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 Author  Topic: PT 59
Will Day

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Will Day   Send Email To Will Day Posted on: Jul 9, 2020 - 10:04am
Thank you, gentlemen. Priceless history.

Will

Total Posts: 1924 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 4:19pm | IP Logged

Dick

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Dick   Send Email To Dick Posted on: Aug 13, 2020 - 3:39pm
The following is from an email chain Jeff D and Ted kindly brought me into. It was a discussion of the salvage of the possible PT 59 from the Harlem River (discussed in previous posts) early July 2020. This is a long post that includes 38 annotated images.

HARLEM RIVER SALVAGE OF POSSIBLE ELCO 77’ PT BOAT

The following photographs used are from, and the property of,
William Doyle , the annotations are mine.

I’am comparing many of Bill’s photos of the actual salvage to elco 77’ engineering drawing in an attempt to identify the boat as a World War II Elco 77’ PT boat. The photos are annotated with my personal comments and/or conclusions. They indicate what I saw when I compared the photos to actual blueprints from Elco.

In the analysis, I conclude that some of the wooden remains brought up from the basin are clearly that of an Elco 77’ PT boat hull. However I cannot discern what PT boat number was assigned or what series of 77’ boats (Series PT20-44 & PT45-68). All the components salvaged are common to both series of Elco 77’ boats. There is however, an item that appears to be the forward hatch. If so, it is a crew quarter’s hatch from a second series Elco 77’ boat as was PT59. Only locating a hull number would it be possible to actually identify the PT boat number.

Stories and tales conclude it was PT 59, but no paper trail evidently exist as to document the actual boat history. There is no proof of sale or ownership change or proof of boat identity other than a Customs Service Number Card. Unfortunately this card contains information not even typical of any Elco 77’ boat. This makes the matter of identification confusing. The Coast Guard has a Citations Card stating the boat burned, was lost and surrender to the City of New York at pier 73 on the East River. This is about a dozen miles south of the current excavation site in the basin on the Harlem River. Pier 73 no longer exists, it was evidently reclaimed for city expansion in the mid sixties.

Since this email was sent out, Bill Doyle has kindly clarified some issue as stated above as to the boats movement and ownership, through his earlier 2017 research.

“Dick,
This is incredible research and detail! Thank you so much for doing this. I will forward this great info. to Battleship Cove.

In the roughest terms, from memory, as I recall the chain of custody when I researched it in 2017:

The boat burned early in the morning of 2/8/66 while docked at old Pier 73 at East 23rd street. (Fun fact, I grew up across the street and my dad parked the family car a few yards from pier.) I spoke to Marinak's widow and she said she got the police/fire call, as Gus was out of town. Much of the boat survived. She said Gus told her he suspected that some kids had an unauthorized nocturnal party on the boat and accidentally set it on fire, or someone torched it for fun.

The remains sat there until 1/20/67 when Gus arranged for it to be surrendered for salvage and it was taken away from Pier 73.
A boat dealer named Jim Yurwitz towed the remains to his place in the Bronx. I believe Yurwitz is alive and on Facebook.

Yurwitz sold the boat to Redmond Burke, the final owner, in a cash deal of a few hundred dollars with no paperwork. Burke (still alive) told me he towed the boat down to its final location, which is where he abandoned it around 1974 to slowly sink straight down into the mud.

At some point someone (Coast Guard? Army Corps of Engineers?) supposedly cleared away the upper remaining pieces as a hazard to navigation, but they didn't bother with the bottom-most pieces, which were visible only at lowest tide until the MTA recovery.

In 2017 when I surveyed and sampled the debris in a small boat, it was a brackish, God-awful, inaccessible place, and the mud was like quicksand, nearly sucked me under. 
The mystery continues!
Great detective story.
More to come, I'm sure.
Best,
Bill
William Doyle”


The Following photos and artwork are annotated with my analysis as I compared photos to engineering drawings. You can also download the .PDF file by clicking the link below or continuing viewing this post by scrolling down:
Link

All photographs are the property of William Doyle, please respect that. All comments made on the photos and artwork are my personal comments as to what I saw during my elevation.

Photos: 1 thru 38 . . .

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THE END . . . . . .



Total Posts: 961 | Joined: Aug 27, 2006 - 6:36pm | IP Logged

Will Day

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Will Day   Send Email To Will Day Posted on: Aug 14, 2020 - 9:11am
WOW!

Will

Total Posts: 1924 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 4:19pm | IP Logged

Jeff D

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff D   Send Email To Jeff D Posted on: Aug 15, 2020 - 8:18am
Wow seconded Dick, excellent and very thorough work. And a LOT of work. You've managed to establish that it was indeed a PT boat buried there. With the deck hatch as proof, a later 77 foot Elco. I can't think of anyone else that could have done that with such certainty.



Total Posts: 1937 | Joined: Dec 21, 2006 - 1:30am | IP Logged

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