where I live).

Unfortunately, its fucking website says, "Images are the property of John H. Henry, Ltd. Not for distribution" when I try to go back to say something nice about it on Metafilter.

So now I hope it sinks and everybody dies.
posted by gum at 9:57 PM on June 11, 2006

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