Staten Islanders welcome Fleet Week to New York
Staten Islanders gathered along waterfront stretches to watch warships and jet planes take part in a peaceful display of might, signaling the start of Fleet Week.
Cupping their hands over their eyes to shield their gaze from the sun, several dozen spectators stood at awed attention outside the Alice Austen House in Rosebank as military fighter jets flew in formation over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge around noon, signaling the start of Fleet Week in Manhattan and Staten Island.
Here are photos of the festivities:
“The country itself is at war, and these are people who are serving. It’s good to honor them,” said Bob Coppetelli of Fort Wadsworth, who served in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.
The low flyover of F-18 Hornets started 2,000 feet above the span before dropping to 1,000 feet over the harbor and up the Hudson River to the George Washington Bridge. At that point, the planes left New York City airspace.
“Now I know where my tax dollars go,” joked Keith Barr of St. George, who had come with his wife, Nanette, to watch the show. Adding a note of seriousness, Nanette Barr added, “”It’s important to welcome our service men and women who are home. It must be so amazing to be out and serving then to be home and coming over the Verrazano Bridge and seeing Manhattan.”
Wearing an Army jacket and an Airborne Division baseball cap, Dan McOlvin — who served in the 82nd Airborne Division from 1969 to 1971 — spooled through photos he had taken on his digital camera of the fire boat spraying arcs of water as part of the majestic parade of ships.
“You’ve got young men and women deployed around the world,” said the Westerleigh resident, who plans to tour several ships during the week’s festivities. “A young sergeant I know just completed his second tour in Iraq. This reminds people of their service.”
Throughout Fleet Week there will be free tours of ships moored at docks in Manhattan and Staten Island, military band performances and tactical demonstrations by troops.
by Deborah Young