History and historical photographs courtesy of Al Trojanowicz
In 1931 much was added to the New York scene, including John J. Harvey. She is in good company and shares a birthday with notable contemporaries like the Empire State Building and George Washington Bridge. To this day, she is the harbor's fastest big fireboat and remains the senior in longevity.
Hers is a long story, and here we will tell some of it, as well as that of the Fire Department family and City she is such an integral part of.
Two of the most famous transatlantic liners were Normandie and Queen Mary. Remember that Harvey was on station to welcome them both when they came here brand new, and is still here long after they have left. Yes, hers is a Proud History.
A Proud History
In the 1920's the New York City Fire Department's fleet of 10 steam fireboats was aging, and it was decided to construct a new fireboat with internal combustion power.
Basic plans were prepared in 1928. Contracts were drawn up and construction started in 1930 by Todd Shipbuilding's Plant at the foot of 23rd Street on Brooklyn's Gowanus Bay.
11 SEP 2001
On the morning of Tuesday 11 September 2001, Chase Welles, Chief Engineer Tim Ivory, Tomas Cavallaro, Andrew Furber and Huntley Gill met spontaneously at John J. Harvey and took her south from Pier 63 Maritime to offer help at the World Trade Center.
We joined tugs and ferries evacuating a trapped crowd from the sea wall near the Battery, taking some 150 people north to Pier 40.
John J. Harvey's principal dimensions are 130'x28'x9' with a gross tonnage of 268. The fast, steamboat-like lines of her riveted hull are 5/8" nickel steel plate. Twin screws have three blades with a diameter of 6' and a pitch of 4'4". She is the fastest of FDNY's big boats, capable of speeds approaching 20 knots.
Harvey is FDNY's first internal combustion fireboat, as steamboats didn't have much propulsion power while pumping. Harvey was built with 5 Sterling Viking II 8 cylinder gasoline engines rated at 565 hp at 1150 rpm. All engines drive DC generators rated at 340 kw, with the aft three also equipped with 29 kw generators for auxiliaries and excitation.