While hundreds of thousands shiver waiting for the ball to drop in TImes Square, a few miles away at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, a small but likely warmer crowd gathers to hear Chief Engineer Conrad Mister blow his collection of steam whistles to welcome in the New Year. A video of last year’s event:
Conrad Milster, as well as being an engineer, is a historian, archivist and a collector. He became fascinated by steam as a teenager. After high school, he began working on the steam powered passenger ferries that still ran up and down the Hudson River. In 1958, he found a job ashore at the power plant at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn New York were he works to this day as the plant’s chief engineer. Many years ago, Conrad began taking photographs and videos of the old steamers. starting in the early 60s, he also captured the sounds of the machinery and the steam whistles, lugging around recording equipment that weighed over fifty pounds. Here is a short documentary about a remarkable man.
To listen to Conrad’s recordings of steams engines and whistles, click here – Sounds from Conrad’s Acoustic Scrapbook