Fleet Week starts on May 21, and we need to be ready for the streets to be lined with thousands of daring service men and women who bravely defend our country! And while many people regard Fleet Week as a fun chance to meet a dashing crew member and perhaps snatch a selfie with a man or woman in uniform, it’s also important we honor these brave men and women and thank them for their work.
So what is FLEET WEEK exactly?
Fleet Week is a tradition that began in 1935, where recently deployed United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard ships dock at a variety of US ports for one week. The crews can enter the city and enjoy the attractions.
My favorite Fleet Week tradition is The Parade of Ships. The ships docking in NYC for Fleet Week will parade under the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge up to the George Washington Bridge, where they will turn around and head to their docks throughout the five boroughs. Accompanying them are usually the FDNY fleet of Fireboats, who will give the salute with their hoses. It’s quite a spectacle to behold! You can watch from anywhere on Riverside Park. I would recommend Battery Park, Wagner Park, Christopher Street Pier, North Cove Marina, Pier I, the Intrepid Sea Air And Space Museum, Governors Island, as specific locations you can seek out. I’ve also watched the parade from One World Observatory and it was pretty darn magical! You get a glorious bird's eye view of all the ships as the enter the harbour and continue up the Hudson.
While The Parade of Ships is the official start of Fleet Week, you can get a head start on the fun Tuesday, May 21 by heading over to the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park at noon. The Navy Band Northeast’s “Pop Ensemble” will perform a free concert that is open to the public.
If you are a music lover, different Navy Band Ensembles will be performing throughout the week, and they are phenomenal!
You also must visit one of the ships docking in the city! The ships vary in type and dock in three of the five boroughs. This year there will even be a diving tank in Times Square! When you visit the ships, you get a tour and can talk to the crew and ask questions. If you want to avoid crazy crowds, consider traveling out to visit the ships docked on Staten Island! To learn about the different ships and units, visit http://militarynews.com/app/fleetweeknewyork/ships.html .
For a complete official list of FLEET WEEK activities visit:
The Intrepid Sea, Air, And Space Museum will also be hosting a series of event to honor our Service Men and Women. The events range from outdoor movie screenings on the deck of the Intrepid to science demos to talks with the original crew of the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid!
Also, remember this is a time for fun! Visit the official Fleet Week 2019 Instagram to follow the fleet week adventures. If you are lucky enough to snag a selfie with a sailor, they encourage you to hashtag it #selfiewithasailor!