Film Trip to the Wavertree

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On April 25, 2017, my film club and I took a trip to the Wavertree to get an interview with the ship's boatswain, Richard Dorfman. The reason we wanted to interview Richard was that we are making a documentary about boatbuilding and their construction of a whitehull gig. A whitehull gig is a rowing boat that can turn into a sailing vessel by putting up the mast and sails which are stored under the seats. We felt that the documentary could use an interview of someone who works on old historic boats and tell us of their importance in today's modernized waterways. We got on the 2:30 Governors Island ferry and walked to the South Street Seaport. Once we were there we saw this huge ship docked and we start walking on to it. At the time I didn't know we were going to be doing the interview on the ship so I was amazed and shocked by these events. The first thing I noticed when we got on the ship was that the deck and the walls were painted pink. During the interview, I asked why they choose these colors and he said because that's how they used to look back in the 1800’s when it was first built. We meet up with Richard on the boat and discussed where we wanted to do the interview.  We looked at the bow, the interior, on the main deck, but we settled at the stern since it had a great view of the harbor and the Brooklyn bridge behind it, as well as the ships giant steering wheel. We started off the interview by asking about his life and why he chose this line of work. He said that he was always around boats as a child and just always loved them. He usually worked around motor boats, but always was more fascinated by sailing and older boats. He worked around the world, but 7 years ago he got a job with the South Street Seaport Museum and began working with the Peaking until about 3 years ago when the Wavertree came to the port and started the restoration project for it. We did some talking about the history of the Wavertree, which went well except for the fact that sometimes we had to stop filming every now and then because the harbor would be too noisy or the wind would blow too hard. After about an hour of this we finally got to the important question of, what is the importance of historical ships in the harbor? He said that we need these ships because it lets people experience the past and also that it helps bring people together. People from around New York and farther come and volunteer their time to the restore this boat. These words inspired me, since I know that feeling of working together to build an old boat. Once the interview was over we got off the Wavertree and started heading home. I'm sorry I don't have any of the film of the interview, but I will be posting the documentary about the Whitehall gig once we complete it.

-Michael Mongiello