Five months ago New York won a bid for the much-coveted decommissioned space shuttle Enterprise, with plans of displaying the historic spacecraft at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Manhattan, which now turns out may no longer be entirely the case.
The New York Times reports that the Enterprise shuttle, which was to be housed at Pier 86 on the Hudson river on West 46th street may possibly find it’s new home across the block on 12th avenue, sharing the space with H & H Bagels, warehouses and a strip club, rather than the aircraft carrier Intrepid and the rest of the already established museum complex the city had used as a major selling point for obtaining the retired shuttle initially.
The plan is to create an entirely new museum with the shuttle itself as a main focus point, and as Intrepid museum president Susan Marenott-Zausner imagines, creating labs and classrooms around it as a means of educating children and the public about science and technology on a broader scale.
The museum is also aimed at helping to clean up the surrounding neighborhood, hoping to draw in more businesses and bring new life to that portion of Hell’s Kitchen. Although it seems the plan is at a disadvantage from the get go, as that the property in question is zoned for manufacturing not museums, and the money needed to be raised to have the building constructed will most likely be in the millions (as an estimate, note that the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington had built a structure for $11 million to display a shuttle, but lost the bid to obtain one).
While 20 cities placed bids for retired space shuttles, only three were ultimately awarded, including the shuttle Atlantis to Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, the Endeavour to the California Science Center in Los Angeles and the Discovery to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. At the Smithsonian, the Discovery will be replacing the Enterprise (the only of the four shuttles not to be used in a mission), which will then move to New York and the Intrepid Museum.
For now however, the land must be appropriated from its owner, the Department of Transportation, and it is unclear as of yet whether the state will forfeit the property. In the meantime, the shuttle is expected to arrive to the John F. Kennedy International Airport via the Smithsonian in April 2012, where it will be held in a climate controlled tent in a hangar for roughly two years until finally making its way to wherever it will make its permanent home in Manhattan.