OpSail 2000

On July 4, 2000, OpSail put on its show for New York

July 9, 2000

It was supposed to start with several airplane fly overs, and then all of the tall ships were supposed to sail from New York Harbor up the Hudson to the George Washington Bridge, then turn around and go back down the Hudson again to New York Harbor to hang out and wait for the fireworks.

I dragged myself out of bed at 6 a.m., took about an hour to get dressed, and left my apartment destined for Battery Park. It was very hot, hazy, humid and foggy. My pictures came out somewhat boring and lifeless, but on the brighter side, I think I lost a few pounds.

The operation was supposed to start sometime around 9 a.m., but the first planes didn’t fly over till about 9:45 a.m. I really couldn’t see the planes till they were right on top of me, but there was this one guy who used to be in the Navy standing behind me, and I swear he was spotting them and calling off their type before they were little more then a dot on the horizon.

“Here comes a C130”, he would say, and I’d look everywhere but see nothing. Finally about 45 seconds later, I’d see a small dot, getting slightly bigger on the horizon. And he did that for every plane, and nailed each one – incredible!

After a while, the ships starting moving, and there was usually about five minutes between ships as they traveled up the Hudson. My vantage point was a little off to the left in Battery Park, but since I’m 6’6”, I was able to see over most people’s heads. I was able to get some right front (starboard) shots as the ships passed near the Statue of Liberty, and then a few minutes later, I was able to get a full starboard side shot as they passed by the reviewing stand.

After a few hours of this, the heat started to get to me, and I had to break for water. When I got back to my spot, most of the interesting tall ships had already passed, so I packed it up and went home (for a much needed nap – did I mention that I got up at 6 a.m.?!)