Barge Bells


I love finding surprises in my back yard (if you can call Brooklyn a backyard. I recently found myself wandering around Red Hook, Brooklyn, which is a chunk of land on the southwest side of Brooklyn that juts into the East River.  Over the last few decades Red Hook has changed from a rather tough industrial neighborhood to a bit of an artsy village.

Nestled away on a small dock with a great view of the Statue of Liberty is the Brooklyn Waterfront Museum.  The museum is actually a small shipping barge that used to move goods on the Hudson before bridges connected Manhattan to New Jersey and Brooklyn.  The barge that houses the museum was restored over a period of years and now houses all sorts of barge related history when the Hudson and East River were active shipping waterways. I got excited when I discovered the barge had many old nautical bells.  Bells that served as dinner bells, bells that alerted other boats in the area, and bells that were specifically used on tugboats.

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This old dinner bell made quite a beautiful sound.  It was a rather windy day so unfortunately the ring out of the bell is overlapped by the barge rocking and creaking in the water.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5’s setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

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Michael Raphael February 18, 2011