Happy Birthday to Fireboat John J. Harvey, October 6, 1931

October 6, 2009
Jessica DuLong profile photo
Jessica DuLong


On March 10, 1931, construction began on a new New York City fireboat—the largest and most powerful in the world. High up in the fire department, a decision was made. For the first time a fireboat would be named for a man from the ranks: John J. Harvey.

On June 23, Fire Commissioner John Dorman drove the first rivet into the first hull frame. Then, less than four months later, on October 6, 1931, the boat, dressed in ribbons and bunting, slid down the shipway. Said to be the “last word” in marine firefighting apparatus, the John J. Harvey, designated Engine 57, would set the standard for all fireboats to come.