Norfolk, Va. - It's the pride of the Navy - and it's finally heading our way.
The New York, made with 7.5 tons of steel from the wrecked World Trade Center, is leaving its home port of Norfolk Naval Station on Thursday for its maiden voyage to New York City.
"The excitement is huge," said Navy spokesman Chief Scott Boyle. "The ship and the crew have been building up to this point for a couple years."
The ship, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock, has a crew of 360 - including dozens of New Yorkers. The ship's captain, Cmdr. Curtis Jones, is from Binghamton.
"The New York ties and the emotions that come with this ship, it's almost like a homecoming for the crew," Boyle said.
The bow of the $1 billion ship was forged with steel recovered from the rubble at Ground Zero.
One of its main missions is to transport Marines - it can carry an entire battalion and their equipment, including a 38-ton amphibious assault vehicle, landing craft and an MV-22 Osprey aircraft.
The New York will sail past the World Trade Center site on Monday and dock next to the Intrepid on Manhattan's West Side. The ship will be commissioned Nov. 7.
"Commissioning any ship is a really intense experience. This one is kind of double," Boyle said.
Thousands of New Yorkers, including cops and firefighters who responded to the attacks, are expected to welcome the ship as it sails up the Hudson River next week.
"We really believe that our fallen brothers are riding that ship and are part of the crew, still serving with them," FDNY Capt. John Gormley said.
Here is the plan for the arrival of the ship on Nov. 2.
6 am. - A pilot boat will leave Intrepid Pier (Pier 86) to meet the New York near the Verrazano Bridge and accompany it up the Hudson.
7:35 a.m. - Ship passes under the Verrazano.
8 a.m. - Ship stops near World Trade Center site and renders a 21-gun salute.
9:30 a.m. - Ship turns around at the George Washington Bridge and heads for docking at Pier 88.
10:15 a.m. - Ship docks at Pier 88.
11:30 a.m. - Welcome party at the pier.