How to do Fleet Week in NYC like a pro


The USS Arlington, from Norfolk, Va., a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock with several hundred Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., arrives on the Hudson River to kickoff 2018 Fleet Week New York, Wednesday May 23, 2018, in New York

(Associated Press/Bebeto Matthews)

Editor's note: This article first appeared in 2016

Ask any sailor or Marine who has experienced New York Fleet Week firsthand about their experience, and the first reaction is likely to be a knowing smirk.

Fleet Week comes to New York City for the week surrounding the Memorial Day weekend every spring. Suddenly, a city that has almost no military presence is filled with sailors and Marines in uniform.

I was born and raised in New York City. A visit to the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy as an elementary school kid left an indelible impression: The Navy was really cool. As a teenager, my parents forbade me to go anywhere near sailors during Fleet Week. As a 23-year-old ensign, I experienced Fleet Week in my summer whites as a member of the fleet.

Service members arriving on the half a dozen ships that participate will find that they will be berthed all over the city. My apologies to the ships stuck on Staten Island; you will have to take the ferry to get anywhere fun. The best deal is to be on the big-deck amphibious ship that gets to dock in midtown near Chelsea Piers .

Nearly everything during Fleet Week is free or steeply discounted for service members: Many of the Broadway shows offer free tickets, television programs bring service members into the audience, and the museums are all free.

Service members may also find that their meals and drinks are paid for by other customers, and that cover charges at popular nightlife hotspots are waived — and service members who have overnight liberty may find that the hotel they booked turned out to only be a place to leave a bag.

Here are some tips for surviving Fleet Week in your summer whites.

1. Bring two sets of uniforms, including shoes.

They will get utterly destroyed. Summer whites plus NYC subway? Please. Junior enlisted personnel and Marines are slightly luckier, as the Navy Service and USMC Service “B" uniforms are slightly more stain-fighting, but it's always good to have an extra set.

2. Never leave your cover unattended.

It will grow legs. People will want to wear it. In fact, women will want to try on the female cover even more than the male cover. I went to a bar with 10 other junior officers, and I was the only woman. We all left our covers on a table at a bar. Mine was the only one stolen.

3. Upgrade your seats at Yankee Stadium.

I have season tickets in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium, and brought a few people to the game. We were given the tip that if we went to the box office in uniform, we'd be upgraded. Sure enough, a row of bleacher seats turned into a row in club seats behind home plate. I don't know if this applies at Citi Field as well, but I'm not really sure why you would want to go to a Mets game.

4. Pregame with the Canadians.

Every few years, a coalition ship — typically Canadian or British — will be invited to participate in New York Fleet Week. Unlike the U.S. Navy, our coalition partners are allowed to drink on board their ships, and even have a bar on board. Drinking with our coalition partners not only helps build relationships with our closest allies, but also is a cheap way to get a buzz before heading on the town.

5. For nightlife, get out of Midtown.

There are a lot of Fleet Week specials in Midtown, and service members flock there because ships dock nearby and they want to be near Times Square. The city is filled with great bars. Go to the ones that are filled with actual New Yorkers, not other sailors. Instead check out Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side, Alphabet City, or the Meatpacking district.

6. For accommodations, stay in an Airbnb or check with private clubs.

The elite New York Athletic Club offers reciprocity with the Marine Memorial Club in San Francisco (free membership for active duty) and Army and Navy Club in D.C. (discounted dues for junior officers and non-D.C. residents). There are also numerous university clubs throughout the city that will offer reciprocity as well. This is a great way to get superb accommodation below the market rate in the heart of the city.

For those wishing to participate in Fleet Week who aren't part of the fleet, here's the schedule of events.

SEE ALSO: The Task & Purpose Unofficial Bar Guide For New York's Fleet Week

WATCH NEXT: Marnie Corps Silent Drill Team During Fleet Week

The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday as members of U.S. Army Special Forces.

Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.

Read More Show Less

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible Israeli involvement in attacks against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq.

A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
White House/Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.

Read More Show Less
Capt. Tranay Lashawn Tanner. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.

Read More Show Less
(DoD photo)

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.

"There is value in applying this review and its subsequent recommendations across the Department of the Navy," Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey told Task & Purpose. "The review's purpose is to confirm the uniformed legal community is structurally and organizationally sound and best supporting the good order and discipline our integrated naval force."

Read More Show Less