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Life In The City
Date posted July 19, 2002

Part Of History Floats on the Hudson River
by Amanda King
photos by Shadai Payne


At first glance, New York's Intrepid Museum doesn't look like your ordinary museum. In fact, most people would think its just another ship, but there is a lot of history behind it. At the Intrepid, located at Pier 86 12th Ave. and 46th Street, along the Hudson River, not only do you learn a lot of simple but interesting facts, you can also have fun.

The ship has a variety of activities that visitors can take part in while on the ship. The most popular activity on the ship is the flight simulator. "The big thing people like to do is walk the flight deck," says Denise Nash, the director of Public Relations.

People can experience what its like to fly an aircraft and also have an opportunity to get up close and personal with real aircraft like the fastest jet in the world, the Blackbird, which flies at Mach 3.6. Mach is the speed that the jet flies beyond the sound barrier.

Another popular aircraft is the F-16, just like the one in "Top Gun" with Tom Cruise. "That (F-16) is the one that is flying in Afghanistan right now," explains Nash. Another popular activity on the ship is the free movies in the theater. The theater features war movies. One would assume it wouldn't be so popular if it weren't free. Nash explained that the 9-11 exhibit is also a popular attraction to the visitors. It features a large painting of the New York City skyline and a Statue Of Liberty that mysteriously appeared in front of Engine 54 Ladder 4 in Midtown Manhattan after 9-11. The statue became a shrine and was donated to the Museum after it started to get ruined by the elements.


The Intrepid is truly an extraordinary ship that has gone through a lot over its history. "The Intrepid was built in 18 months to replace the U.S.S. Arizona," said Nash. I t has served in World War II and in the Vietnam War. It has survived bombings and kamikaze attacks and also served in the largest naval battle in history, The Battle for Leyte Gulf. The Intrepid was finally decommissioned in 1974 where it sat in a Pennsylvania scrap yard for 8 years. In 1978 a wealthy philanthropist named Zachary Fisher creates a foundation. Its purpose was for "saving the Intrepid for generations to come" Zachary Fisher wanted the Intrepid Museum to be a lasting memorial for those who served and died for the freedom people take for granted today. Fisher spent 24 million dollars to bring it to New York and restore it. After all the hard work, the world's largest naval museum was opened in 1982. Thanks to Fisher, people have an opportunity to see what it was like for Navy officers and to learn about the history of this ship.

Unfortunately, in 1999, Fisher died at the age of 88 from complications of pneumonia. This museum helps broaden people's perspectives on the armed forces and on life itself. The Intrepid Museum has been in existence for 20 years thanks to the flow of visitors to the museum. Approximately 650,000 people come every year to visit the Intrepid and all the money from the visitors goes to maintaining the ship and to keep it from shutting down. Because the Intrepid Museum is a not-for-profit organization, its continuing existence solely depends on the money from visitors and donations from people or organizations.

So take my word for it and go visit the Intrepid Museum. Again, it's not only educational and informative but also fun and interesting. Also, in a way, you get to pay your respects to the Naval Officers, who served the country and those who continue to serve their country.


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