Updated on April 3, 2020
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
Way before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we took a trip to New York City for a day of history and adventure aboard the historic aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid. It was Kids’ Week and the queue was long but it was worth it. Apart from having one of the most varied aircraft collections on the East Coast, it has interactive exhibits, flight simulators, submarines and a space shuttle pavilion. Many of the exhibits are tailored towards kids, even without all the story-telling, music and crafts that accompanied Kids’ Week. All five of the U.S. armed forces (The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) are represented through these displays.
Here’s a little about the Intrepid itself lifted straight from their website. “Launched in 1943, the former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid fought in World War II, surviving five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. The ship later served in the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Intrepid also served as a NASA recovery vessel in the 1960s. It was decommissioned in 1974, and today is berthed on the Hudson River as the centerpiece of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.”
Above is a picture of the North American FJ-3 Fury. The original type was introduced to active service in 1955. The museum’s collection represents some of the finest in military aviation but I didn’t get to take photos of all of them. Neither have I documented the experiences aboard the record-breaking Concorde and its sophisticated flight deck. If you are wondering which record it broke, well, it crossed the Atlantic in 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds on February 7, 1996.
Shown above is one of the four propellers that moved the Intrepid and together they could reach maximum speeds approaching 32 knots. Today’s aircraft carriers travel at about the same speed. The Intrepid was scheduled to be towed away from Pier 86 for repair work in the November of 2006. But her propellers were stuck in the mud at the bottom of the Hudson River and she did not budge from her spot. A month later, a team of tugboats managed to pull her free, and after removing all four propellers, she was dry-docked in 2007.
Now you know why kids love this place.
Open air exhibits gave kids more place to run around.
Catch me if you can!
I enjoyed Kids’ Week a little more than I should have, especially while listening to Fortunately, a fabulous book by Remy Charlip.
This 6’x 6′ LEGO mosaic is composed of over 50,000 bricks in 20 different colors and as you step away from it you can see the pattern of Enterprise atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft emerge. Conceptualized by Master Builder Ed Diment, hundreds of people built this mosaic collectively from July 26-28, 2013.
Intrepid was an early adapter when it came to having a full-size elevator on the edge of its decks. “Measuring roughly 60 feet by 34 feet, the elevator could move an aircraft that weighed up to 30,000 pounds from the hangar deck to the flight deck in just 10 seconds!” This amazing feature allowed Intrepid’s crew to quickly access the aircraft and get ready for missions. It was also used for recreational purposes.
The elevator became operational again in 2008, but it’s much slower now, so we had ample time to take in the Manhattan skyline and a learn a bit of history. By the way, Radio City Music Hall uses a similar technology to raise and lower the stage.
It was one of those winter afternoons, when a blue-gray New York sky stole the thunder from the exhibits for a rather long-ish spell.
Now it’s Spring and the dreaded virus has spread farther than we could have ever imagined. We are staying home. To all the nurses and doctors, delivery people, grocery store workers, and other essential job holders, we are beyond grateful.