"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free ..." And while you're at it, you also can send your history buffs, nature lovers, art enthusiasts, adventure seekers, bikers, hikers, fishermen ... and their families. With its diverse history, abundant natural beauty and vibrant arts tradition, the Empire State guarantees a unique experience for travelers of all interests and ages.
New York Takes Flight
This year, history is in the air as New York kicks off a statewide Centennial of Flight celebration. In the 100 years since Wilbur and Orville Wright's landmark launch, New York has built its own remarkable aviation legacy. Its contributions to aviation and aeroscience are commemorated in the numerous aeronautical museums located throughout the state, many holding special exhibits in 2003.
One such museum not only showcases an array of historical artifacts, it is itself a uniquely preserved slice of history. The USS Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier berthed in the Hudson River in Manhattan, houses the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, where visitors can view more than 30 aircraft displayed on the same deck where American soldiers fought for our nation. The ship's hangar deck serves as an exhibition area where several displays honor past heroes and unveil the military technology of the future. For a more interactive experience, pilot wannabes can ride the jet flight simulator.
The Empire State Aerosciences Museum also occupies a unique setting in Glenville's Schenectady County Airport. Nine buildings spread over 27 acres display restored military aircraft dating back to the Korean Conflict of the Fifties, as well as aviation models and artifacts. A mock-up of Amelia Earhart's plane brings to life the haunting story of her doomed flight, while a flight simulator provides a risk-free alternative to the real thing. Catch an air show or cut a rug at a big band hangar dance.
This year, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum in Rhinebeck will celebrate not only the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight, but also the 76th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh's historic first nonstop air voyage from New York to Paris. Visitors can experience the thrill of old-time flying and see vintage aircraft in action. Each week, the museum presents a kind of airborne living history with educational air shows and events. On Saturdays, learn about early aviation history and watch a World War I dogfight demonstration. Sunday shows offer fun for the whole family with a melodrama starring the comical characters Trudy Truelove, the Evil Baron of Rhinebeck and Sir Percy Goodfellow.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City and the Niagara Aerospace Museum in Niagara trumpet the aviation achievements of their respective areas. The Cradle of Aviation Museum contains one of the world's most diverse aerospace collections and educates visitors on Long Island's influence on the industry through a display of L.I.-built World War II planes. The museum also houses an original full-scale lunar module that was recently refurbished by HBO for the miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, as well as a domed IMAX theater. The Niagara Aerospace Museum focuses on western New York and exhibits locally manufactured aviation products, vintage airplanes and personal memorabilia from local servicemen and women. Its Lawrence D. Bell Theater is fashioned after the interior of a jetliner.
Befitting the "Soaring Capital of the World," the National Soaring Museum in Elmira honors motorless flight with the world's most extensive collection of sailplanes and gliders--approximately 60 ships--and an archive of photographs, periodicals and documents dating back to the late 1800s.
For those adventurous spirits who yearn for the real thing, Elmira is the perfect place to take flight. Both adrenaline junkies and nature lovers can enjoy the unique, exciting sport of soaring. …