7.5 tons of New York infrastructure sliced through the waters of the Hudson River as the USS New York made it’s way to Pier 88 in midtown Manhattan. The 7.5 tons of steel that once supported the twin towers has been smelted and reshaped into the hull of this battle ship. It made it’s way from the where it was constructed in Norfolk, Va. to New York, arriving on November 2nd.
The ship is visible from the bike path along the waterfront where it sits in the water like an island a little ways north of the USS Intrepid. My friend and I trekked past it one night on borrowed bicycles with out realizing what it was. The path was mostly empty but we had to weave suddenly as a procession of a hundred fully clad Marines blocked up the street. Up ahead, soldiers with machine guns stood around guarding the ramp.
We rolled onto a peer a little ways up and looked out over the black water. In the Hudson, little blue and red flashing lights zipped across the water. My friend and I were trying to figure out what they were when a stalky 40-somehting man answered our question for us. “Coast guard,” he said. “Can’t be too safe. How would you like it if they blew that up? They’d have to melt the scrap metal from that and build something new.” He introduced himself as Quint and told us he was a construction worker and had actually worked to clear rubble after the attacks of September 11th.
Quint pulled out a joint and lit it. “There was no law after the attack. If we needed bandages for someone who was hurt, we just kicked in the doors at the Duane Reed. Can you picture that?” Quint eyes got animated behind his glasses when he recounted the details. “All of us was just covered in dirt and dust. I look over and my buddy, a big guy, he’s muchin’ on something. I say ‘what’s that.’ He’s got a lobster tail! We’re all covered head to toe and he’s munching on a lobster tail! I said ‘where’d you get that.’ He takes us to Locanda Verde, [Robert] Deniro’s restaurant. They were cookin’ them up and handin’ them out!”
When the rubble had been cleared, tractors and cranes pulled our salvageable steel to send to Norfolk for construction. The ship remained until Veteran’s Day before it steamed back.