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When I visited San Francisco a few years ago I tried to visit Alcatraz Island without buying tickets in advance and was told that that was pretty much impossible on account of the fact that they generally sell out of tickets days before the actual trip.

Places like Ellis Island don't appear to sell tickets online, making early sell outs impossible, but the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum however does sell tickets online: http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/Plan-Your-Visit/Ticket-Information.aspx

My question is... should I buy in advance or is there a good chance that I'd be able to buy the day I wanted to see it?

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    Every time I came there there wasn't a limit on people coming in. – Karlson Aug 10 '15 at 13:58
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    I agree with the others, the Intrepid Museum is not as "popular" as other attractions in NYC and I've visited during New Years period when queues to the Empire State building were over 5 hours long – EdmundYeung99 Aug 13 '15 at 2:35
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I would be very shocked if you were not able to buy tickets on the day to visit the Intrepid. There was no indication of a maximum capacity when I visited and it was not timed entry, the usual two reasons for limited tickets being available.

There may well be a line but the Intrepid is not really different to any other paid museum on that front.

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