March 5, 2010
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Jessica DuLong


This just in: My River Chronicles: Rediscovering America on the Hudson is the winner of the 2010 ASJA Outstanding Book Award in Memoir/Autobiography.


This seems like the perfect time to say thank you to all the amazing people who made this book possible!


My River Chronicles Acknowledgments


Writing may be a solitary pursuit, but making a book is definitely a group sport. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all who have provided support along the way.


First and foremost, I owe an enormous debt to the people who have helped keep Fireboat John J. Harvey afloat through the ten years since she was auctioned off by New York City. So many more people have contributed their sweat, time, and resources to the boat’s upkeep than are reflected in the preceding pages. I especially want to thank John Browne, John Doswell, Thorner Harris, Peter Hobbs, Barbara Moore, Jean Preece, Bruce Rosenkrantz, and Karl Schuman, particularly those whom I have not yet mentioned. It is an honor to work with you.


Other Harvey supporters whose contributions have been significant to me personally include, but are by no means limited to: Karl (Corky) Anderson, Rick and Renee Batchelder, Liz Bergin, Scotty Conder, Rose Craig, Bob Cunningham, Joe Dempster, Craig Denecke, Charlie Deroko, Andrew Furber, The Ivory Family, Jean Kondek, John and Angela Krevey, The Lenney Family, Florent Morellet, Sue Mortgu, Julie Nadel, Maggie Bergin O’Connor, Garry Pace, Carl Selvaggi, Richard Siller, Randy Simon, Dick and Denise Solay, Eric and Evelyn Stallings, Mort Starobin, John Treatout, The Weisler Family, and Dawn Wray, as well as the Kennedy Engine Company and the FDNY Marine Division. For more information on Fireboat Harvey or to make a donation, please visit


For lending support in countless ways, including help with Marine Division and fireboat history, I want to extend a special thank you to Bob Lenney, Huntley Gill, Al Trojanowicz, and Chase Welles.


I am profoundly grateful to Tim Ivory—a brilliant mechanical mind and a gifted teacher—for his infinite patience with my endless questions and for his consistent faith in me. His willingness to share this adventure has opened up whole new worlds.


In addition to those mentioned in the text who so generously shared their stories, a number of others offered their time, insights, and expertise, including: James Ring Adams, Sandy Balick, Gwen Billig, Debbie and Michael Biltonen, Lucey Bowen, Norman Brouwer, Fabio Chizzola, Joseph Curto, Ralph Erenzo, Jennifer Grossman, Mary Habstritt, Bryce Kirk, Venetia Lannon, Tom Lewis, Brian Maher, Julie Nadel, and Gerry Weinstein. People who provided research assistance include: Chris at the National Archives; Tammis Groft at the Albany Institute of History & Art; Sarah Judd at the New York City Fire Museum; Danny May and Ed Fahey at the Mann Library; the Putnam County Historical Society & Foundry School Museum; Craig Williams, John Scherer, and Geoffrey Stein at the New York State Museum; as well as Eric Breitbart, Carter Craft, Shirley Dunn, Fred Geisler, Field Horne, Diane McNamara, Pat Murphy, Stephen Osborn, Robert Pfeil, and Elizabeth Wales. Thank you also to Richard and Cathy Andrian, Jonathan Atkin, Bernie Ente, and Sarah Lyon for photography assistance, to Mark Peckham for so graciously sharing his illustrations, and to Christine Rigden, Kathy Murray, Carolyn Tice, Lilly Bommarito, Barry Eager, Elin Schroeder-Goering, and Matt, Mark, Sharon, and Sue Dooley for genealogical assistance.


I also want to thank the Mid-Hudson Library System, and David Smith, librarian to the stars, who opened doors to the wonders of the New York Public Library, including the Wertheim Study. A special shout out to Jodi Jaecks who valiantly jumped in with all manner of research and transcription assistance. And I can’t forget Keith Blount, developer of Scrivener, the powerful software that helped me manage mountains of information.


