WWII Boat Cruise Shows Off City's Harbor History for Fleet Week

By Mathew Katz on May 21, 2014 2:23pm 

 Passengers will get a firsthand look at the remnants of New York Harbor's World War II history from the deck of the yacht Kingston .
Passengers will get a firsthand look at the remnants of New York Harbor's World War II history from the deck of the yacht Kingston .
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Classic Harbor Lines

CHELSEA — A historical boat cruise will let New Yorkers get up a close look at the city's maritime past during the World War II.

For both Fleet Week and Memorial Day, Classic Harbor Lines and Turnstile Tours will let passengers sail from Chelsea Piers past the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Brooklyn Army Terminal, and learn the history of the harbor during WWII.

The two-and-a-half hour Fleet Week boat tour explores the military history of New York Harbor, where 3.2 million soldiers and 37 million tons of supplies set sail for the European front. The tours, which run from Thursday to Sunday in cooperation with the nonprofit Brooklyn Navy Yard Center, will let cruisers see the sights from the deck of the yacht Kingston.

"We've gained so much knowledge about this particular historic period and about the harbor, we thought it would be great to bring all of this together," said Turnstile Tours vice president Andrew Gustafson, who will be leading the excursions. 

Nearly every stretch of waterfront around the city was used industrially or commercially to support the war effort, Gustafson said, and the tour will visit many of the remnants. The Brooklyn Navy Yard alone built four different aircraft carriers — each the size of the Intrepid.

"It's also a great opportunity for people to see some modern naval vessels visiting the city for Fleet Week," Gustafson said.

The tour also includes recorded oral histories of the men and women who worked on the waterfront during the war.

Tickets for the tours are $68, and include a drink from the bar and light hors d'oeuvres. World War II veterans sail for free.

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