Lots of news regarding the Space Shuttle lately, especially the Discovery and Enterprise, so I thought I'd throw in my eyewitness account.
I was able to view the Space Shuttle Discovery launch, STS-56, back on April 8, 1993 at 1:29am. I was living in Orlando at the time and got a ride out to the coast with a few others after having done the same trip a few days prior, with the original planned launch being scrubbed at T-11 seconds due to a computer error.
This second trip resulted in a few thousand people standing on a 2-lane highway, which by then had become a parking lot, 4-cars wide. They keep you a few miles away from the launch pad and it was dark enough that we didn't know which direction to look until the main engines and solid rocket boosters ignited, turning the black of night into the light of day. The delayed thunderous roar of the rocket engines rumbled across the ground a short time later, and quickly faded as the shuttle arced northeast along the coast.
It was pretty damn cool for about a minute or two, and I can say I saw it, so I've got that going for me, which is nice. I guess it will be some time before I'll have the chance to see something similar, but seeing something like this once is good enough that I don't have a strong desire to do it again.
Here's a video of STS-56 that starts off by showing the night launch:
The Shuttle Enterprise was flown over NYC today on its way to the Intrepid museum via JFK. Here's a shot of the Enterprise flying over NYC, but taken in 1983: