Some 6,000 sailors, marines and coast guardsman were shipped into New York City Wednesday for the beginning of Fleet Week, this year marking the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
A flotilla of tall ships glided past the Statue of Liberty, while the Blue Angels flew past the Empire State Building, and New Yorkers everywhere watched on in awe.
[SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS]
The New York Daily News talked to some New York City servicemen, just happy to be back home:
Marine Lance Cpl. Dennis Cox, who is 22 and from Harlem, said he’s looking to show his buddies a good time in Gotham.
“You don’t get the opportunity to get all your Marines in one place, especially your friends who you went to combat with, and to show them your hometown,” Cox said.
Petty Officer Second Class Joe Maydwell, a retired NYPD sergeant and Navy reservist based in the city, said “the sailors will have a ton of fun.”
“When you walk around New York City in a sailor suit, you’re a chick magnet,” said Maydwell, 48.
Katy Perry performed for servicemen on the Brooklyn waterfront while wearing an American flag dress, and further North aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid, Will Smith, along with Jaden and Willow and DJ Jazzy Jeff, performed for sailors at the MIB3 premier.
There will be events for the public until May 29th (for a full schedule go here) including demonstrations, performances, flyovers, and visiting hours aboard the ships.
Sailors, marines and coast guardsmen looking to blow off some steam at the city's bars and strip clubs will find copious deals. Anyone with a military ID will get into the Headquarters Gentleman Club for free, plus $5 drinks. Scores will also offer free admission, drinks and dances, according to The Daily News.
This year also marks the first Fleet Week since the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and city businesses are lining up to attract gay servicemembers. From DNAinfo:
The OUT NYC, the city's first gay hotel has kicked off their Served With Pride Package for Fleet Week, but will keep the discount program going indefinitely. Military personnel staying at the hotel at at 512 W. 42nd St. will get 30 percent off their rooms, a complimentary "Served With Pride" T-shirt or tank top, along with free wifi and complimentary continental breakfast...
The Maritime Hotel at 363 West 16th Street is offering its own discounts to sailors, with rooms for $99 a night for any active-duty seaman or woman in their Navy whites.
The hotel's restaurant, La Bottega, has put together its own line of nautical-themed specialty cocktails, including the Anchor, the Albatross, and the Do Ask, Please Tell.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more