The Philip T Feeney Tugboat, Staten Island NY

Published on: September 7th, 2015 Written by:

In 2003, myself and Rebel SC were out poking around the north shore of Staten Island, when we came across the abandoned Philip T Feeney tugboat.

It was slightly submerged at the rear, and listing heavily to the left, leaning on an old wooden covered barge which were once a mainstay of NYC harbor transportation (a fully restored version of this type of barge still exists). I snapped a few photos and we moved on (to several other spots, like SIRT car 353). Other than its surroundings and sunken stern, it didn’t look too bad.

The Feeney on the erie canal, a long time ago…

The Feeney in 2003

The Feeney in 2003

The Feeney is a now 113 year old, steam powered tugboat. It spent much of its life in NYC harbor, the Hudson River, and Erie Canal. At this time, I haven’t been able to sort out when it was abandoned here, though the why seems obvious enough: Steam powered. It is also a relatively small tugboat, for which there’s a whole lot less work to be done compared to many many years ago. Sometime after 2009 the barge next to it was set on fire and burned down to the water line. Also notable is how well the paint has held up. I would imagine the paint is probably lead based and thus stronger?

Nevertheless, the future of this tug is likely very bleak. It isn’t much more than a slowly decaying shell that is submerged up to the cabin during high tides. Any attempt to move it would likely lead to it sinking, which is not something the coast guard would accept. (It’s a very similar situation to what happened to the former Mary Murray staten island ferryboat). Scrapping it in place also isn’t ideal, and if it is indeed covered in lead paint, it would cost far more than its scrap value. Perhaps it’ll be a victim of some real-estate driven government cleanup some day, though given the generally impoverished socioeconomic conditions of the neighborhood it’s in, I wouldn’t count on that anytime soon.

Only time will tell what becomes of this zombie-survive of a long gone era.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • About The Author

    Bad Guy Joe

    Bad Guy Joe
    Bad Guy Joe knows more about the NYC underground than anyone else on or below the surface of this planet. He has spent nearly 30 years sneaking into NYC's more forbidden locations. When not underground, he's probably bitching about politicians or building something digital. 
  • Recent Comments

  • Check out our Twitter feed

  • Social

  • Instagram Feed

  • Featured Press