The USS New York
, a slick new Navy warship, sailed into New York harbor Monday
to much fanfare. The amphibious transport dock was built as a floating memorial to the attacks of September 11, 2001 - steel recovered from the World Trade Center site was used in its construction. The ship is currently docked next to the permanently moored Intrepid
on Manhattan's West Side, where it is scheduled to remain until Veterans Day, November 11. The vessel will be officially commissioned into the US Navy on Saturday.
Though constructed in Louisiana, the New York
continues the connections of the city and the state to a long and proud shipbuilding tradition. There have been six previous New Yorks
in the US Navy, three of which were built in the state. The first such vessel was actually part of the first American fleet, though it was little more than a large canoe. The American Navy was born in Whitehall, New York, at the southern tip of Lake Champlain, far from any ocean, in 1776. The ships were hastily built to halt the British southern advance down the lake; though 11 of the 16 American ships were destroyed, including the New York
, and the Americans were forced to retreat, the Battle of Valcour Island did delay the British enough to force them into winter quarters far north of their objectives in the Hudson Valley (for more on this fascinating history, check out the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
across the lake in Vergennes, Vermont).
The second New York
, a frigate built in a Manhattan shipyard in 1800, saw action in the Mediterranean during the Barbary Wars and the naval conflict with France. It spent most of its life laid up at the Washington Navy Yard until it was burned by British troops during the War of 1812.
Far larger than a canoe or a frigate, and a far more famous vessel was the battleship USS New York
which served in two world wars and was built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Laid down in 1911, the New York participated in the blockade of Germany during World War I. In the Second World War, it saw action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, providing cover for the invasion of North Africa in 1942 and the assault on Iwo Jima in 1945. After being decommissioned, it was used as a target ship for the nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll in 1946, which it miraculously survived mostly intact, though the ship was finally laid to rest as a target for conventional weapons in 1948. About 70 sailors who served aboard the battleship
will be on hand for the commissioning ceremony on Saturday.
The hull of the fifth USS New York is launched at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 1912
The New York
is a memorial to September 11, but it will only be in the city temporarily - a more permanent memorial to the tragic events is taking shape in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, however. Architect Michael Arad has erected a mock-up
of the National September 11 Memorial in the Navy Hospital campus. You can find out more about the memorial here
, but you will get to sneak a peek at the model if you come on a tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. There are just two tours remaining this year - Sunday November 8 and Sunday, November 22. Tickets are available here
. These tours are possible thanks to our ongoing partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation
and the Brooklyn Historical Society
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