The tall ships will once again be streaming down the Narrows, as Fleet Week New York celebrates its 27th year, with the festivities beginning on Wednesday, May 20 and concluding Tuesday, May 26.
After its rare absence in 2013 due to federal cuts, the event returned last year, much to the delight of Brooklynites who mass along Shore Road and head to Fort Hamilton Army Base for a good view of the arriving vessels on the morning of May 20.
“It was sorely missed in Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton Army Base,” said Chairperson of the Kings County Memorial Day Parade Raymond Aalbue. “Last year, everyone appreciated it returning.”
The weeklong celebration has been held nearly every year since 1984, and it is anticipated that nearly 1,800 sailors, Marines and Coast Guard members will participate this year, along with nine ships including include three U.S. Navy ships, four U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) Yard Patrol boats, and two U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutters.
“Bay Ridge has always embraced the military,” Aalbue said. “The most important thing is that the community really appreciates what they do for us and the service they provide. They put their lives on hold to serve country and pay the ultimate price for freedom.”
The feeling is mutual, according to Aalbue. “They really enjoy coming to Bay Ridge and we’re excited to have them here.”
On Monday, May 25, many of the troops in town for Fleet Week will also take part in the 148th Kings County Memorial Day Parade, beginning at 78th Street and Third Avenue at 11 a.m.
“Then we will have a luncheon for them at the Bay Ridge Post American Legion,” added Aalbue.
The Fort Hamilton Army Base will hold an official kick off, saluting the troops as they arrive, as attendees watch the ships come in.
“Fort Hamilton encourages all Bay Ridge residents and proud Americans to attend the patriotic event. We invite as many people as possible, mostly students from neighborhood schools,” said fort Spokesperson Bruce Hill Bruce Hill during last year’s event. “Kids love it. Every year, it seems to be growing.”
“All the kids are there and active duty military talk to them. It’s great for young people,” added Aalbue.
For more information, visit fleetweeknewyork.com.