TIMES SQUARE — Calling all units!
Arrayed in a row on Broadway, the firefighters — clad in blue T-shirts and bunker pants — signed autographs, laughed and joked, and, when it came time for photos, draped arms as thick as fire hoses across the shoulders of dozens of blushing women and men.
"It makes me want to be single again," gushed Candance Manick, 43, a nurse on vacation from Marion, N.C. "Look at those chests! And those arms!"
Mallory Robinson, 25, visiting with three coworkers during a lunch break from Macy's, struggled to describe the experience of standing arm-in-arm with firefighter Anthony Picozzi for a photo, the calendar's helmet-toting Mr. July.
"I felt," she said, then paused, her face burning bright red, "I felt very safe."
Farah Osman, a teacher visiting from England with her teenage son and daughter, was also agog.
"They are heroes," she said, then pointed to her children, who were decidedly uninterested in the scene. "My moronic children are not appreciating New York City firefighters. But these fools will — these firefighters are New York's best."
The calendar, on sale for $16, features 13 firemen, one for each month and one for the cover, pictured in front of city statues, sculptures and other landmarks as carefully chiseled as they are.
All of the proceeds from calendar sales go toward the FDNY Foundation, the official FDNY nonprofit, which funds gear and training for department firefighters and EMTs.
"This is a great cause," said Shane Clarke, 33, a firefighter with Engine 9 in Chinatown making his calendar debut as Mr. February. "They give a lot of support for us, help us get equipment we need."
Clarke, who is single, had to make it through the rigorous multi-phase audition process to be selected.
"I feel like I'm out of my element a little bit," he said. "I'm the only distance runner in the group, so the challenge for me was to put a lot of weight on. That's probably the opposite of the other guys.
He added: "I didn't tell my parents. I kept it low key."
Firefighter Robert Morgan, 37, who is married and was standing nearby, is marking his second appearance on the calendar, this time as Mr. March after his debut as Mr. April in 2007.
"I worked out, lifted weights to get in shape, and I cut down on high-sodium foods," he said.
At his firehouse for Engine 325 in Woodside, "the guys, when they're all together, they make fun of you. But privately, they're like, 'How do I get on the calendar?'"
Jose Cordero, 35, single and now on his third year in the calendar, agreed.
"They're a great bunch of guys," the Engine 257 firefighter said with a smile.
Women and men of all ages lined up 10 deep for autographs from the firefighters and photos with them. Manick, from North Carolina, could hardly contain her excitement as she photographed a friend with a fireman.
"I'm hanging it up in the living room," she said. "I can't do the bedroom — I've got my husband."
"Duh," Robinson said. She then went on to thank the 13 firefighters who posed for the calendar. "I totally respect what they do — and that they take the time to be here and make a calendar for us to enjoy."