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Waterfront Museum & Showboat Barge

About this listing

Historic vessel hosts a lively maritime museum and advocates for waterfront access

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Red Hook
Institution, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile

By Kate Fox
Down in Red Hook, just a block from the enormous Fairway Market, there's something unusual floating on the water; a contraption, once so commonplace on this harbor, which almost went the way of extinction in the 1960s. It's a wooden railroad barge, painted brick red... but it's also a time machine.

Imagine the New York Harbor in 1929. The waters of the Hudson that flow between the shores of Manhattan and New Jersey--known as the North River--are crammed with dozens of ships receiving and unloading freight. It is the height of the lighterage era and tugboats chug through the river, pulling the covered barges, or lighters, used by railroad companies to send cargo beyond their New Jersey coast terminals. Bells, horns, and whistles blast, their soundings almost drowning out the shouts of the workers on the decks and on the piers who heave lumber, steel girders, and...

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Brooklyn Community Board 6. Red Hook: A Plan for Community Regeneration (New York: NYC Department of Community Planning, 1996).

Burnett, P.H. Industrial Opportunities Along the Line of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company (New York: LVRR Industrial Department, 1911).

Interstate Commerce Commission L&S Docket 572. "In the Matter of the Investigation and Suspension Lighterage and Storage Regulations at New York, N.Y.," Brief for City of New York (New York: Evening Post Job Printing Office, 1915).

Interview with David Sharps by Kate Fox for Place Matters, The Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge, July 19th, 2017.

Interview with David Sharps by Molly Garfinkel for Place Matters, The Waterfront Barge Museum, August 10th, 2017.

Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society

Port of New York Authority. The Lighterage and Trucking Issue: A Series of Questions and Answers on an Important Subject (New York: Port of New York Authority, 1929).

Reiss, Marcia. Red Hook and Gowanus Neighborhood History Guide(New York: Brooklyn Historical Society, 2000).

[Posted, Sept., 2007]

On The Web

The Waterfront Barge Museum


David Sharps

This is a one of a kind floating facility, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's a must see for those interested in transportation, commerce, and maritime history. Go to: (August, 2007)

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