I’m grateful to John and Alice Carlson for the use of their beautiful farmhouse in Ontario, to Carlo Adinolfi for the Hudson hideaway, to John Voelcker and Dave Provost for sharing their mountain home, and to Tania Amrod for the Hudson River view.


And for corporeal and spiritual maintenance, I offer heartfelt thanks to: David Harnick, M.D., Dale Kimberlin, Maria Elena Maurin, Asa Coddington, Jeff Rossman, Inez Anders, and Stephen Cope, as well as Scenic Hudson, for establishing Esopus Meadows Preserve and Lighthouse Park, the riverfront respite that sustained me throughout the writing of this book.


I must also extend my appreciation for the musicians who accompanied me through long, lonely writing hours, including: Hossein Alizadeh and Djivan Gasparyan, Hasna el Becharia, Jim Campilongo, Duke Ellington, Hassan Hakmoun, Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, Ajda Pekkan, Suba, Ali Farka Touré, and Luther Wright.


Numerous friends and colleagues have generously lent their support, including: Amy Laura Cahn, Beth Connelly, Trevor Corson, Hilary Davidson, Joel Derfner, Jay Dixit, Leslie Elman, Liz and Ryan Enschede, Ben Fine, Lori Heddinger, Katia Hetter, Erin Keating, Nelson Kim, Sharon Lintz, Amanda McBaine, Ellen Neuborne, Kim Severson, Jenna Schnuer, Dred Scott, Myrna Shinbaum, Jenny Strasburg, Rob Sudduth, and Ted Weinstein. I am indebted to the many generous teachers I’ve had over the years, including: Elizabeth Merrick, Donna Minkowitz, Chris Robinson, and Karen Rowe, and to authors Julia Cameron, Natalie Goldberg, and Anne Lamott for their books’ dependable guidance, available at all hours, day or night.


I am grateful to Barbara Sjoholm and Seal Press for publishing my essay “Below Decks” in Steady As She Goes: Women’s Adventures at Sea, which informed my understanding of my marine engineering journey, and to Lloyd Graff for allowing me to explore topics in Today’s Machining World that helped fuel my thinking about manufacturing and hands-on work.


Thanks to James Gregorio for his wise counsel, Joel and Heidi Roberts for their high-energy strategizing, Stuart Krichevsky for his early encouragement, Christa Bourg and Bridget DuLong for wise proposal advice, Deb Robson for editing early versions of this material, and Kate Dowling and Erika Casriel for thoughtful feedback. Mountains of gratitude to John Voelcker for lending sharp insights and a keen editorial eye to hundreds of manuscript pages on painfully tight deadlines, and Nancy Rawlinson for invaluable editing and structural guidance.


This book could not have found a better home than at Free Press, and I couldn’t have asked for a more diligent, dedicated, hardworking publishing crew, including: Andy Dodds, Eric Fuentecilla, Carisa Hays, Caitlin Hayes, Edith Lewis, Donna Loffredo, and Jennifer Weidman. I am tremendously grateful to Martha Levin for her faith in this project and to Leslie Meredith, for her deep, thoughtful, and wise edits, and her invaluable ability to view the material from 30,000 feet at moments when I found myself I blindly scrabbling through the details.


David Black runs a top-notch agency, and I cannot thank Joy Tutela enough for being such a vehement advocate, sage adviser, faithful shoulder, and steadfast champion.


There are no words sufficient to express my gratitude to my family. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for grounding me in what matters, and teaching me how to pave my own road. Thank you, Ellen and Harold, for your patience, generosity, and support. Thank you, Bridget, Jim, Josh, Molly, Zach, Andrew, Shannah, Grace, and Ryan for sharing all the complicated joys of family.


Thank you, Ben, for walking with me through the many years when b**k was still a four-letter word, and for standing by me as I discovered exactly why it merits that designation—selflessly giving more help and support than I ever could have imagined. Without you this book would not be.