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After a Year’s Absence, Fleet Week Returns to NYC

Well, hello, sailor! Fleet Week is returning to New York City after a year’s absence, officials announced Tuesday.

Three Navy ships and two Coast Guard cutters are scheduled to arrive in New York Harbor on Wednesday morning, the start of the week. 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.

“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.

Sailors line the deck of the USS Iwo Jima as it passes the lower Manhattan skyline on arrival in New York Harbor for the start of Fleet Week in 2010. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

She said Fleet Weeks and Navy Weeks around the country were also going to take place.

Fleet Week events include ship tours, parades and aerial demonstrations. Almost 1,500 service members are participating in the events this year, down from the several thousand who have taken part in years when the week had more vessels.

The week provides an economic shot in the arm to New York City. An email to the mayor’s press office seeking comment was not immediately answered Tuesday.

Fleet Week started in 1984. Last year’s cancellation was “very disappointing,” said George Simpson, executive secretary of the New York Council of the Navy League, a nonprofit civilian organization that runs events to coincide with it.

Having it back has “given me a lot of work,” he said, adding, “I’m glad we’re doing this.”

Fleet Week will run through May 27.

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