Adam's Antics

May 8, 2012

“Let’s Make Sure History Never Forgets the Name: Enterprise.”

Filed under: Photography,Wandt-NYC — Adam Scott Wandt @ 10:10 am

“Let’s Make Sure History Never Forgets the Name: Enterprise.”

In my blog “Heroes,” I openly confessed to being a Trekkie. I have seen every episode, of every season, of every series, multiple times. I don’t actually consider Star Trek science fiction; I consider it a blueprint for the future of mankind.

So, it should not be a surprise that when NASA announced the space shuttle Enterprise would be flying over Manhattan, that I was determined to get the perfect photograph. This was made easier by the fact that the flight plan showed the Enterprise would in fact be flying right past my building… three times. It’s as if the cosmos were speaking directly to me and ensuring that I could get the perfect photograph. I heard the cosmos loud and clear and was willing to change my schedule in any way that was needed to capture the perfect photograph of this historic event.

The Enterprise was originally scheduled to make its fly-by on Monday, April 23, 2012. I adjusted my schedule so that I could camp out on the roof of my building all morning. Then, due to weather, the fly-by was cancelled. The same thing happened on Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Finally, on Friday, April 27, 2012, the Enterprise, atop a specially retrofitted Boeing 747, left Washington D.C. Dulles Airport en route to New York. I watched the Enterprise take off from Dulles live on, then started my countdown knowing it would take about 40 minutes for the Enterprise to arrive in New York City.

About 42 stories above street level, on the roof of my building, a small group of about 20 people gathered on a very windy morning to witness the event. Cameras, tripods, binoculars, iPads, iPhones, and videocameras abounded. It was cold and windy, but no one cared. Everyone was there to witness the end of an era of space travel. It did not matter to anyone that the Enterprise never actually flew in space; all that mattered was that it was the Enterprise and that in the next few minutes it would be within our reach. Finally, the moment came…

Looking South towards One World Trade Center, someone shouted, “There it is!” With my 400mm lens up to my eye, I confirmed the unmistakeable site of a space shuttle riding atop a jumbo jet. “That’s it for sure,” I exclaimed. Moments later, the Enterprise was flying North along the Hudson River at less than 1,000 feet, headed straight towards me. I snapped away and held my breath as the Enterprise flew just a few hundred feet in front of me. It seemed I could reach out and touch it… or hit it with a spitball.

About 10 minutes later, after turning around at the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Enterprise flew South along the Hudson directly in front of my building a second time! The only thing louder than the howling wind were the sounds of the cameras clicking away. I was surprised at how quiet the jumbo jet was flying past. The Enterprise vanished over lower Manhattan, only to reappear traveling Northwest over New Jersey. I noticed for the first time it was accompanied by what appeared to be a single F-18 Hornet (a fighter jet). I thought to myself how odd it was that the Enterprise was escorted by a single fighter jet; don’t these things fly in pairs?

After flying northwest over New Jersey, the Enterprise turned east towards Manhattan and crossed Manhattan just north of my building. It disappeared behind the skyscrapers and headed to its destination, John F. Kennedy Airport.  I ran to the east side of my building hoping to capture one last photograph of the Enterprise flying between the skyscrapers. However, to my dismay, the Enterprise did not reappear. But the story is not over yet…
I look forward to June when the Enterprise is brought to the Intrepid on a barge and is lifted by crane onto the flight deck. What is so spectacular about this story is that I have the perfect view of the Intrepid from my apartment, so day and night, rain or shine (but not severe fog), I will be able to see the Enterprise staring back at me. It serves as a reminder of the dreams of space travel I often have that I fully believe will be realized one day.

So, in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard… “Let’s Make Sure History Never Forgets the Name: Enterprise.”

The Space Shuttle Enterprise atop NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Over the Hudson River. (4/27/12) New York, NY, USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Canon EF 100-400mm. ISO 200. 400mm f/8 1/1000. © Adam Scott Wandt.

Here is a second photograph taken that morning:

The Space Shuttle Enterprise atop NASA’s Boeing 747 Flying Past One World Trade Center

The Space Shuttle Enterprise atop NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Flying Past One World Trade Center – The Freedom Tower. (4/27/12) New York City, NY, USA. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Canon EF 100-400mm. ISO 200. 400mm f/8 1/1000. © Adam Scott Wandt.

See Adam Scott Wandt’s other NYC photography at Wandt-NYC

Twitter: @Prof_Wandt

May 5, 2012


Filed under: General Antics — Adam Scott Wandt @ 1:28 pm


As far back as I can remember, my personal heroes have been scientists – physicists or astrophysicists to be exact. While most kids grow up admiring sports stars, politicians, civil rights activists, movie stars, or “dad,” I grew up reading about and admiring men like Einstein, Copernicus and Kepler. As an adult, I have read most of Stephen Hawking’s works. I am impressed by his ability to explain the complexities of space, time and the universe in simple terms that most people can understand.

I have speculated as to why these people are my heroes… Maybe it’s because I am related to famous astronomer Sir William Herschel, who discovered Uranus, Titania, Oberron, and Infrared Radiation… Maybe it’s because these men can answer questions for me that others cannot… Maybe it’s because I grew up glued to the TV, watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (Jean Luke Picard is absolutely my favorite fictional hero).

Today, I have a new hero. A man who is much closer to me, in both space and time, than Herschel, Einstein, Copernicus, Kepler or even Hawking could ever be. Actually, I used to live only a few blocks from his office.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist and the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. He is the host of NOVA’s scienceNOW on PBS and a frequent guest on popular shows such as The Daily Show. Dr. Tyson is becoming very active on Facebook and Twitter, has a wicked sense of humor, and often communicates with his fans.

Like Hawking, Dr. Tyson has the ability to explain complex concepts in simple language that is easy to understand. Better yet, he has an engaging personality and sense of humor that keeps me very interested in his activities. Best yet, he is a true New Yorker – born in Manhattan, raised in the Bronx, and educated at Columbia.

I have just started reading Dr. Tyson’s latest book, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier (2012). I actually stopped reading the biography of Steve Jobs halfway through to start Space Chronicles, which most people who know me would find unbelievable.

Check out Dr. Tyson – watch some of his interviews, read some of his work, watch on November 3 when he hosts SNL… I bet you will be as fascinated with him as I am.

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