It’s Fleet Week in New York City!
Once a year, military ships fill the harbor as servicemen and women are given a week to come onshore and enjoy everything they miss while at sea. Us New Yorkers are a welcoming bunch, planning events, ceremonies and parties to celebrate their service to our country (and give them a week to remember)!
On Friday my friends and I headed over to the Hudson River to see all of the docked ships.
But there was one ship in particular we were looking for:
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum plans several Fleet Week events, and we were going to the best one: a free showing of the movie Top Gun on its flight deck.
How cool is that?!
The line for the film starts at 5pm on the upper walkway, they let you into the Intrepid at 7pm, and the show starts when it gets dark enough to see the screen.
We learned these things the hard way.
I had called earlier in the week to find out when we should arrive, since I knew it was a popular event and in past years I had friends who arrived to the line too late to be let in. The woman I spoke with at the information desk told me the line usually begins at 2pm, and if you don’t arrive before 5pm you probably won’t get in. She also stressed that no one would be allowed to cut the line, so the group had to get in line at the same time to be together.
So I put the fear of God into my friends, and we arrived at 4:30pm to see no line, and worse, the employees weren’t even sure where they would be putting the line! So we waited around until finally at 5pm they decided to start the line on the upper walkway. Luckily most of my friends (ahem… Kendall…) were nice about it and didn’t give me too hard of a time for making them get there so early! Also, Olivia was running late, and she was able to walk right up to us and join us. Now I wouldn’t recommend doing that with 15 people, because they’re bound to notice that, but if it’s just one person arriving later they should be able to join your party in line.
Here we are, the very first ones in line:
If you’re a museum member you can reserve two tickets and receive priority admission, so their line was somewhere else. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend paying the $100 membership fee just for this movie event, if you already are a member you should absolutely reserve your tickets. Then you won’t have to arrive as early as we did!
Another option if you don’t want to wait in line (or if you aren’t my friend and therefore ended up at the back of the line) is to take a guided tour. These tours begin at 6:00pm and are $20 for adults. Afterwards you’re allowed to stake out your spot on the flight deck before the crowd is let in, so for $20 you can also end up with priority seating. We figured since we were at the front of the line we were good, so we declined to do the tour.
You’re allowed to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks to the Intrepid movie screenings, but we were too hungry to wait until we got on board to start eating! So our picnic began in line (and continued during the movie)!
At 7pm we were allowed to board the Intrepid.
It was exciting!
You can bring blankets and chairs to sit on, and everyone began claiming spots on the flight deck among the planes.
While we were waiting I told my friends the plane elevator story. They were impressed – I guess my dad was right!
Before the movie a veteran spoke who used to be a Navy pilot. His flight instructor was actually the pilot who filmed the flight scenes in Top Gun (he was the one flying the plane upside down over the other plane while giving the pilot below the middle finger)! It was fun hearing his stories and his favorite parts of the film.
Then it was time to get comfortable: Top Gun was about to start!
I can’t tell you how cool it was watching the opening scene of the movie, where the planes are taking off of an aircraft carrier, while sitting on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. The only thing that would have made it more amazing is if the movie had been in 3D!
My favorite scene in Top Gun always reminds me of my brother. We were driving in the car one day after he became a Navy pilot, and he popped in a CD of the song “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” He told me it was “mandatory” that he knew every word if he wanted to be a real pilot, so we listened to it over and over again, singing along until we both had it memorized.
Guess I can be a Navy pilot too now!
I had seen the movie dozens of times as a kid, since it’s one of our family’s favorites. It was a new experience watching it as an adult. When I was little I thought Maverick was so badass, and watching it now I couldn’t help think, “Yes actually he is pretty reckless, and that’s dangerous!”
When my second favorite scene came on I made Kendall sit up so she could fully see the screen. I’m such a good friend!
Watching Top Gun on the Intrepid was an incredible experience, and it was made even more special when the movie ended and we turned around to see the Empire State Building lit up in red, white and blue in honor of our military.
As Vickie said, it was fleet week on fleek.
While you can’t see Top Gun again this summer (the Intrepid only shows it once a year on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend), the museum does offer other free movies on its flight deck. You can find the full summer schedule here.
I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day, and that you took a moment to remember what the day truly represents. We don’t know them all, but we owe them all.