The deck of the Intrepid Museum with the Manhattan skyline. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk

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Moored on the Hudson River on New York City’s west side, you will find the Intrepid Museum. The Intrepid is a retired Aircraft Carrier that was commissioned in 1943 and survived multiple Kamikaze attacks and a torpedo strike during World War II.

The Intrepid went on to serve during the Cold War, and Vietnam War and was used as a NASA recovery vessel.

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Decommissioned and then put back into service, the Intrepid was decommissioned a second time becoming a museum ship in 1982 and is the foundation for a collection of an amazing assortment of aircraft, exhibitions, and more.

Amazing views of the city, Statue of Liberty and more from Circle Line sightseeing cruise. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk
Amazing views of the city, Statue of Liberty and more from Circle Line sightseeing cruise. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk

Even before you board the Intrepid, you can view this impressive Carrier as you walk along the Hudson River and approach its location at Pier 86 (W 46th and 12th Avenue). Some 873 feet long, it’s hard to miss.  

An array of helicopters and jets on the deck remind you that this was once an integral part of protecting our nation and today’s Intrepid invites you to come aboard and learn more.

Visitors of all ages marvel at the aircraft covering some of the biggest achievements in military aviation with five branches of the U. S. armed forces represented: the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard as well as additional aircraft from around the world.

You can see an Avenger torpedo bomber (used during the Intrepid’s World War II service) and a Lockheed A-12, a Cold War-era spy plane.

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Stepping inside the carrier itself, visitors get the opportunity to explore the inner workings of the Intrepid and view cabins, controls, and more. Along the way, you’ll learn about those who served and how they lived.  

This vessel was once home to 3,000 enlisted sailors, officers, and Marines. Today, there are volunteers on board who will share their stories and more, take time to listen and ask questions, it’s worth it and an honor to learn more from them, many of whom are veterans.

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Explore more at the Intrepid Museum. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk
Explore more at the Intrepid Museum. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk

The museum is also home to the Growler, the only American-guided nuclear missile submarine that is open to the public.  Once, top secret, guests can now explore the submarine and learn what living and working aboard was like.

While walking towards the museum, you spy the Space Shuttle Pavilion from Hudson River Park.  Home to the Enterprise, this prototype helped NASA develop America’s space shuttle program.

It’s fascinating to explore up close and you can view it from above and below. Also within the Pavilion is a Soyuz capsule (part of the Russian space program), artifacts, and spaced-themed virtual reality experiences.

On display again in mid-2024, the museum is also home to a British Airways Concorde Alpha Delta G-BOAD.

This retired supersonic airliner was part of a small fleet known for taking less than 3 hours (2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds to be exact) to cross the Atlantic Ocean with regularly scheduled flights between New York City and Washington, D.C. to London and Paris.

Kids of all ages will enjoy the interactive exhibit space known as the Exploreum.  Here you can climb into a Bell 47 helicopter, lay in a sailor’s bunk, and navigate through an interactive submarine. This area is a family favorite for photo ops!

Two decks of both permanent and special exhibitions further share the stories of both aircraft and Armed Forces history and the views of the Manhattan skyline and beyond are wonderful. The museum has gift shops and opportunities to dine.

www.intrepidmuseum.org

Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park was established in 1998 and built on the remnants of former industrial waterfront areas.

Run by the Hudson River Park Trust, today’s Park includes 550 acres along over four miles of waterfront. Recreational piers, an Estuarine Sanctuary and more provide New Yorkers and visitors a connection to the Hudson River.

Runners, walkers, rowers, and more are invited to use this space and there are programs and activities year-round.  If you’re missing Fido back home, take a break and watch local dogs having fun with their pals at the Dog Park at Pier 84, just south of the Intrepid Museum.

View the Space Shuttle prototype, the Enterprise, at the Intrepid Museum. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk
View the Space Shuttle prototype, the Enterprise, at the Intrepid Museum. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk

All Aboard

A short walk to Pier 83 will take you to the Midtown location of Circle Line (they also sail from downtown).

