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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
 
South Jersey

June 27, 1998

Killing competition

Re: 'Battleship, Bayonne: Imperfect together,' (column, 6/22).

The notion of situating the USS New Jersey in Bayonne is, as Kim Mulford observed, just so much bloody nonsense. The Essex-class aircraft carrier that's been turned into a floating museum in New York City is not only convenient to the tourist attractions in the Big Apple, it's also full of colorful aviation-related exhibits.

On the whole, it's a much bigger 'draw' than a battleship similarly treated, and it actually poses an enormously superior form of competition for tourists' attentions. Let's face it, the USS Intrepid has a great deal more 'flash' than even the most imaginatively designed battleship-centered exhibit.

Placing the USS New Jersey on the Camden Waterfront, on the other hand, not only spares it that kind of killing competition, but it also puts the battleship within sight of the USS Olympia. Compared to the Bayonne/Big Apple scheme, it's not only easier (and cheaper) to get from Camden exhibit sites to those on the Philadelphia waterfront, but it also gives a linked exhibit scheme: one big-gun Pacific Fleet flagship across the Delaware from another. Admiral Dewey's flag flew from the Olympia at the Battle of Manila Bay while New Jersey's own Admiral Halsey fought the campaigns of 1944-45 from the armored citadel of the USS New Jersey.

Not only is traffic access to the site easier than it would be if the battleship were consigned to the backwaters of Bayonne (you obviously didn't try to navigate the Turnpike on a weekday, when everything north of Exit 11 congeals like Portland cement), but it yields the prospect of an economic viability that simply doesn't exist in Bayonne - or any other part of North Jersey.

The USS New Jersey belongs in the Delaware River - in Camden - not only for reasons of sentiment. It belongs on the Camden Waterfront because it's the more economically sensible location for such an exhibit, building the most effective possible synergy with the investments already made on both sides of the river.

RICHARD BARTUCCI
Williamstown



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