Intrepid Museum plans new building along West Side Highway to house space shuttle

September 29, 2011 11:28AM


Space Shuttle “Enterprise”

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is considering constructing a new
museum Building On A Parking Lot On 12th Avenue between 45th and 46th
streets, across from the West Side Highway, to house NASA’s
decommissioned “Enterprise” space shuttle, the New York Times
reported. NASA offered the shuttle to the museum earlier this year as it went through a lengthy process
of choosing shuttle
“retirement homes.”

In its pitch to acquire the shuttle, the Intrepid Museum had
originally proposed a Hudson River pier alongside the museum as a
location. But now, the museum envisions converting the parking lot,
which is surrounded by H & H Bagels, a car wash,
storage warehouses and a strip club, into a
space themed museum that could draw millions of visitors a year. But
the plan faces challenges in that the property is owned by the State
Department of Transportation, not the museum. The lot, near Hells
Kitchen, is also zoned for manufacturing. And the
museum would have to raise millions of dollars for the building’s
construction, which could be difficult since the shuttle itself was a prototype that
never ended up flying in space.

Other cities across the country that lobbied for the shuttles had
clearer plans of where to house them, but were not selected. The
Museum of Flight in Seattle spent $11 million to build a structure to
hold a shuttle that it was never awarded.

Susan Marenoff-Zausner, museum president, said she thought the new
museum would help beautify the area, and that the shuttle would get
more exposure by the highway. The annex would be “the only
representation of NASA in the entire Northeast corridor.” The next
steps for the museum are fundraising, seeking a rezoning of the
property, and trying to come to a deal with the State Department of
Transportation. [NYT]