For Sale: An Enterprising Concept

by Hartriono B. Sastrowardoyo


Maybe you can’t buy the Brooklyn Bridge, but the USS Enterprise is for sale, starting at $239,990. That’s quite a bargain, considering the cost to build the first US aircraft carrier was about $19 million and, 25 years later, sold for scrap at just over $561,000. And it didn’t even have a finished basement and gas fireplace.

Confused? Read on.

In the Forked River Beach section of Lacey Township, NJ, there’s a new waterfront community named Captain’s Crossing. The builder named the four home models after US Naval ships: USS New Jersey, USS Enterprise, USS Constitution, and Old Ironsides, slightly redundant as that’s the nickname of the original USS Constitution.

Why would a home be named for a ship? To convince buyers that they can be the captain of their own vessel?

According to the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, the story of Old Ironsides has it that during Constitution’s battle with the HMS Guerriere, cannonballs fired from the British ship bounced off the sides of Constitution and fell into the sea, at which point the British sailors exclaimed, “Her sides are made of iron!?” Old Ironsides it was. And of course, New Jersey is an appropriate chose for a home in that state.

What the ships have in common is that all have had distinguished careers as well as successive ships to carry on their name, fame and heritage. Maybe the developer wanted the homes to be associated with the same qualities as their namesakes.

Let’s take this idea further.

Perhaps naming a home USS Arizona or USS Vincennes would push the limits of taste, and I’m willing to bet that USS Hazard or USS Wateree won’t be used anytime soon. Nevertheless, there are plenty of opportunities for justly named models. (And yes, these names have all been applied to US Naval ships at one time or another.)

If you’re lucky to be named Keith, buy the USS Keith model. Where’s my house? You can’t miss it. In fact, it’s named after me. If you don’t want to be disturbed, buy a model named USS Pyro or USS Avenger. (The latter may especially be appropriate if you run around at night wearing a mask, cape, and colorful tights.) Do your tastes run Presidential? How about the USS Theodore Roosevelt or USS Ronald Reagan? Or if you’re an expatriate, USS Winston Churchill? Or even the USS JEB Stuart. A snowbird? The USS Lauderdale is for you. Want to protest the cost of taxes, tolls, or auto insurance? Here’s the USS Defiance. Perhaps the USS Swivel would make a more subtle point. So to speak. Wouldn’t a model named the USS Impervious provide that sense of security in that you made the right purchase?

As for me? I’ll be waiting for the USS Rich.