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See worthy: USS Slater opens for season

Enter Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, who visited the ship and talked with officials about bringing it to Albany.

"He decided it would be a good thing for the city," Gipe said.

So, in 1997, the USS Slater sailed up the Hudson and arrived at the Port of Albany. Before it opened to the public, though, staff and volunteers spent two years refurbishing it under the direction of historic ship expert Tim Rizzuto.

The work that has been done on the ship is what tends to make a lasting impression on visitors, rather than the Slater's sheer size, Rivet said.

"It's actually a very small ship," he said. "As ships go, we're not big. We'll fit inside a battleship five times. The level and quality of the restoration is what sets us apart."

Battleships that are open to the public often have "empty compartment after empty compartment" because they're so big that it's hard to fill them with artifacts, Rivet said.

The Slater, on the other hand, is teeming with historical items. In the radar room, real Morse code is tapped out. The captain's uniform is on display. Officers' cabins boast items donated by the actual World War II occupants.

"It's the best ship you'll see," Rivet said.

Visitors often get to see the ship through the eyes of veterans, who frequently guide tours. Gipe said veterans also convene on the Slater for destroyer escort reunions. And although Rivet noted that destroyer escorts are small, relatively speaking, when they were afloat, they were packed with people.

"We'll have people who served on the same ship and never knew each other," Gipe said. "Maybe one was in the engine room and one was on the bridge."

The USS Slater is open for tours Wednesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., until November. Families and individuals do not need to call ahead, but reservations are required for Scouts and other groups. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors over 65 and $5 for children 6 to 14. Kids 5 and younger are admitted free.

For information or reservations, call 431-1943 or email info@ussslater.org.""

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