On Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at around 8:30 a.m., the Parade of Ships will enter New York Harbor and proceed to the piers on the West Side of Manhattan, heralding the start of New York’s Fleet Week – as it has since 1984.
If you didn’t already know, the famous flotilla passes right under the Verrazano. Which means you won’t have to schlep all the way to Manhattan to get your fill of the tall sailing vessels of old, as well as WWII-era destroyers.
Prime viewing spots will include the Belt Parkway Promenade, the 69th Street Pier, and especially the higher ground of Owl’s Head Park.
What makes this year’s celebration of the U.S. Navy and Marines so special is the bicentennial of the War of 1812, the conflict that solidified the newly formed United States’ independence from Britain once and for all. [U-S-A, U-S-A!]
The American portion of the parade will be led by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Eagle, which is used to train Coast Guard Academy cadets.
According to the Coast Guard [via antonnews.com], “Eagle has offered generations of Coast Guard Academy cadets, and more recently officer candidates, an unparalleled leadership experience at sea. The Eagle departed New London, Connecticut for their spring officer candidate training cruise on April 6, where the officer candidates then sailed the Eagle to New Orleans, Louisiana for the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commemoration and OpSail 2012 kick-off event.
“The annual cadet summer training deployment will commence on May 5, when the first phase of cadets embark Eagle in Savannah, Georgia. Participation in New York City Fleet Week, commemorating the penning of the “Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key in Baltimore, and sailing alongside USS Constitution when she gets underway in Boston harbor on the 4th of July are just a few of the summer’s highlights,” announced the Coast Guard.
So unless you have to be in the City for work, remember that you can enjoy this historic celebration right at the gateway to Upper New York Bay, in beautiful Bay Ridge!