27, 1998 |
'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
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
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