With it soaring skyscrapers, Broadway shows and iconic landmarks, New York City is a tourist mecca that draws travelers from across the world. An estimated 50 million people from across the country visit the Big Apple every year, and some 13 million visitors come here from foreign shores. From enjoying time in Central Park to skating in winter at Rockefeller Center, New York offers wonderful vacation choices all year long.
One of the most attended, and anticipated, annual events is Fleet Week New York. This celebration focuses on the sea services, with the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard all participating in the week long activities. Fleet Week is held during the week of Memorial Day and has been a New York City tradition for the last 32 years. This is a city-wide event, with tours and activities across the boroughs of Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn.
Parade of Ships
The kickoff event for fleet week is the awe-inspiring Parade of Ships. The sight of the magnificent Naval warships and Coast Guard vessels sailing in front of the Statue of Liberty and along the western side of Manhattan is incredible. Sailors and Marines line the decks of these ships and the New York City skyline, with its magnificent architecture and skyscrapers that seemingly rise from the sea, provides an amazing backdrop for this grand entrance. This year there will be five U.S. Navy warships, a Canadian Navy vessel, two Coast Guard cutters and other ships participating in the parade.
Fleet Week Events at the Intrepid Museum
Each year the Intrepid aircraft carrier, which is part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, plays host to a variety of Fleet Week events. Museum educators make special presentations and there is a free outdoor movie screening one night on the flight deck. You will be able to tour this legendary warship and experience the raw power and beauty of the aircraft carrier as you learn about its storied history. While you are at Pier 86, you can also tour other Fleet Week vessels that are docked there.
Free Performances at Fleet Week
Fleet Week is part parade, part celebration and part music festival. During the event you will be able to hear performances by several of the military service bands at locations across the city. Times Square is often filled with music as groups like the Navy Band Northeast’s Pops Ensemble perform there. On Staten Island, the Flagship Brewery and the surrounding community host their annual Fleet Week music festival. Many local bands play throughout the week and the event is free.
Another very special Times Square event is the appearance of the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon. The platoon performs precision marching maneuvers in silence, with the only sound being hands coming down on spinning rifles with bayonets affixed and feet striking the ground. The military choreography is amazing.
If you are looking for a special event to attend in New York this year, look no further than that Fleet Week celebration over Memorial Day. The music, parade of ships and presence of so many service members enlivens the city and makes for a truly memorable week.