|Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum|
|Address||Pier 86, 12th Ave. & 46th Street, New York, NY|
|Admission Fees||See Purchase Tickets|
|Time Required||3-5 hours|
|Photography||No tripods or monopods, no other restrictions. Indoor exhibition lighting is good, but the Shuttle Hangar is very dark.|
|Nearest Airport||All New York airports JFK EWR LGA|
The Intrepid is right in New York City. Usually I’d fly there. This time I had flown from Dayton to Philadelphia, as going to NYC was an ad-hoc decision, and took the Amtrak Acela Express train from Philadelpia’s 30th Street Station to New York Penn Station. Getting to the Philadelphia Amtrak Station from the airport is easy on a commuter train that leaves PHL every half hour. The Acela Express train is a comfortable ride, but it doesn’t reach European standards. For both trains its advisable to carry only light luggage.
In NYC, I stayed at the Westin New York Grand Central, which is just one block west of my home of two years (in 1995/96) at 5 Tudor City Place and also close to a friend’s apartment building. The Westin is a good hotel, but loses points for charging for WiFi. That’s outdated policy. WiFi is like water.
The way you get around in NYC is to take public transport. Taxis and Ubers and Lyfts are merely an expensive way to sit around in traffic congestion. Staying at the Westin on 42 St, it’s a single bus ride across town on M42 to get to the Intrepid Museum.
The Intrepid museum attracts over a million visitors a year and is a very busy place in summer. The exhibition space on the Intrepid includes the ship’s flight deck, the hangar deck, and below the hangar deck you can tour the ship’s crew mess hall, the pilot briefing rooms, and other function areas of the ship.
Further exhibits are on and by the pier. Docked on the other pier side is USS Growler (SSG-577), one of the earliest submarines in the Cold War U.S. Navy fleet carrying nuclear-tipped Regulus cruise missiles. The Growler is open for tours.
The far end of the pier is where the BAC/Aerospatiale Concorde G-BOAD has found her permanent resting place on the Hudson river. There are chairs and tables under her wings and fuselage inviting you to take a break. She should still be flying; she’s an umbrella instead.
On the flight deck you can find one of Lockheed Shunk Works’ famous “Blackbirds”. The Intrepid’s Blackbird is an A-12, which was the first series of these Mach 3.2+ reconnaissance aircraft; designed for, ordered by, and operated by the CIA.
The A-12 evolved into a high-speed interceptor prototype YF-12, a drone-carrier aricraft M-21, and into the famous U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft type SR-71. The A-12 is said to be the fastest of all these types, even though the official world records are all held by SR-71s.
The star of the Intrepid collection is the U.S. Space Shuttle program’s atmospheric test vehicle, the Shuttle Orbiter “Enterprise”. This orbiter was used to test the flight characteristics of the orbiter on return from space; it never flew into space. It was on exhibit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum until the shuttle fleet was retired and then awarded to the Intrepid museum. It sits in a climate-controlled (and very dark) hangar-structure at the end of Intrepid’s flight deck. The museum charges an extra fee to see the Enterprise.