Missing from the streets of New York City this week: A sea of men in uniform.
The city’s famed Fleet Week, scheduled to run May 23-30 this year, was canceled due to federal budget cuts. As sequestration put the military (and domestic) budget on the chopping block, the pricey tradition—which typically costs the Navy $7 to $10 million—got axed. That means no Navy ships gracing the Hudson River, and no swarms of sailors and Marines in Times Square.
But while the Navy is tightening its belt, New York City’s restaurants and bars are getting hit in the gut. Fleet Week brings in $20 million in annual revenue to the city, according to New York’s Economic Development Corporation. That sum includes hotel and restaurant spending, plus tax revenue.
Some businesses are hoping to ride the faux-Fleet Week wave through Memorial Day, honoring servicemen in other ways. The museum that is the USS Intrepid—a World War II-era aircraft carrier docked off the west side of Manhattan—will kick off its annual summer-long “Salute to Heroes” as usual, along with its traditional Memorial Day commemoration ceremony, sans sailors.
Last year, more than 6,000 officers, sailors, and crew members arrived in New York City to celebrate the 29-year-old tradition.
“Hope to see you next year!” reads Fleet Week’s website. Here’s hoping.