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Suppose you are a commercial real estate lawyer involved in the usual grind of building use and occupancy law. Suppose one day a principal client of the firm flips you a one-off project — a little something involving not the usual brick and mortar, but a ship the size of a horizontal skyscraper and the fastest passenger plane in human history. Now suppose you have to find legal parking spots for such behemoths in midtown Manhattan. Your reward for the several years this legal wrangling will take? You get to keep your day job and also become the unsalaried general counsel of a non-profit corporation operating on a $14 million annual budget. Welcome to the world of Jeremiah H. Candreva, a senior associate at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker who represents the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum at the foot of West 46th Street in Manhattan. Of the legendary 900-foot World War II aircraft carrier at the heart of the Hudson River museum complex, Candreva said, “It’s interesting, the Intrepid is like a building lying on its side. But it’s not something covered by the building code. “There were a lot of objections at first,” said Candreva, 41, a graduate of New York Law School who specializes in land use and governmental affairs. “The way to rectify them was to go through the [city] Board of Standards and Appeals. “Buildings,” he said, “fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Buildings. Things on water are under the jurisdiction of the Small Business Services. The city didn’t really know how to deal with the Intrepid back in 1982.” That was the year Zachary Fisher, the late philanthropist and real estate developer, rescued the U.S.S. Intrepid from a Navy scrapyard and brought it to New York as the focus of his dream, now come true in the form of the world’s largest naval museum. Its latest addition is the British Airways Concorde, which officially opened to the public on Sunday with a ceremony hosted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Behind the scenes, Candreva has logged hundreds of hours of pro bono work in such areas as easement of zoning and building restrictions, coordination of licensing and royalty agreements, arranging corporate sponsorships, and establishing the Fallen Heroes Fund to support the families of soldiers who have died in combat since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “I’ve always had a soft spot for the work the Intrepid does,” said Candreva, who has not served in the armed forces. “It’s an honor for me to help tell the tale of the sacrifices that people in the military make, the ultimate sacrifices that a lot of them make.” The focus of Candreva’s museum complex is the unsinkable, 900-foot U.S.S. Intrepid, launched in 1943 for World War II’s Pacific theater and known by U.S. sailors as the “ghost ship” for its uncanny ability to survive dozens of kamikaze strikes. The double-deck Intrepid, now chock full of retired vintage jet fighters and four exhibit halls, went on to war duty in Vietnam and recovery duty for NASA space capsules landing at sea. In addition to the Intrepid, the museum includes the drydocked U.S.S. Growler, a guided missile submarine, the A-12 Blackbird spy plane and now the Concorde supersonic jetliner. Each year, some 600,000 visitors examine this assembly of American naval might. Few of them, it is safe to say, realize the lawyering necessary to allow them aboard. Candreva is pleased to remain anonymous. “This isn’t a story about a guy who does some legal work,” he said. “It’s about why we’re here: to honor our heroes, to inspire youth, to educate the public.” Among the anonymous honored by the Intrepid museum is Fred Bradshaw of Highland, N.Y., who began his career in the U.S. Navy during World War II, retiring at the rank of lieutenant commander. It is for Lieutenant Commander Bradshaw that Candreva works for free. “I did what I had to do, and was lucky enough to survive Normandy and North Africa,” said Bradshaw, 85. “I didn’t do anything grand and glorious except go where they sent me. I think about all those men I knew who’ve passed on, and I get overcome. “Grief is a private thing in my mind,” he said. “Recognition is another. It’s important.”

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