Not everybody loves Fleet Week, but many of us do, and last year’s event was awesome: Some 6,000 sailors and other personnel showed up, most of them arriving on vessels ranging from historic tall sailing ships to modern symbols of military might, such as the U.S.S. Wasp, an amphibious assault ship with a compliment of 1,000. The Blue angels flew overhead on their way to their annual Jones Beach show, and sailors in uniform flooded the streets and bars while civilians crowded onto their ships to look around. It was a lot of fun.
But that was back in the heady, pre-sequester days of 2012. This year’s event, scheduled to start May 23, is likely to be 100 percent shittier. Under the sequester, the Navy and Coast Guard aren’t doing any kind of outreach or nonessential operations, and that means Fleet Week.
What we miss out on:
Ships: “On Thursday, city officials said they understood that no military ships would be coming to New York this year,” the New York Times reports. “The Coast Guard will not be sending the cutters and helicopters that usually participate in Fleet Week because of the budget cutbacks, said a spokesman, Carlos A. Diaz.” Nor will the Navy.
Planes: “The Navy also canceled appearances by the Blue Angels, the famed flight-demonstration squadron. The planes won’t fly over Jones Beach this year, an attraction that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Sailors: Obviously U.S. sailors aren’t coming if their ships aren’t coming. Foreign fleets are also not planning to show up, a Navy spokeswoman told the Journal. “It’ll be three deep with sailors Friday and Saturday nights,” Paul Barbay, an owner of Hurley’s pub, told the Times. “The regulars buy them drinks, and the girls buy them drinks. They don’t really pay for too many drinks.” Not this year.
Money: “A spokesman for the city’s Economic Development Corp. said that while it couldn’t provide a ‘sophisticated analysis’ of Fleet Week’s impact, the event contributed ‘tens of millions of dollars’ to the local economy,” according to the Journal.
What we still get:
Parades: “Not every nautical event will fall to the budget ax. Parades or events at baseball stadiums that honor the military and ‘can be locally supported at no additional cost’ will be considered, Mr. Diaz said,” per the Journal. “Nonprofit and community organizations” are also still planning to stage parades.