By Alan Neuhauser and Wil Cruz
MANHATTAN — It's a bird, it's a plane — it's a space shuttle?
The Enterprise, attached to a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier aircraft, passed low over the Hudson River Friday morning on its way to JFK International airport, wowing crowds of spectators eager to have a glimpse of the famous craft.
"It was absolutely fantastic," said Dave Slater, 65, who was visiting for the week from England. "I was going to go to Washington [D.C.], and decided to stay here to see the shuttle.
"Watching it that close, it was absolutely brilliant."
The shuttle took off from Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m., on its way to JFK airport.
It cruised down the Hudson River at an altitude of about 1,500 feet, passing the Statue of Liberty, the Intrepid Sea and the Air & Space Museum, which will become the retired craft's future home.
Alan Wander, 49, of Long Island, donned a NASA baseball cap for the occasion.
“It’s exhilarating and depressing at the same time,” he said. “I watched two shuttle launches in Florida. It’s the end of an era.”
"This is a new beginning for Enterprise," said Charles de Gunzburg, co-chairman of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
"As our nation's very first space shuttle, Enterprise now opens a new chapter in her long history of service here in New York."
Gunzburg hailed the arrival of the space ship as a "catalyst for learning, exploration and education" for the city.
In the following weeks, Enterprise will be "demated" from the Boeing-747 that carried it into the city and placed on a barge that will be moved by tugboat up the Hudson River to the Intrepid in June. The shuttle will then be lifted by crane and placed on the flight deck of the museum.
The shuttle's arrival was captured by hundreds of people who tweeted pictures, a collection of which was compiled by Pixable, a photo-inbox app that aggregates all the photos from your social networks and delivers them to you in one place.