Founded in 1945, they offer a wide array of sightseeing boat tours including a 90-minute Landmarks tour and a sunset 2-hour Harbor Lights tour, you can expect stunning views of the city, bridges, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and more. Snacks and drinks are available onboard.

Enjoy the cruise from inside or an open-air deck as you marvel at the sheer amount of real estate one island can hold! With views of New Jersey, passing ships and ferries, and famous bridges, including the Brooklyn Bridge from an unusual perspective.

Delightful and informative live commentary delivers insights into the history of New York City, its buildings, bridges, and how the waterways have been key to the city’s growth. You may also learn about Circle Line’s role in assisting passengers during the “Miracle on the Hudson”.

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On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 departing LaGuardia Airport struck a flock of birds shortly after takeoff, losing all engine power. Pilots Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to the rest on the Hudson River.

All 155 onboard were rescued. Staff and ships from Circle Line were among those who moved into action to aid the crew and passengers.

www.circleline.com

The impressive Intrepid Museum offers up a fun history lesson. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk
The impressive Intrepid Museum offers up a fun history lesson. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk

High-End Shopping and Up High Experiences

Hudson Yards is unique in many respects, it’s a living neighborhood that introduces new experiences to locals and visitors alike.

Bustling alongside the Hudson River, this area features some great upscale shopping, multiple dining options, The Shed (a new center for art), the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western hemisphere (the Edge), and the Vessel, its interactive centerpiece.  

You can also enter the High Line (the popular elevated walkway with gardens and more) from Hudson Yards and they offer programming in common areas.

Shopping options include Cartier, Coach, Tiffany & Co., and Dior. Restaurants run the gamut from Naked Tomato’s Mediterranean cuisine in a vibrant casual atmosphere with plates for sharing, to PEAK located on the 101st floor offering outstanding views, cocktails, and a variety of menu items including Maine lobster.

Many line up at this location of Magnolia Bakery to order their Instagram-worthy banana pudding.  This area feels shiny and new because it is and it’s a relaxing place to shop, dine, browse galleries, and more during all seasons.

Exhibits continue inside the Intrepid Museum. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk
Exhibits continue inside the Intrepid Museum. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk

The Vessel is the centerpiece of Hudson Yards and is an interactive artwork by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio. It’s comprised of 154 interconnected flights of stairs, nearly 2,500 steps in total and offers views of the city and river. Currently, access is limited to the ground-level base and is free.

www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com

The Edge is the city’s highest observation deck and is located at 30 Hudson Yards. Ticket kiosks are available, or you can book in advance. From the moment you enter this attraction, you will be wowed.

Light shows and elements sharing the history of this project adorn the walls, pillars, and even the ceiling as you prepare to enter the very fast elevator ride to the 100th floor (about a minute).

Look up to see an illuminated map of Manhattan above your head. The elevator ride itself includes a video presentation that makes you feel like you are flying above and through the city.

Hudson Yards as viewed from the Hudson River. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk
Hudson Yards as viewed from the Hudson River. Photo by Mary Casey-Sturk

Once you’ve reached the 100th floor, you can stay inside and enjoy 360-degree views of Manhattan and more. You’ll see Central Park, the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and more buildings than you can count.

Stepping outside, the views continue and continue to amaze! With tall glass walls to enhance the views and provide safety, you step out on a triangle-shaped “edge” to take it all in.

There are remarkable views from the Edge and you get the feeling you are floating in the sky. For those wishing to sit and observe, there are concrete bleacher-type seats that are perfect for gazing and there is even a glass segment you can step onto and look straight down 100 floors!

True thrill-seekers can sign up in advance for City Climb. This is the highest open-air building ascent in the world. Climbers scale the outside, which is 1,200 feet above the ground, then lean out and look down from the highest outdoor platform in New York City.

Back inside, there is a bar, snacks, and gift shops.

www.edgenyc.com

www.nyctourism.com

https://www.goworldtravel.com/intrepid-museum

Author Bio: Mary Casey-Sturk is an Editor and Writer for Living Magazines (Kentucky) as well as a contributor to Smoky Mountain Living Magazine (North Carolina). Mary is also a content developer, freelance travel, food, wine and features writer and the author of “Eating Cheese Curds With Strangers”.

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