August 10, 2000
Free tour of battleship New Jersey draws thousands
By CAROL COMEGNO
More than 5,000 people flocked to Camden on Wednesday to see one of the nation's largest battleships before it is converted into a floating museum next year.
Some visitors arrived as early as 7 a.m.
NJTransit increased the number of shuttle buses handling the crowd from
three to 13 before 10 a.m. It reported carrying more than 5,000 passengers.
Some waited as long as an hour at the Delaware River Port Authority's Waterfront building to board the buses for a five-minute drive to the ship, but no one seemed to mind.
The Yahn family of Ewing went to the Aquarium while the bus lines were longer and visited the Navy ship after lunch with no wait.
"The wait was worth it," Shirley Yahn said. "We saw it (the battleship) come up the river last month, but things are always better when you see them hands-on. Just the size of it! I think how it got through the Panama Canal with less than a foot on each side."
The Home Port Alliance, the South Jersey group that now owns the ship, sold more than 1,000 battleship
T-shirts and got positive feedback on the ship and the Camden Waterfront.
Alliance President David McGuigan said the significant turnout "shows the same support for the quest that brought the ship to New Jersey and for the welcome when it came up the river."
The warship will be open free to the public again today for topside tours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.