NEW YORK CITY — The city will bid a hearty 'ahoy' to thousands of uniformed servicemen for Fleet Week 2012 starting Wednesday, an annual celebration that this year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
The weeklong celebration will give families all over the Big Apple the chance to tour some of the U.S. Armed Forces' newest ships, see feats of strength between groups of visiting servicemen, military displays and more.
Parade of Sail - Wednesday May 22
The week begins Wednesday at 8 a.m. with the Parade of Sail, where dozens of fire boats, warships, and sailboats will float past city landmarks and up the Hudson. The ships will pass under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge early in the morning, and eventually make their way past the World Trade Center, the Statue of Liberty, and the Intrepid Museum.
Your best chance to get a glimpse of the ships is by staking out a spot along New York Harbor, including Battery Park, along the Hudson River, or on the shore in Red Hook.
Free Ship Tours - All Week
From May 23 - 29, U.S. Navy and allied ships will be open to the public for free tours in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Show up early, as long lines are expected.
At Pier 90 and 92, at West 51st Street, the public will be able to check out U.S.S. Wasp, an amphibious assault ship and the U.S.S. Roosevelt, a destroyer.
At the Homeport Pier in Stapleton, Staten Island, you can visit the U.S.S. Mitscher, the U.S.S. San Jacinto, the U.S.S. Donald Cook and the U.S.S. Gonzalez.
Finally, at the Port Authority Piers in Brooklyn, you can check out several Coast Guard and coalition ships, including the U.S.C.G.C. Seneca and Willow, along with the Canadian H.M.C.S Iroquois and the British R.F.A. Argus.
Marine Corp Day - Friday, May 25
Ever want to see how many pull-ups a top-tier marine can do? On Friday, you can get your chance at the Marine Corp Day in Battery Park. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Marines will hold fitness tests, show off their weapons, and meet and greet with the public.
Military Day - Saturday, May 26
The boys in green will take over Times Square on Saturday for Military Day. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., visitors will be able to check out the latest Army equipment and meet the grunts. The day also features performances from the Marine Corps Band at 2 p.m. and the Navy Band's Jazz Ensemble at 5 p.m.
The music continues on Sunday with performances in Times Square by the Marine Corps Band at 2 p.m., along with the Navy Band playing pop favorites at 5 p.m.
The military will show off their top-tier planes and equipment by simulating daring rescues at a variety of locations around the city. A full listing of the demonstrations can be found at the Fleet Week website.