New York: Statue bro?
Every time I see a statue, the dreadful old joke about what one kiwi statue said to another floats through my brain. It does sometimes mean stifling an inappropriate urge to snigger - it's possibly not the done thing to ask Lady Liberty "statute bro?".
We made a rookie mistake when climbed on a sightseeing cruise for the purpose of seeing America's Icon and hustled ourselves up to the top deck for maximum Peering at the Objects of Interest. Unfortunately as it turns out, we did so without considering what a sunny, zero degree day might feel like once the boat got moving. I think most of my face got flayed off by the bitterly biting wind but I didn't come a million miles in a flying pencil to not look at all the things so up top we stayed for nearly all of the cruise until we were hypothermic and discovered the rear deck.
The cruise was for 2 and a half hours circumventing Manhattan Island and took in the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Centre site, 7 power stations, 17 bridges and 5 tunnel vents.
Helpfully there was an ancient (opening in 1868 qualifies for ancient I think) Irish pub right near the pier to unthaw. It took us a number of hours to unthaw.
Visiting the Intrepid has been on Antz Life List so we duly scheduled that in. The Concorde was unfortunately closed for some reason or another so we could only look from the outside. Its a much smaller plane than we were both expecting. Conversely, Ant informs me that the Blackbird (some type of spy plane according to the informational sign) was much bigger than he was expecting.
All the planes are parked up on the flight deck of the Intrepid - there were 27 flying machines, 2 space craft, including the Enterprise and a Soyuz capsule of which there is a list here. If anyone wants further discussion on the merits of each plane, ask Antoine.....my observations are limited to how tiny the cosmonauts must have been to fit in the capsule which was about the size of an armchair.
Whilst we were there a very weird two-rotor helicopter-plane hybrid flew over. It made a terrible racket but given the immediate scramble for phones to take photos I'm guessing it must be something fancy. Ant informed me in tones of awe that it can take of vertically and flip its rotors to horizontal so it becomes a propeller plane. Lovely.
There was also a flight simulator where one could experience as a pilot, a bombing mission from an aircraft carrier.
.....How scary could this be she contemplated as she paid her money to the smiley attendant and climbed into the simulator. Observation of the previous ride indicated that there was some gentle up and down movements and a couple of tilts to the side. There was really nothing to worry about here....
How very wrong.
The thing was a 7 minute nightmare necessitating a very tight grip on the the little handles, heavy breathing through the nose, the use of language to express appropriate levels of terror and knee shaking relief once it was over.
I have duly decided that being a fighter pilot is not one of my future career options.
Antoine's Content Corner
The Screaming Eagles Flight simulator was not nearly as scary as flying with Pollet in his Cessna.
I've just asked Ant and apparently the helicopter-plane hybrid machine is called an Osprey. The US started developing them after the Iran hostage crisis and took nearly 20 years to get into production at a cost of $70m each. I do love how grown men with Very Important Job Titles can dream up reasons to spend ludicrous amounts of money to build their childhood dream machines.