829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Monday, April 18, 2011

Afternoon on the Hudson

USS Intrepid at the pier on West 46th street.  She served 
many tours of duty during WW II and Vietnam, and in between
was involved in peacetime missions with NATO and served
as the primary recovery vessel for both the Mercury and
Gemini space missions.  She was hit once by a torpedo, 
and struck three separate times by Kamikaze planes.

Since 1982, she's been home to the Intrepid Sea, Air, 
and Space Museum.  29 years later, I finally made it there
and I'm glad I did. 

The A-12 Blackbird, 1960's CIA spy plane.

The Huey.  I immediately think of rice paddies and
watching the Vietnam war on the news every night.

North Korean MIG, 1950's Korean War era jet.
They were also flown well into the Vietnam War.
So small, like having a missile between your legs.

The Harrier Jump Jet, featuring vertical
take-off and landing.

Anchor chain capstans up in the fo'c's'le.

Docklines leading forward out of the Hurricane Bow.

My Father-in-Law, who turned 80 the day
before.  If I'm in half the good health he is
when and if I make 70, I'll be thrilled.
Thanks for the great afternoon, Reno!

On the pier next to the Intrepid sits the British Airways
Concorde.  Across the pond in half the time.  It reminds
me of Live-Aid in 1985 when Phil Collins played
Wembley Stadium with Sting earlier in the day,
then flew the Concorde to Philadelphia to play with
Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton later that night.

There was a surprising amount of legroom in the seats
but a very narrow aisle and microscopic restrooms.
It was apparently a very quiet ride because you went
 faster than the speed of sound. 

USS Growler, a Diesel powered nuclear submarine,
in commission from 1958 only until 1964. 

Powder room.

Captain's Cabin. At least he and the Commanding
Officer could sit upright in bed!

Commanding Officer's Stateroom.  I say closet.

Up periscope!

I'm thinking there were not too many tall or wide
submariners.  I'm both and I had to squeeze through
those small doorways, somewhat sideways.

Hey, what does this lever do?

This little galley fed 88 crewmembers!  Don't tell
me you can fit 88 slabs of Foie Gras on those
flat-tops and still keep them all rare.  No way!

Mess Deck.

The bottom bunks could not have had more than
16 inches of clearance.  Claustrophopic people
need not enlist.

The three lucky guys who slept in the stern torpedo
room had a bit more space.  It takes a special breed to
serve on a submarine.  This is a good time to thank all 
of the men and women who serve or have served
 us in all branches of the military!

P.S.- What I failed to mention was the miracle on the
Hudson, which apparently transpired almost straight out
from this area in the middle of the river.  Sully could not have
chosen a better place to land;  The wind was right, the river
was relatively calm and clear at the landing zone, and the
river at this particular junction is rife with water taxis.
It was a tailor-made, textbook emergency landing.  
Everyone should be so fortunate to have a pilot of his 
caliber at the helm. 


  1. Excellent! It took you a lot longer to get there than it did me. It was one of the first places I took my sons after we moved to NJ in 1989. When my father (who served in WW2) came to visit I took him as well. He was fascinated.

    I never flew Concorde although I have been in one at an air museum in the UK. One of the guys I worked with was an amateur expert at knowing which BA transatlantic 747 flights to book that gave you the optimal chance of being upgraded to Concorde - and he achieved it several times. Shame it was so expensive to fly. It could have revolutionized air travel if only if had been more economical.

  2. great pictures - looks really interesting. I was recruited pretty hard out of high school to be a nuclear engineer for the Navy - I'm glad I turned it down, I couldn't have handled those tight quarters for several months at sea.

    OT: your music playlist that just started playing shocked me a bit... I heard rumbling of Zeppelin (inspired) music, but didn't remember starting my iTunes... crazy.


  3. For me, the coolest thing about the Concorde was that it arrived in New York two hours before it left London.

    The Wikipedia article does a good job of explaining its extraordinary engineering and why the thing was so expensive to produce and maintain. The project wouldn't have existed without massive government subsidies, but, in the end, it was still more profitable for the airlines to fly passengers in conventional First Class seats than on Concorde.

    By the mid-'70s, fuel costs made it unworkable. Imagine how impossible it would be today.

  4. Why do the words "conventional" and "first class" not sound right together, to me?

  5. I gave myself the treat of a flight on Concorde when I heard it was being taken out of service.

    It was an amazing trip (NY to London) over very quickly and a great feeling of power, as if you (or rather the captain) could just point its nose into the sky and go for it. It felt like an Aston Martin V8 when a 747 is like a bus: not much space but lots of leather and it goes like a rocket. And at 60,000 feet, as close to space as I'll probably get.

    I miss seeing its lovely lines over London, nose pointed at Heathrow, lit up by the setting sun.

  6. My dad designed and built some parts for the Blackbird, and I remember rather vividly, as a teen, watching her take off - my entire body vibrating with the shock waves from the exhaust a 100 yards away, the flames from the engines, some twenty thousand pounds of thrust each, forming conical shock waves with spheres within, extending back from the engines. Jesus! it was an awesome sight.
    It looked like a damned UFO, but I knew otherwise.

    He later told me that when the SR-71 broke the world's speed record at over 2,100 mph, that the throttles were nowhere near their maximum setting.

  7. I love this exhibit and I have been there several times and never get tired of it. What it has is a lot of "bang for the buck". If you love this kind of stuff then you must also see the Udvar-Hazey extension to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Admittedly you will see a lot of the same planes but you will see many others as well including the Space Shuttle(I forget which one)section, which is very cool. Also if you have kids, or are just a big kid they let you try on various parts of a actual space suit. Unfortunately it is located near the Dulles airport and not on the Mall in Washington, D.C., but it is worth the drive, about 30 minutes.

  8. The Space Shuttle in the Smithsonian is the Enterprise, which was actually a prototype that was used to perform some flight tests in the atmosphere but never flew in space. It doesn't have engines or a heat shield.

    The current plans are for Enterprise to be moved to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, and for Discovery (which flew 39 missions in space) to be be donated to the Smithsonian.

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