By Daniel Katzive
Fleet Week in November? Not quite; Fleet Week remains strictly a May event coinciding with Memorial Day weekend. But Upper West Siders may have noticed a large naval vessel arriving at the cruise ship terminal on Wednesday, along with two smaller Coast Guard cutters, escorted by fire and police boats.
The ships are here for the upcoming Veterans Day holiday commemorations. This year the Coast Guard will be the “featured service” at the annual New York City parade (last year it was the Air Force). In recognition, the service organized today’s Parade of Ships and a number of other events this week.
The Navy ship is the USS Arlington, an Amphibious Transport Dock, which features a helicopter deck and a bay for launching landing craft and smaller boats. The Arlington came up from its home port of Norfolk, Virginia and is docked on the south side of Pier 88.
The 154-foot Coast Guard fast response cutter Lawrence Lawson is based in Cape May, New Jersey, and has tied up at the end of the Intrepid Museum pier.
The third ship that joined today’s parade did not have far to travel. The Coast Guard icebreaking tug Penobscot Bay is based in Bayonne and is frequently seen on the Hudson River. The icebreaking business seems likely to get off to a slow start this year, but Penobscot Bay works on other aspects of the Coast Guard’s mission in the harbor and on the river during warmer times.
The Coast Guard says the Lawson will be available for public tours from Thursday through Saturday, from 10am to 4pm. The Coast Guard will also be holding a search-and-rescue demonstration with a helicopter at the pier Thursday. To access the Intrepid Museum pier, you need to get a free “pier pass” which is available at the same window where tickets to enter the Intrepid Museum itself are sold. It was not immediately clear whether the navy ship Arlington will be available for tours, and sailors guarding the passenger terminal were not able to confirm either.
As for the Veterans Day parade itself, this will of course be held on the afternoon of Veterans Day, Friday November 11. As usual, the route runs up Fifth Avenue from Madison Square through 45th Street.