Crowds stood silent, awestruck, as the USS New York majestically scudded up the Hudson River this morning on its way to docking in Manhattan. Then, at 10 a.m., you could the hear applause from this side of the river once the massive ship had nestled into its berth next to the USS Intrepid at Pier 88.
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Service men and woman ringed the deck of the massive vessel, which was crafted with steel from the World Trade Center wreckage and christened in tribute to the victims and survivors of the 9/11.
After pausing briefly near Ground Zero for a 21-gun salute, the Navy warship continued on up to the George Washington Bridge, where it turned around.
At 9:30, she was back at midtown, preparing to dock. Police cars are sounding their horns and a Coast Guard cutter is leading the way.
At 9:40, the massive vessel turned east, accompanied by several tugs, including one that bore a huge American flag in back.
At 9:45, she began inching forward , to nestle next to the Intrepid — which looks tiny in comparison.
The noise of NYPD and television helicopters and other craft in the air and in the water made it difficult to hear the salute, which came in bursts of three. That might have been for the better, given the scares we’ve had on both sides of the Hudson in recent months as the result of otherwise innocuous events.
Passing boats sounded their horns as spectators gathered on both sides of the river, some holding flags, observing a moment that was at once solemn and respectful, yet full of patriotism. The father of a man killed in the attacks described it as “smiling through tears.”
It’s been awhile since so many vessels, large and small, plied the Hudson. Their wakes slapped at the shores as choppers buzzed overhead.
The bow of the 684-foot, $1.2-billion amphibious assault vessel, built in Louisiana, contains about 7.5 tons of trade center steel.
The photographer, who lives directly across the street from Ground Zero, was late for work at Windows on the World that fateful day, and immediately scooped up her cat and hid in their bathroom. Once it was safe to come out, emergency workers herded residents of the buildings onto ferries and other craft and took them to Ellis Island.
PHOTO: By ELIZABETH ORTIZ /PROPERTY CLIFFVIEW PILOT LLC
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