World Trade Center and the Bicentennial Tall Ships Parade 1976

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Being There

Thanks to my wife signing on as a co-plaintiff in an exceedingly minor legal case, she and I were given admission tickets to view the Parade of Ships from the firm's offices on the 23rd floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. It's not what you know, it's who you know. Any other day the people in that office were probably tough legal warriors. This day they were kids watching the best 4th of July parade ever.

These pictures were copied from slides. It was a hazy day and the slides are heavily blue toned. Digital enhancement went a long way toward improving color saturation and contrast. There was a stiff wind from the north, so the ships either had sails furled or turned parallel to the wind.

The pictures are in chronological order as nearly as I can reconstruct it from frame numbers on the slides but there may be some pictures out of order. At the height of the parade I was swiveling through 180 degrees to shoot incoming, passing, and departing ships, so pictures of a given ship are closely bunched but not necessarily consecutive. In some cases flags are big enough to identify even in these small pictures but in other cases I had to resort to the original 4-megapixel scans. In a couple of cases even those didn't help and I resorted to comparing photos with Web sites of various ships. As best I can reconstruct the sequence, the order of ships was:

  1. US Eagle
  2. Denmark Danmark
  3. Norway Christian Radich
  4. Argentina Libertad
  5. Chile Esmeralda
  6. Colombia Gloria
  7. Germany Gorch Fock
  8. Japan Nippon Maru
  9. Poland Dar Pomorza
  10. Portugal Sagres II
  11. Spain Juan Sebastian de Elcano
  12. Romania Mircea
  13. USSR Tovarishch
  14. USSR Kruzenstern
  15. US Gaziela Primiero
  16. Italy Amerigo Vespucci

Left and below: July 4, 1976. New York City turns into a small town.
Above: looking south from the World Trade Center before the parade starts.

Left and below: the small boat flotilla anchored off the Statue of Liberty

Fireboats off Staten Island salute the start of the parade.
The Statue of Liberty, the flotilla and the Goodyear Blimp.
Left and below: the Coast Guard ship Eagle draws into view leading the parade.
Left and below: the Eagle passes the Statue of Liberty.


Eagle passes Ellis Island.
Looking south toward Staten Island as additional ships come into view.
Our best view of the Eagle
The Eagle heading up the Hudson
Next in line was the Danmark
A less than successful extreme telephoto shot of the Danmark.
The Christian Radich from Norway is very similar to the Danmark.
The Christian Radich from Norway passes the Statue of Liberty.
The Danmark headed upriver. It looks very different from this angle because the sails are slanted to reduce wind resistance. Here we see them face-on.
Parting view of the Danmark
The Christian Radich from Norway
Argentina's Libertad (right) and Esmeralda of Chile (left).
Argentina's Libertad.
Argentina's Libertad. The dark sails were distinctive.
The Esmeralda of Chile was one of the most beautiful ships but controversy surrounded her because of allegations the Pinochet junta in Chile used her as a prison ship.
Goodyear blimp above the Gloria  from Colombia and the Statue of Liberty.
The Esmeralda bound upriver.

Below: The Gloria, from Colombia

More ships approaching from the south.
The Gorch Fock of Germany
Nippon Maru (Japan) approaching the Statue of Liberty.
The Gorch Fock of Germany
The Nippon Maru from Japan
Dar Pomorza from Poland
Approaching ships and the Goodyear Blimp.
The Sagres II of Portugal
The Goodyear Blimp
Left and below: the Juan Sebastian de Elcano from Spain.
The Juan Sebastian de Elcano from Spain.
The Mircea from Romania
The Mircea from Romania
Tovarishch, from the Soviet Union. It was classy of the USSR to send two ships, but unlike even the Polish and Romanian ships that docked, the two Soviet ships remained anchored in mid-river during their stay in New York.
The longest ship in the parade was the Soviet Union's Kruzenshtern, here being saluted as it passes the Statue of Liberty.

Below:  The Soviet Union's Kruzenshtern.

The Kruzenshtern meets the cruiser Wainwright which is passing downriver in review.
A fireboat salutes the two vessels
Gazela Primiero (U. S.)
A fireboat salutes the Wainwright.
Gazela Primiero (U. S.)
Ethnic jokes ("How many Illinoisans does it take to screw in a light bulb?") were still new in 1976 and in New York a lot of them tended to be aimed at Italians. So there were widespread jokes before July 4 that Italy's entrant in the Tall Ships parade would be a submarine. So when Italy's ship failed to show as scheduled, there was a lot of renewed joking that Italy really had sent a submarine.

Apparently the Amerigo Vespucci (left and below) had engine troubles and had to drop out of line. But she (he?) really did join the parade.

Final salute to the Wainwright as she passes the Statue of Liberty
End of the parade as the Wainwright disappears in the distance.

World Trade Center and the Bicentennial Fireworks, 1976
Tall Ships at Dockside, 1976
The World Trade Center 1970-1986

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Created February 10, 2005, Last Update 11 January 2020

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