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The U.S. Navy announced that Fleet Week celebrations in NY will be drastically reduced this year as federal cuts roll-in due to sequestration. The annual event has been a New York tradition since 1984. Each year, hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors alike look forward to the opportunity to show our thanks and support to thousands of sailors, and take part in the many Fleet Week events held around our waterfront over the Memorial Day weekend.
Posted on Fleet Week New York’s facebook page last Thursday: The Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard must follow DoD direction that no branch of the armed forces may partipate in community relations or outreach events that come at additional cost to the government or rely on anything other than local assets and personnel. We must, and will, follow that direction…which includes FWNY. (bb)
From NY1: The city’s annual Fleet Week celebration could be set adrift this year. The event was set to begin on May 23, but may not happen because of federal budget cuts.
Navy spokeswoman Beth Baker tells NY1 no branch of the armed forces are being allowed to take part in community relations or outreach programs that come at an added cost to the government.
That means the city will not see a parade of ships up the Hudson River for the first time in more than 25 years.
“This is just one of the many steps the Navy’s taking to ensure our resources are in place to support our forces, operating now and training to relieve them. Community relations and outreach efforts with additional costs are going to have to be done with local units,” Baker said.
From the Times Columnist: The Navy spends $7 million to $10 million on average for the annual event, a sum that includes docking fees, fuel costs, security, hotel rooms and transporting large ships and aircraft to New York.
Fleet Week generates an estimated $20 million for the city across the board, including tax revenue and hotel and restaurant spending, according to the city’s Economic Development Corporation.
Last year, 21 U.S. and coalition ships sailed into the harbor as more than two dozen aircraft flew high above the Hudson River. The week features parades, ship tours, impressive displays of military aviation prowess and other events intended to educate the public about the Navy.
City officials learned of the decision Thursday. Fleet Week was supposed to kick off May 23.
City Scrambles to Save Fleet Week
From the NY Daily News: City lawmakers will push military brass to drop anchor for Fleet Week despite steep spending cuts, eyeing a boost for the city’s economy — and national morale.
When Washington failed to cut a deficit-reduction deal on March 1, the ax fell on roughly 8% of the defense budget, and major outreach efforts were first to go.
The Pentagon still plans events with more than 1,500 area-based Navy and Marine Corps personnel starting May 26 — but no ships — while the far smaller Coast Guard doesn’t plan to participate formally at all.
“Fleet Week wouldn’t be ‘Fleet Week’ without the fleet,” said Marine vet and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn).
He and other congressional reps from the city were scrambling in the wake of news that the annual docking of military ships along the city’s coastline had fallen victim to steep federal spending cuts related to a protracted budget dispute.
“The absence of naval ships docked in Staten Island will certainly be felt, and I urge the Department of Defense to reconsider,” Grimm said.
Curtailing Fleet Week would be “tragic,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens). “For whatever it costs, it earns much more in spirit, patriotism and tourism.”
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
One of 17 tall ships coming to New York harbor for OpSail 2012, the Cisne Branco – which means “White Swan” in Portuguese – is the Brazilian navy’s three-masted sail training tall ship. She was built in the Netherlands by Stocheepswerf Damen and launched in November 1999. Commissioned as a Brazilian naval vessel in 2000, she serves as a sail training vessel and as an international representative.
From SILive: The international flotilla will be led by the “Eagle,” and will pass under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, enter New York Harbor, and sail up the Hudson River to the George Washington Bridge. The ships will then turn and head to their respective berths in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Three of the ships – which are an impressive 250 feet or so in length – will head to Staten Island, arriving around 2 p.m.
Colombia’s “Glory,” Ecuador’s “Guayas,” and Brazil’s “Cisne Branco” will be berthed at The Sullivans’ pier at the former Stapleton homeport for the duration of Fleet Week, which runs May 23-30.
The Parade of Sail will occur the morning of May 23rd, with the USCG Cutter Eagle leading the fleet.
Watch this short video of her in full sail. What a sight!
From SILive: Millions of spectators are expected to witness the event from the city’s shores and the New Jersey waterfront along the Hudson River. The tall ships made their last visit here in 2000.
The Navy’s ace “Blue Angels” team also will fly over the flotilla during the opening event at 11:30 a.m.
The Working Harbor Committee has added two special tours for OpSail 2012:
- May 22nd – OpSail 2012 Tall Ships Hidden Harbor tour – see vessels at anchor up close
- May 23rd – OpSail 2012 VIP Parade of Sail tour – includes brunch!
Stay tuned for OpSail 2012 updates!
by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee
Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey Journal
The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron “Blue Angels” perform a survey flight in New York City on Monday to prepare for Fleet Week New York 2012.
As part of an aerial survey flight for the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron “Blue Angels,” two F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets yesterday conducted test runs over the Hudson River between the George Washington and Verrazano-Narrows bridges.
The aircraft conducted passes as low as 500 feet above the river and at speeds approaching 345 mph in order to familiarize and evaluate a potential flight course for the upcoming U.S. Navy War of 1812 commemoration during this year’s Fleet Week celebration in May, officials said.
The aircraft departed Republic Airfield in Farmingdale, N.Y., and conducted two passes over the Hudson River, one north and one south, between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
The two planes were visible all along the Hudson River in Hudson County.
Even with a stiff cold wind blowing off the river, several people took in the practice run from Pier A in Hoboken.