This is exclusive WDMS footage of the Shuttle Enterprise making it's final in-flight appearance before settling into the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in NYC. Now, like an old retiring Beanie Baby, there will be no more space shuttles.
As a friend of mine once said: "It's the end of an era (corn up my ass!)
I apologize for the vulgarity, but the comment rings painfully true. Now what?
When I arrived at Pier 45 (the old Christopher Street Pier), there were only three of us standing in the cold. No one spoke, but we each knew why the other was there. After an hour or so, perhaps as many as 100 people trickled over; some with kids, many with dogs, but all with cameras. Though the wind whipped up mean along the Hudson, we all knew something amazing was about to happen.
Now, suddenly total strangers became comrads, armed with iPhones, binoculars. A collective experience was approaching and the nervous energy made people chatty.
After an hour or more of being buzzed by police and other unmarked helicopters the crowd began to morph into one child-like panic of amazement. We were all to simultaneously receive one giant present, but only because we'd been patient little boys and girls. The expectation was a giddiness I have seldom seen.
As the clouds broke, the collective breath of the crowd let out a discernible gasp. Coming in low, very low, some 1,500 feet above the water, was the now-famous specially outfitted 747 and its piggyback present. We were soon to be squealing all the way home.
I climbed atop a concrete mooring and a lady who'd been sitting beside me suddenly stood up. "You want a better look?" I said.
"Oh, I shouldn't," she said. "But this is our last chance, isn't it?"
I put out my hand and pulled her up. In the distance, a muffled roar split through the clouds and then the massive object came into view.
"It's the end of the future," she said as it passed above our heads. "No SSTS, no Concordes and now no more shuttles."
"It's sad" I said, balancing myself and camera alike. "Now what've we got?"
She grabbed my arm for balance. "Exactly! It's an empty future when you've nothing to look forward to..."
In one final glimpse, history and a dead technology made its final turn across the stone face of the Statue of Liberty, then banked off into the clouds.
The end of an era indeed.
By Danny Alias
Copyright 2012 WDMS