by Kevin Walsh

In this shot from January 2014, the Peter F. Gellatly tug is at service in Upper New York Bay. The Gellatly was commissioned in 2008 and built by by Thoma-Sea Boatbuilders Incorporated of Houma, Louisiana. In 2012 she was acquired by the Vane Brothers Company of Baltimore (hence the V logo), which renamed the tug The New Yorker. The boat was originally named for the founder of the Gellatly Petroleum and Towing Corporation.

The Robbins Reef Lighthouse, familiar to Staten Island Ferry riders as it sits at the confluence of Upper New York Bay and the Kill Van Kull, can be seen at left. The light was originally built in 1839, with the present tower built in 1883. Though it looks small from the ferry, it is 46 feet high. The Robbins Reef is a sand bar located beneath the lighthouse at the entrance to Kil Van Kull, an important ‘highway’ for barges, container boats and attendant tugs.

For many years the lighthouse was tended by Kate Walker from 1894, after the death of her husband John, to 1919. Her story was chronicled on this FNY page.

In 2019, NYC announced that a statue of Kate Walker will be constructed and will be installed at the Staten Island ferry landing.

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