The Lehigh Valley Barge #79, home to the Waterfront Museum in Red Hook, Brooklyn, will be towed upstream near Albany this summer for necessary inspection and repairs. But before the Barge #79 heads upriver for dry dock, the Museum will be throwing the 2nd annual PIRATE BALL to help finance the expedition and repairs.
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, the US Coast Guard came knocking. They are requiring the 101-year-old vessel to be dry docked— floated into a basin where the water is pumped out to enable a check for any deterioration and allow for repairs.
The 70 hours round-trip up the Hudson River to Waterford, NY will cost $21,000 for towing. In 2002, the last time the all-wood barge was sent for repairs, she underwent 100 days of repairs. Her hull was replaced and sheathed in a high performance plastic. This plastic was tightly fitted in a bed of tar to prevent shipworms – a voracious wood-eating bivalve – from consuming this historic watercraft. Based on the barge’s dry interior bilge, this sheathing appears to have worked. However, only a full out-of-the-water inspection will tell for sure.
BARGE100, the Waterfront Museum’s dynamic support group, is planning the 2nd Annual PIRATE BALL on May 15 to ensure Red Hook’s beloved barge prospers for another 100 years. The BALL will feature live music, dazzling local food, a live auction, and cocktails at sunset before a resplendent Lady Liberty. Many attendees will be decked out in their swashbuckling best costumes.
Once the repairs are made and the barge is given the Coast Guard’s “all-clear,” Barge #79 will cruise home to continue her mission as a unique floating theater and classroom by presenting a year-round lineup of free and low-cost educational and cultural activities at her homeport in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
On her way home, from September 11-13, the Waterfront Museum will participate at the Tugboat Round-Up, an annual festival of tugs and other boats at the crossroads of the Erie and Champlain Canals. The Museum will then complete her return voyage home, where she will reopen to the public in Red Hook in the fall of 2015.
PIRATE BALL tickets and more information are available at www.barge100.org or at the Waterfront Museum. Call (718) 624-4719 for more information.