Early in the morning on May 7, the Display Ship Barry will be towed away from the Washington Navy Yard and taken to a yet-to-be-determined scrapyard. The Navy destroyer has been a tourist attraction and the site for military ceremonies since 1983, when retired Admiral Arleigh Burke pulled strings to get the ship docked at the Washington Navy Yard. At the height of its popularity, the Barry was a regular stop for tour buses and visiting dignitaries, drawing upward of 500,000 visitors a year.
Over the years, tightening security has made it increasingly difficult to visit the ship, and tourist numbers have dwindled to less than 10,000 a year, says Navy Yard spokesman Brian Sutton. That, plus a new bridge that would trap the Barry on the Anacostia River, spurred the Navy to make plans to scrap the ship.
“It would cost $2 million to get it restored, plus $180,000 every year to maintain the ship, so it was really a very wise fiscal decision for the Navy to decide to get rid of the Barry,” Sutton says. “Still, we are sad to see it go.”
The Barry may once again draw crowds as it is towed out to sea on Saturday, May 7, probably around 6 a.m., Sutton says. The best spot to watch will be Yards Park, since the Navy Yard section of the riverwalk will be closed at that time.