Intrepid, World Trade Centre and Broadway

Thursday 9th June 2011

We weren’t about to make the same mistake two days running and so headed straight to the Intrepid Museum. It was absolutely fantastic and I’d recommend it to anyone (well anyone remotely interested in sea, air or space). The aircraft carrier was huge – I’ve never seen anything like it. I won’t bore you with all the photos but they are on my flickr if you want to have a look!

Intrepid

Intrepid Aircraft Carrier

Loads of planes were out on deck so it was definitely good that we didn’t get in the afternoon before – it was hot enough first thing! Seeing the planes up close was great, and it was brilliant to be able to go into the aircraft carrier and see what it was like on the bridge and in some of the sailor’s quarters.

Harrier

The Intrepid Bridge

Several planes as well as the other displays were in the hangar, inside Intrepid

Also at the museum is a Concorde and submarine – you had to pay extra to go on Concorde and being on a budget that meant we couldn’t do that. The ticket price included entry to the Growler submarine but the queues were huge but we’d already spent hours on the aircraft carrier so decided against it, but I would love to go back, especially as now I think they’ve got a space shuttle!

Concorde

After dragging ourselves away from Intrepid, we took the subway down to the Financial District to visit the World Trade Centre. I’m so glad we did, it was very strange to think about the awful events of September 11th, as Ground Zero could have been any other building site. Obviously it’s not and it was interesting and moving to visit the temporary museum around the corner. We watched the 10th anniversary programs on tv avidly a couple of months later, as it was all so fresh in our minds.

Ground Zero

What the World Trade Centre will look like rebuilt

Flag of Honor at the 9/11 Visitor Centre

This statue was on one of the anniversary programs we watched last September. She was left outside the fire station and became a focal point for tributes (if I remember rightly!)

We then decided to walk across the bottom of Manhattan to Brooklyn Bridge, this was like another world all together! The piers couldn’t be more removed from the swanky sky scrapers just across the road.

Pier 17

Pier 17

Pier 17

Not the best picture of Brooklyn Bridge!

We walked along the side of the river down to the park to look out to the Statue of Liberty; it was a bit too hazy to see her properly. Neither of us fancied a choppy, rammed boat trip out to Staten Island and Ellis Island but I think if I went back I would take the free ferry and plenty of sea sickness remedies!

Statue of Liberty (the little one in the distance ;))

As if we hadn’t walked far enough Jay convinced me to walk back to our hotel (at Times Square remember) via Broadway. I think he agreed to get on a subway when I couldn’t walk any further but somehow we made it all the way back. We stopped in a few parks on the way and I kept darting into air-conditioned doorways as we passed the shops. Thankfully it cooled down as a huge thunderstorm hit, which was just what I needed, finally I was at a comfortable temperature!

Walking up Broadway

I love free wifi in parks!

In another park, just as the thunderstorm rolled in. This is the natural colour of the photo, no editing required!

ahhh rain on Broadway

In the evening we walked to a few places to eat before settling on Famous Dave’s Bar-b-q, this was what I imagined when I thought of American eating establishments!

Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Q

Proper American diner style (or at least what it is in my head!)

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An evening with Tony Iveson in aid of Bomber Command Heritage

Bomber Command Heritage is an organisation that is trying to maintain the history of Bomber Command for future generations. They are in the process of trying to persuade the MOD to sell RAF Bicester to them so that they can form an educational centre and museum to help with this vision.

A fundraising evening was held in October at the fabulous new John Paul II Community Centre in Bicester, with a guest speaker – World War II pilot Tony Iveson.

Apparently around 200 people bought a ticket for the evening as well as taking part in the raffle, silent auction and other fundraising efforts on the night, so fingers crossed a good amount was raised for BCH. On their website it says a couple of thousand pounds were raised which is excellent news.

It was interesting to hear from BCH about their plans for the future and what they would do with RAF Bicester if they do get the opportunity to take over the site. They have such a great vision I really hope that they can get the funding and support to persuade the MOD to sell the airfield to them. It will be a great addition to the area and a really interesting attraction to visit.

The star attraction of the evening was Tony Iveson. Tony was a pilot in WWII, and spent the evening telling us stories of his life as a pilot and what went on in the war. He spoke of the many different aircraft he flew, and different missions he was involved in. His first hand accounts of the Battle of Britain and attacks on Tirpitz (a battleship in Norway) were extraordinary and it was sobering to hear the impact the war had on personnel involved.

What was all the more inspiring is that Tony Iveson is now in his 90s and recalled the events as if they were only a short while ago. After his speech there was an extensive Q&A session, where people asked all kinds of questions which led to more interesting stories.

Many thanks to Tony Iveson for doing the talk and all at Bomber Command Heritage for organising the evening. Also to D who took me as a birthday present 🙂