NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fleet Week kicked off Wednesday in New York City, but the 2020 celebration will be very different.
The Hudson is much quieter this year on a day where in past years Navy ships would be rolling in and service men and women sightseeing and meeting the people they serve.
“Obviously with COVID-19, we are not able to do that really for the safety and health of everybody,” said Beth Baker, director of public affairs for the Navy Mid-Atlantic Region.
To accommodate this year, they kicked the celebration off with a virtual parade of ships.
“We took footage from what we’ve done over the last several years and compiled it into a parade of ships so that while you’re not there in person seeing us, we’re still there in spirit,” Baker told CBS2’s Charlie Cooper.
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The goal is to keep the connection between New Yorkers and the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard strong. To stay connected, they’re hosting a social media contest where people can share their favorite Fleet Week photos.
This year has brought us together by keeping us apart. While we wish we were there… this year, Fleet Week New York is going VIRTUAL! 💻
Every day during May 20-26, we will be sharing your favorite Fleet Week activities to our social platforms!#VirtualFleetWeekNYC #VFWNY pic.twitter.com/NgD6eM9caL
— Virtual Fleet Week New York (@FleetWeekNYC) May 20, 2020
Kevin Fitzpatrick submitted a video showing off his interesting Fleet Week experience from 2019.
“Last year I got to ride on the John J. Harvey, the vintage fire boat, and we were in the middle of the parade of ships and we got to watch all of the war ships come in in the FDNY fire boat. It was really memorable. I’ll never forget it,” he said.
This year, everyone will have the same view. Throughout the week, people can watch virtual Navy ship tours online and see the nation’s aircrafts up close.
“Live on our Facebook, we are going to participate in a ceremony, still with the Intrepid,” Baker said. “We’ve got the Navy band participating with them, our band from Washington D.C., and we’re going to have somebody there socially distant and very safely working with Intrepid to lay wreaths.”
Although New Yorkers won’t have the chance to personally meet the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines this year, they’ll have lots to look forward to in the next.