The Navy Takes Manhattan.
But wait a minute, this is New York City we're talking about here. This is where cab horns are music, police sirens are a top 10 hit and the sound of feet rushing up the stairs from the subway sounds like the Broadway musical "Stomp." So why are these seven days any different from the rest of the year?
Because, more than 25,000 Sailors, from 40 ships, and 24 different nations, were the ones making most of the clamor.
During the week of July 2-9, the "Big Apple" was overrun with Sailors eager to check out the bright lights, big city, while also becoming an attraction themselves -- thousands of New Yorkers watched the bustling parade of uniformed men and women in the sixth International Naval Review 2000, A Celebration of Seapower for the Millennium. INR 2000 took place at the same time as Operation Sail 2000, which featured tall ships from around the world.
The gala was brimming with ceremony. It began onboard USS Hue City (CG 66), where the President and other guests reviewed 24 modern warships from 14 nations that stretched more than 11 miles up the Hudson River. After transferring to USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), the distinguished party enjoyed a parade of sail of more than 100 wind-driven ships including 26 Class-A tall ships arriving from all over the world for Operation Sail 2000.
The Fourth of July closing fireworks display was reported to be the largest in New York history. Two hundred Coast Guard small boats and cutters deployed to patrol the harbor that held more than 30,000 spectator vessels and participating ships. The city streets were also packed, and 29,000 of New York's finest officers policed the streets, keeping festivities safe for everyone's enjoyment. That's not to mention the thousands of Secret Service, FBI, NCIS and Navy Reserve personnel handling security. Why, one would think the President was in town.
After the Independence Day glow had dimmed from the city's skyline, Sailors hit the town en masse, taking advantage of a week specifically designed to cater to their entertainment. And with the ships docked pier side, civilians had a rare chance to tour several war ships and tall-ships that surrounded the city, while Navy men and women toured Manhattan and the surrounding areas.
The big town's hospitality had a small town feel, and the Sailors soaked it all in, enjoying a liberty port unlike any other in the world.
"The people have been helping us out a lot, especially with the restaurants and sites to see," said Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SW) Kofa Faauuga, off Kennedy.
To most Sailors, the week was filled with ceremony early on. Once they had the chance to see the city though, the first time for many of the Sailors, their expectations were exceeded.
"There are so many sounds, smells and sights in New York City, it's overwhelming," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SW/AM) Kent Carlyle, also from Kennedy.
From Yankee Stadium to the Statue of Liberty to the multitude of food stands and restaurants that pepper the city, Sailors from around the world saw them all and added a little culture to the city -- Navy style.
Keres is a photojournalist assigned to All Hands.