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Part
5.

Err
I somehow managed to miss out the visit to Grand Central Station!
Now how I did that I do not know so I shall blame it upon being A)
Stupid B) Forgetful C) Getting on in years D) Probably just stupid
so delete as you please. Grand Central Station again is massive on
the TV and in films in real it does indeed cover some platforms there
are plenty to go around but the main hall is smaller than you think.
It is indeed grand well sculpted and so very very shiny and clean you
could probably eat off of it but it is a train station so unless you
want to pay a fortune for food or some rubbish in the many shops you
really won’t be there long in fact budget in enough time for a quick
couple of pictures and a bit of a wander…twenty minutes should do
it…

Onto
the Intrepid Museum which for me was the best outing of the whole
holiday because you see The Intrepid for those that do not know is an
aircraft carrier and not just any old aircraft carrier but one that
served and got hit several times in the second world war and then
played a big part in the space race tracking and recovering the
astronauts along with capsules upon their return to earth…I was
going to be in full blown geeky heaven.

As
we queued up again and bought our entry tickets I turned and looked
at my ever loving Wife and informed here “not a word of being bored
for the next two to three hours, I have been dragged around shops and
sites I was not bothered about but now I am going to be a big kid
again” to which she replied “Suck it up Smith you love it now get
your arse in there and start looking around” so that just goes to
show who wears the trousers in this marriage.

You
walk in along the docking pier so you get to appreciate the sheer
size of the ship which is huge but compared to modern day standards
of aircraft carriers is now quite small! You could either catch the
lift up into the Intrepid or walk up the stairs we did the latter as
to appreciate the full scale of the ship we were climbing into.
First stop was the hanger deck that was full of the ships history
planes that flew from it as well as helicopters and space rocket
return pods. I was a kid in a sweet shop exploring these exhibits
reading the history on the walls enjoying my leisurely walk through
the hanger deck but it was soon time to go out “up top” onto the
flight deck where more delights awaited me oh I mean us…

Now
the flight deck was a wonder of more flying machines from the last
fifty years or so but parked at one end was a Bkackbird Spy plane! A
Blackbird Spy Plane!!!!!!!!! I was in awe of this miracle of what
was top end engineering when I was a kid it was the best thing made
ever invisible to radar crazy fast and it looked the mutts nuts too
and here I was looking at it in the flesh I truly was ten again…

As
I wandered with Wifey in an acceptance sort of stroll behind me along
the opposite end of the deck I noticed that that end was covered in a
huge tent building. I say tent but what I mean is one of those semi
permanent buildings that seem to be going up at museums for creating
quick easy indoor space so we headed for it going in through the
doors where we were met by smiling staff who said “Welcome to the
Space Shuttle exhibit do you have your tickets?” I stood
dumbfounded while Wifey handed our tickets over then I asked “IS
there a Space Shuttle in there?”

“Well
yes sir it’s the Enterprise”

I
thought I would faint.

How
had I missed the fact that there was a Space Shuttle on The
Intrepid???? I thought I was in geeky heaven before but I had now
passed onto and beyond super live with your parents living on the
internet 23 hours a day geeky heaven. In a semi scuttle stumbling
movement I past through the entrance tunnel coming out right
underneath the Enterprise’s right wing. I stopped dead taking in the
grandeur of the first of the modern day for my generation machines
that took people into space. They helped build the space space
station launch the Hubble telescope and many other satellites and I
was stood right underneath the very first prototype…

I
thought my head would explode I was young again sat crossed legged in
my parents living room watching the four channel push button TV as
the shuttle launched up from its stand at Cape Canaveral twisting
skyward with a plume of flame smoke and sheer power pushing out
behind it I still remember thinking I could feel the rumble of it all
then being so sure as you can only be when you are young that one day
just one day I would be an astronaut leaving Earth’s gravitational
pull heading for the stars.

I
would settle for this now though rushing around the Enterprise just
looking at it then the second time walking more slowly around taking
it all in just soaking up what stood before me noting the re-entry
heat tiles tiny windows docking ports and even the landing gear quite
frankly in short I loved it.

After
quite some time we wandered back out of the Shuttle exhibition and
with one last forlorn look over my shoulder knowing I probably will
never see another one we headed off to finish exploring the Intrepid.
We walked through both of the bridges trying to escape from the
helpful staff who wanted to tell us the history of it all in real
time then hit the crew decks. These were excellent and set out like
it really used to be at sea with all of the living quarters and
kitchens they even had there own restaurant down there which would
have had been a great dining experience if not for the fact we had
had that large lunch earlier.

As
we made our way back down to the quay side I noticed yet again
something I had missed on the way in….Concorde. I think it says
something about the scale of the place that you can actually not
notice something the size of a Concorde tucked away in the corner of
the quay parked next to the ship. It was surrounded by piles of snow
and we couldn’t get anywhere near to close to it unfortunately but as
excited as I was to see it my brain was in overload and it’s probably
just as well I couldn’t get close to it to put more in there.

With
the rain steadily getting heavier we walked back toward our hotel
leaving behind the best thing I had done in New York by a mile. The
evenings entertainment was my turn to choose so we went off to see
Avenue Q at the theatre and if you have not seen any of their stuff
look it up on the tinterweb it is extremely funny being a bit like
sesame street for adults with no holds barred on the songs they sing
about what they sing but be prepared for full puppet nudity!

The
end of the night came quickly ending the best day here so far and the
rain was still steadily falling washing away what was left of the
piles of snow so much for the snow storm the weatherman said would be
here by now…

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