NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ahoy sailors! Fleet Week is back in New York City after a year’s absence.
Three Navy ships and two Coast Guard cutters arrived in New York Harbor on Wednesday morning, the start of the week.
PHOTOS: Fleet Week Returns To NYC
The usually annual celebration of America’s sea services wasn’t held last year because of federal budget cuts that hampered spending by the U.S. Navy.
The event costs the Navy several million dollars for docking fees, fuel, security, hotel rooms and transporting large ships and aircraft.
This year, the Navy is scaling back. About 1,500 service members will participate in Fleet Week, down from the several thousand in past years when more ships came in.
“We’re just thrilled to be back, even though we have a smaller number of ships,” said Beth Baker, spokeswoman for the Navy’s mid-Atlantic region.
Fleet Week is a homecoming of sorts for Capt. John Wade, who led the USS Oak Hill into New York Harbor on Wednesday. He grew up in Port Washington, Long Island.
“One of my earliest memories is being taken with my parents to Fort Hamilton in 1976 and watching Operation Sail,” Wade told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
Wade went on to attend the U.S. Naval Academy and is now the commander of a destroyer squadron.
“It’s a homecoming for me,” Wade told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.
All the sailors and Marines stood at attention in tribute as USS Oak Hill sailed past the World Trade Center site, Haskell reported.
“There were a lot of emotions, to be honest with you,” Wade said. “I was at the Pentagon in 9/11. I thought about that.”
Fleet Week events include ship tours, parades and aerial demonstrations. For business owners, the week provides and economic shot in the arm to the city.
As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported, the week also gives New Yorkers a chance to show their appreciation for Marines, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen.
“I am here to celebrate the Navy and show appreciation for them and them protecting and serving our country,” Harlem resident Katherine Kine said, “And also I have to be honest, to see handsome men! You know how can you not appreciate handsome men in uniform.”
For others it was a trip down memory lane.
“I was in the Navy back in the 60s and we just came to see the ships that came in,” Seldon resident, Mike Paduano said.
Fleet Week will run through May 27.
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