Rising And then there was the tugboat H.S. Falk and two sisters. There may have been additional tugs that paid homage to Art Deco, but they are rarely remembered. Indeed, the original lines of the Falk might have gone unmentioned, had not Capt. Vinik snatched the St.Petersburg from a probable, probably imminent fate of scrapping. The Falk was built by Pusey & Jones for Curtis Bay Towing. She's captured in full Art Deco regalia and Curtis Bay colors by Dave Boone, onetime Curtis Bay dispatcher and lately known as the tugboat painter (www.tugboatpainter.com). "She's frequently cited as built for a company named Donaldson Towing Co.," says Mr. Boone. "Curtis Bay had bought Donaldson, a bankrupt tug business in Philly, in 1930. CB re-mortgaged almost all their tugs under the Donaldson name and raised working capital during the Depression. Donaldson became the owning company which charter-hired the tugs to Curtis Bay. They would then have a positive cash flow as the DT company always showed a profit while the operating company, Curtis Bay, usually operated at a loss." The sister to the Falk was the J. P. Pulliam, which, says Mr. Boone, "would wind up as Hvide's Mobile Persistence, which I believe is still working, although not recognizable as originally built." If the design trends of the 1930s were a bit much for working boats, they're long gone now. The Charles started-off that way as the Falk, and today is all flattened. Here, in the storm on the Passaic, she passes the ghost of the Mary Murray, just three years older and the last of New York's Art Deco ferryboats. (Photo: Don Sutherland.) May, 2007 · MarineNews · 21
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