Crowds Watch Solar Eclipse Darken Sky From Intrepid’s Deck

Crowds flocked to the deck of the battleship museum on April 8, where special glasses helped them watch the moon block about about 90 percent of the sun by 3:25 p.m.

| 09 Apr 2024 | 03:57

Crowds camped out on the flight deck of the Intrepid Museum to bask in a rare solar eclipse on April 8. The decommissioned WWII-era battleship drew a variety of spectators; local residents, international tourists, and celebrities such as the movie star Rosamund Pike all showed up.

The celestial event, which had overtaken about 90 percent of the sun by around 3:25 p.m., brought a lightly darkened sky and a brief chill to an otherwise modestly warm day. The moon began gradually blocking out the sun shortly after 2 p.m.

Sid, a climate activist from New Jersey, was drawn to the Intrepid by his grandson Jason. The eclipse event was his first time that he’d actually been “on the ship,” as he usually just picked up Jason from summer camps that the museum holds. Needless to say, he now had a perfect excuse to join Jason on the youngster’s favorite boat.

”I was on the next deck down for a while, and there are amazing things that don’t even have anything to do with the eclipse!” Sid said. He explained that his shirt, which merely read “Declare Emergency,” was an exhortation for President Joe Biden to make a formal declaration that the climate crisis is an emergency.

Mark Baraket, who said that he was an astrophysicist that teaches high-schoolers, also hailed from New Jersey. He was wearing an olive-green NASA tee. April 8’s event was his third eclipse, which he said was “gonna be amazing.”

”I got a semi-break from teaching today, I have to bring a report back to share with everybody,” he said with a chuckle.

Another visitor, Jon, was in town from the Netherlands for ten days. He’d been to the Met, the MOMA, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. However, he said that viewing the eclipse was a spontaneous vacation decision after a week in the States: “I saw it coming, everybody went berserk, and I decided on the ship because otherwise I wouldn’t see it–what with all the high-rise buildings.”

Robin and Ann, who happened to be Straus News readers, had made their way onto the battleship from the Upper East Side. They had been on the deck since about 1:30 p.m., not to mention taken “three buses” to get there, but their expectant and infectious energy remained undimmed. Both agreed that it was “a very exciting” moment.

As the “peak” of the eclipse slowly began to approach, the small chunks of deck that remained unoccupied began to be overtaken. A few people found breathing room slightly below-deck, near the ship’s massive anti-aircraft guns. There was no “a-ha” moment, and a few inopportune clouds temporarily rendered the solar glasses useless.

Yet that was only a brief hindrance. Spectators were eventually able to view the sun reduced to a mere crescent-shaped sliver. The crowd patiently took in the shared experience, then made their way back onto the mainland.

Viewers who traveled north to cities such as Buffalo were able to experience a total eclipse. The next one that will be visible to New Yorkers is set to take place on June 11, 2048.