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It Was Not A Lucky Photo

Pat Sparks inadvertently got me sucked into a vortex of old photos by drawing my attention to a photograph of the USS Texas, the last surviving US dreadnought, steaming up the East River while still in active service. Start here and follow the links.

There’s a reason the Texas was in the East River: the Brooklyn Navy Yard, before it had a movie studio and trendy food, was an active navy yard, and the way to get to Wallabout Bay is up the East River from the harbor. It’s quite easy to find photos of major navy ships passing under the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges between 1900 and 1930, and apparently they occasionally took part in parades wheel they were here. The picture above is the USS Brooklyn in the harbor, passing the Statue of Liberty. Here’s a similarly fuzzy picture of the USS Iowa passing under the Brooklyn Bridge:

Here’s a parade of dreadnoughts in front of the Hudson River Railroad and the hill that would one day be made into Riverside Park:

This one is labelled as the USS Texas, and I believe the Texas must be the ship on the left. The Texas was modified a number of times, and has had drastically different looks in different eras. The temple on the hill is Grant’s Tomb. (And the punchline to a childhood gotcha joke: General Grant and Mrs. Grant are buried there.)

And finally, the reason these ships were in New York harbor: one of the dry docks at the Brooklyn Navy yard, with the USS North Dakota ensconced.