Intrepid begins return to Manhattan pier

October 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm Leave a comment

The entire time, fire boats sprayed streams of water dyed red, white and blue.

The voyage began with cadets from SUNY-Martime casting off the mooring lines.

It will end with the Intrepid serving as the focal point of the newly-refurbished museum, which will reopen Nov. 8.

The Essex-class carrier gained legendary status during World War II, surviving Japanese kamikaze attacks and playing a pivotal role in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, earning the nickname “The Fighting I.”

Museum officials took no chances that the big carrier might get stuck in the mud — as it did at the beginning of its outbound refurbishment trip.

Bill White, president of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, said the museum has paid $10 million to dredge more Hudson River mud — more than 90,000 cubic yards — than was done for the first unsuccessful attempt to move the ship to a New Jersey dry dock, where it underwent the first stage of restoration. Col. Nello Tortora, Commander and District Engineer for the New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said that cleared a space measuring about 110 feet wide and 30 feet deep alongside the pier — more than enough room for the refurbished Intrepid.

For good measure, the ship’s four 16-ton, bronze, 22-foot-diameter propellers have been permanently removed so they can no longer hang up on the Hudson River bottom.

Back at its pier for the first time since being relocated in December 2006, the Intrepid will host vistors who will see new exhibits, areas of the 29,000-ton ship launched in 1943 that were formerly off limits during its first 23 years on display and additional historic aircraft and they have access from a newly built pier topped by a free park.

On the hangar deck, there is a new chronological layout showing the history of the USS Intrepid from its start in World War II through the Vietnam War, space capsule recovery and its museum days. At a Staten Island shipyard, areas that have never been open to the public before such as the forecastle area where the forward anchor chains are stored have been opened for view. The mess deck where the sailors used to eat has been refurbished and opened so school children can eat lunch there. The area called Officers’ Country has been refurbished and opened for the first time so visitors can see where the officers lived. The museum has added several new aircraft to bring the collection to a total of 30 and restored the aircraft to original paint schemes.

“The pier has been rebuilt with concrete encased pilings” to avoid damage from marine boring worms that undermined the old structure, White said.

The pier project alone cost $62.5 million, most of it coming from government agencies.

Four new stair towers have been erected on the pier to facilitate access to the ship. One includes an elevator that can bring disabled people up to the flight deck for the first time, White said.

One propeller was given to the Naval War College in Rhode Island, one was given to the Navy for possible display in Pensacola, Fla., and the Intrepid retained two for display, one onboard the ship on the hangar deck and one on the pier.

One of the most distinguished war ships in naval history, the USS Intrepid was first launched in 1943 during World War II, then aided in NASA spacecraft recovery and later served in Vietnam. In 1976, the USS Intrepid was decommissioned and established as a museum ship by Zachary Fisher and the Intrepid Museum Foundation. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum officially opened in New York City in 1982, where it has remained at Pier 86 until October 2006 when the ship was moved to Staten Island to be refurbished.

In a dry dock at Bayonne, N.J., the entire ship was inspected and minor deterioration of the steel hull was repaired with almost 10,000 gallons of Navy gray paint at a cost of $5 million job. When the ship was moved to a Staten Island shipyard, work was done there and at other locations in Florida and Oklahoma to restore the aircraft collection to their original appearance at a cost of $1 million.



Entry filed under: Get Wet, Manhattan. Tags: , , .

‘TEST’ PARK IS B’KLYN’S BRIDGE TO $OMEWHERE Shell disease concerns lobster fishery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Going Coastal NYC

Connecting People to Coastal Resources

%d bloggers like this: