30 October 2012

Shoving, Pushing, Pulling

Story on the R. M. S. Queen Mary from this day in 1950:

New York Day by Day -- By Charles Driscoll

NEW YORK -- Diary: When the Queen Mary smokes up, preparatory to shoving off for England, she casts a sudden pall over the Hudson side of midtown. I was temporarily disabled by one of my historic nose-bleeds the other day, and had to sit quietly, moving as little as possible, in the living room of a suite at the Henry Hudson hotel, overlooking the river.

A great array of the most modern ocean liners were (or was) tied up along the river. Biggest was the Queen Mary. She was quiet, with no sign of life as I began the watch. Because I had to keep very quiet, I thought that the Queen might be having a nose-bleed too.


Suddenly the Queen began to smoke from her forward funnel. Then she let out two blasts of her whistle, which is really a mechanical device similar to the horn on a diesel locomotive, but much louder. It shivers the timbers for miles around.

The smoke was not black, but brownish. It drifted inland, covered the humble old water flats of thta [sic] region, and raised into the sky. Another blast from the warning whistle. The second funnel was smoking. Then the third. Evidently, these funnels are not phoney, as are most smokestacks on modern ocean liners.

You could observe very little activity in the neighborhood of the ship, from where I was sitting. A dark mass on the pier, stirring slightly. That would be the customers and their friends.


There were more blasts, in series, of one, two and three. Then the tugs came up importantly, maneuvering around the hull of the big ship, poking with their noses, pulling from the stern, smoking too, in their little way.

The Queen is definitely slipping backward, into, the stream. The tide is running downstream. The crows [sic] on the dock (piers, properly speaking) are waving, singing. Almost as if there were no war clouds covering the earth.

You can't count the tugs from my window seat. They seem to be everywhere, noisy, shoving, pushing, pulling.

The two loud blasts from the Queen, and she floats free. The tugs cast off. She is headed down river, on her own power.

Many minutes later you can hear the three short blasts, down toward the harbor signalling the Farewell to America for this voyage.

Yes, it is impressive.


There was a big ship in what appeared to be the next berth to the Queen. Although I could not read her name on her bow, I recognized her as La Liberty [sic], the reconditioned German liner, now French, which the United States gave to France as a sort of party gift. The French rebuilt her, and recently I was aboard at a sort of maiden voyage party.

La Liberte started to smoke up as soon as the Queen was out of her berth. She has a good horn too, and she let the world know that she was going down the river presently. Without quite so much smoke as the big ship, she slid into the river, and started down toward the Bay with a farewell toot or two.


Two smaller ships, both appearing quite modern, probably rebuilt since the war, were waiting. All must take advantage of the tide, but the big ships need more tide than the little ones. These two were eased out into the river silently. But they'll get there, too.

(Released by McNaught Syndicate Inc.)

- Greensburg Daily Tribune


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