Fleet Week: A User's Guide

05/29/2008 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated Nov 17, 2011

In case you haven't heard, today marks the start of Fleet Week New York. For those of you who don't know what Fleet Week is (and haven't seen the infamous Sex and The City episode), here's a friendly Fleet Week rundown.

So, what exactly is Fleet Week?

Hosted nearly every year since 1984, Fleet Week New York is the City's celebration of the sea services. This annual event also provides an opportunity for the citizens of New York City and the surrounding Tri-State area to meet Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness first hand the latest capabilities of today's Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Team.

Why New York, though? Are other cities not hip enough?

Not so! It's just this week that's Fleet Week New York. There's also a Fleet Week San Diego, Fleet Week San Francisco, and even Fleet Week Fort Lauderdale.

So, what's the big deal with New York Fleet Week?

Well, New York has traditionally had the largest Fleet Week, but unfortunately, Fleet Week celebrations are getting smaller and smaller.

A decade ago, as many as a dozen ships from several nations took part in Fleet Week, but the size of the assemblage has diminished in recent years. The last time it included a full-size aircraft carrier was in 2005, when the USS John F. Kennedy made its final appearance before being retired.

Is Fleet Week an American thing?

Yes, but there's always a little bit of international flavor. This year, "three Canadian navy vessels will join Wednesday's Parade of Ships." According to AM New York, Canadians restore a cachet absent in 2007, when the USS Winston S. Churchill, a destroyer named for Britain's World War II prime minister, provided the nearest thing to a foreign flavor.

I still don't get it though. What's all the fuss about?

Well, besides the fact that there's a week's worth of Fleet Week Events, Fleet Week also means the fair isle of Manhattan is stuffed to the gills with sexy sailors. Three Words: Men. In. Uniforms. What's not to love?

Yum! So, how does one bag themselves a Fleet Week fox?

It's as easy as pie! Remember, these are men who have been out at sea, starving for female affection. Blow them a kiss and wave them your way. You'll be fighting them off before you know it.

Where do these Fleet Week-ers hang out? Is there a good place to find them?

Fleet Week-ers tend to love the tourist traps. So hit Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building. Central Park is a good bet, as is SoHo.

Now you've got me all excited! What does one wear?

Well, as a general rule its a good idea to leave the head-to-toe sailor gear to, well, the sailors, but a hint of (naughty) nautica never hurt anyone. You can buy a Sailor Hat for $4.65, or even make your own old-school newspaper Sailor Hat, if you prefer to dress a little more "ironically". A Yacht Captain hat is always a big hit, as are, inexplicably, slutty sailor costumes. (See Also: How To Bag A Fleet Week Fox.)

Love Fleet Week? Hate Fleet Week? What are your plans for Fleet Week? Tell us below!

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