It’s Spring in New York City. Well, at least to Mother Nature it is. Yes, the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the flowers are popping up in tree pits along the sidewalks and window boxes, building entrances look their best all across the city, full of color and Bethesda Fountain in Central Park is flowing. But one of the surest signs of Spring to a New Yorker is the annual Fleet Week event when we see and meet our nation’s finest on the streets of NYC visiting from the Navy, Coast Gurad and Marines as they soak up all the sites and sounds.
Unfortunately, due to the Sequester, NY’s Fleet Week was cancelled this year which has been so dissappointing to residents. We love hosting Fleet Week. It just won’t seem like Spring is here without seeing all those uniforms alongside the flowers and trees on our sidewalks. I live just down a couple of avenues from the piers where the battleships, submarines and cutter ships dock so every year, so I usually see large groups of smiling military personnel hanging on our corners, asking for directions, visiting our local pubs and restaurants – especially at the kareoke bar across the street from my building. The neighborhood just won’t be the same.
There’s something romantic about Fleet Week to New Yorkers. We love showing off our City to all the sevice men and women who come from every corner of the country, most of whom have never set foot in New York City. It’s understandable that we have such affection for these special folks. The newspapers, Broadway and Hollywood have burned a very romantic imprint in our minds of the sailor on shore leave like the famous VJ Day photo of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square. We can all recall a fillm, TV show or movie regarless of age with a sailor or two in NYC – that Sex and the City Fleet Week episode or (to class it up a bit), On The Town, the MGM film starring Frank Sinatra from the Broadway hit of the same name created by a young choreographer named Jerome Robbins. That musical launched Leonard Bernstein’s composing career btw. Bernstein wrote the score, Robbins choreographed with Betty Comden and Adolph Green on lyrics. Unforgettable.
To the US Navy, US Marine Corp and The United States Coast Guard we’ll miss you this spring. Hopefully, Congress will get it’s act together once and for all and Fleet Week will never be cancelled again. It’s as if Congress cancelled Spring in New York. There really ought to be a law against that.