Fanfare greets carrier Intrepid upon return to Manhattan

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The World War II aircraft carrier Intrepid, powered by tugs and accompanied by a festive Hudson River traffic jam, was returned Thursday to the Manhattan pier where it has served for 24 years as a military and space museum.

Onlookers gathered along the riverbanks and in passing pleasure craft as the huge vessel was ceremoniously escorted Thursday on its 5-mile journey from Staten Island.

The Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum had occupied the Manhattan space until late 2006, when it was moved for extensive repairs and improvements costing nearly $120 million.

"She looks good, brand new — but I admit to a little bias," said retired Adm. James "Doc" Abbot Jr., 82, who commanded the carrier in the early 1960s and was back on board as honorary skipper.

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