There is the Enterprise Space Shuttle in all its glory!
The Space Shuttle Enterprise flew atop a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Dulles Airport outside Washington DC this morning to New York City, flying down New York Harbor over the Verranzano Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and down the Hudson River to ultimately fly over the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on Manhattan's West Side, where it will be put on display in June.
A friend and I went over to the Louis Valentino Jr Park and Pier in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York to see the shuttle's fly over. The pier, named as a memorial to a NYC firefighter who died in the line of duty, offers good views of the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, Manhattan's skyline, Staten Island, and the New York Harbor. There we waited with many other excited people and photographers. At around 10:30 AM we saw the first glimpse of the shuttle approaching the Verranzano Bridge.
It was a magnificent sight to see!
I was happy I had my most powerful zoom lens with me so that I was able to get some good closeups as the shuttle flew over us and towards the Statue of Liberty.
As you can see there were many visitors at the base of the statue on Liberty Island.
The shuttle flew at a high angle over the Statue of Liberty, so I wasn't able to get a photo of both of them together, but I heard it was going to swing back down the Hudson River again after it flew over the Intrepid, so I hoped to get that photo later. In the meantime, I took a few extra shots which you can see in the mosaic above of the statue, the orange Staten Island Ferries, Ellis Island, a NYPD helicopter, and the Freedom Tower ( 1 World Trade Center) at Ground Zero in the distance. The tower is expected to become the highest building in New York City next week, as construction continues. We soon saw the shuttle returning from the east for its next fly over.
Its fighter jet escort is visible in this photo
This time it was flying at a lower altitude, so I could get it in frame with the Statue of Liberty.
It was a very exciting and proud moment to see this wonderful tribute!
Some more closeups of the Enterprise.
I heard on the radio that this shuttle was initially going to be named the "Constitution," but a letter campaign initiated by Star Trek fans to the White House and NASA to name the new shuttle after the scienc fiction TV show's "Starship Enterprise," influenced the then President Ford to have the name changed. As a former "Trekie," I think it was a very inspirational name change!
The shuttle flew over the Verranzano Bridge another time....
....turned to the right....
....and flew towards Staten Island. It must have flew over parts of eastern New Jersey as we next saw it swing around ...
......and return from over the Bayonne Bridge in New Jersey
It was going to do one more fly by over the Statue of Liberty, so all the photographers on the pier were quickly setting up their cameras again. As you can see by the heavy coats and hoods it was a cool and blustery day today in New York.
Here it is approaching from the west with its fighter jet escort in the rear.
One more fly over salute to Miss Liberty!
The 747 NASA Shuttle Aircraft and the Enterprise Shuttle then flew off into the horizon and later landed at JFK airport at 11:!8 AM.
In several weeks the Enterprise will be "demated" from the 747 and placed on a barge that will be moved by tugboat up the Hudson River, lifted by crane and placed on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. It will be placed in a temporary climate-controlled pavilion and open to the public in June. The Intrepid will eventually have a permanent exhibit facility on board to showcase Enterprise and enhance the museum's space-related exhibits and education curriculum. It will be a wonderful exhibit to visit!
I'm so glad to have been able to witness this historic event today, and I hope you enjoyed seeing it through my photos.
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