Photo: Robert Johnson — Business Insider
When the USS Intrepid announced it would house the decommissioned space shuttle Enterprise there was no doubt BI Military & defence would be there.The only question was how and where to watch the historical event. This was answered while travelling aboard the USS Wasp when a roommate offered to have me on board the Intrepid as his guest when the shuttle arrived.
I accepted, and my buddy proved true to his word. He met me outside the museum yesterday morning and gave me a view of the process I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. Even with his help, running around to get the best view was an ordeal—but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
We got to the Intrepid 90 minutes before the Enterprise was scheduled to arrive — as always it was packed with school kids
At that time workers were still laboring over the frame of the structure that would house the Enterprise
After waiting around for a while, the action started. This $27 million FDNY ship—the country's largest fire boat—was the first thing to grab our attention
The view from here was excellent. Check out that yellow boat belonging to the US Army Corps of Engineers
With nothing yet to do, some of the crane workers checked out the Intrepid and all the people taking pictures of them
It took another 45 minutes or so for the Enterprise to find its way alongside the crane and position itself for the lift
The view from here was outstanding — but now it was a 90 minute wait while the crew setup the shuttle for its big final step
But it was not — hadn't moved an inch — and the only action was those guys on top hauling some chains for what seemed like forever
The wait was so long that the people with the boat had to be somewhere else — so we headed back ashore and up to the deck of the Intrepid
The view from up here was not bad — those two pillars that stood so tall before were now buried into the riverbed stabilizing the crane as it latched onto the shuttle
A ranking Intrepid staffer told us the crane crew was being extra cautious with all the cameras and attention, which is why it took so long for the shuttle to finally get lifted up
The crowd on the other dock cheered — the cranes engine amped up — and the winches made the most horrible screeching noise
Workers helped settle the landing gear on the Intrepid's deck and people around us made jokes about making sure their toes were out of the way
And then it was down and with a couple solid whacks from a sledgehammer the rear wheels were locked into place
And then the legs propping up the front settled down as well — the wait was finally over — and we made it home just in time to avoid the rain
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