Downtown Post NYC

The retired fireboat John J. Harvey is looking rad these days with a new paint job.  She will be tooling around New York Harbor this summer, offering free rides to the public.

The John J. Harvey was launched in 1931 and served the Fire Department of New York until 1994, when she retired. But retirement was not to last. On Sept. 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was attacked, the John J. Harvey's crew pumped water for 80 hours onto the World Trade Center site and helped to evacuate people from Lower Manhattan.

Today, the fireboat is overseen by a nonprofit organization that offers public access to the harbor, while preserving an important piece of New York City history.

The new paint job is thanks to the Public Art Fund. New York-based artist Tauba Auerbach designed a "dazzle camouflage" pattern for the boat, inspired by camouflage patterns painted on ships that crossed the Atlantic Ocean during World War I. It took 20 people around 25 days to paint the John J. Harvey, working from Auerbach's instructions.

The John J. Harvey is at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park through Sept. 23 offering free trips of 45 minutes to an hour. Tickets are available to all members of the public at and Reservations are first come, first served.

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Docked at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park, a crew member of the John J. Harvey throws a line to tie the boat to the dock. Another crew member guides the process of lowering the fireboat's gangplank into position. (Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2018)


Captain Huntley Gill in the John J. Harvey wheelhouse. (Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Public Art Fund commissioned artist Tauba Auerbach to paint the retired fireboat John J. Harvey in a contemporary “dazzle camouflage” pattern. The fireboat will be on display with this livery through May 12, 2019. 

(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2018)