5.24.2008

Memorial Day Weekend, Fleet Week, and the Brooklyn Bridge Turns 125

This Memorial Day weekend (May 24-26, 2008), with Monday a holiday, coincides with Fleet Week (May 21-28, 2008). In this annual tradition, active military ships dock in port for a week, and the sailors debark for a little R & R. The public, in turn, is invited to come down and look at the boats. An event that started in San Diego in the 1930s, the New York Fleet Week began in 1984. Yesterday afternoon, I watched sailors in crisp white uniforms as they walked past my building on the way uptown. It was like something out of the movies. Of course, sailors have frequently enjoyed New York while on leave, and I'm sure variations of this tradition go back hundreds of years.

Memorial Day weekend and Fleet Week are joined this year by the 125th celebration of the Brooklyn Bridge. Festivities surrounding this important architectural landmark include an outdoor film series (some indoors, too), guided walking tours, music, and dancing. NewYorkology provides a comprehensive list of events. I look forward to seeing the amazing Telectroscope, an invention of British artist Paul St George that will allow New Yorkers and Londoners to wave to one another through a large telescopic device. More information on that here.

The image you see with this post is a photo I took of a TV monitor screening the film On the Town (1949), directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, and starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin, about three sailors looking for fun and romance on a 24-hour shore leave in New York. In this frame, they're on the Brooklyn Bridge. The movie's music (Leonard Bernstein) and lyrics (Betty Comden and Adolph Green) can always help with general directions: "The Bronx is up, and the Battery's down."

I'm feeling a tug toward the shoreline myself, so next week I'll begin a new series of walks on the promenades of New York.

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