Since 1984 the arrival of Memorial Day weekend means the disembarking of thousands of sailors and marines in New York City as part of Fleet Week. Pier 88 on the Hudson River is where you'll find their ships, including the USS John F. Kennedy (Big John), an aircraft carrier more properly thought of as your tax dollars afloat.
This is from the NYC.gov website: "As the Navy's premier community event, Fleet Week New York City is a week long event honoring our nation's maritime heritage. Fleet Week will include dozens of military demonstrations and displays throughout the week, as well as public visitation of many of the participating ships." (Someone needs to do a study and find out just how many Fleet Week babies are conceived during this "public visitation").
Walking around Manhattan and seeing knots of sailors in pea coats and flat hats always puts me in mind of one of my favorite movies of the 1970's, The Last Detail. Based on a book by Darryl Ponicsan with a screenplay by Robert Towne and directed by Hal Ashby (Harold and Maude, Shampoo), the film follows Billy "Bad Ass" Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and "Mule" Mulhall (Otis Young) as they escort kleptomaniac recruit Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid, in his first role) to a Navy brig. It's a thoroughly naturalistic, bittersweet character study and boasts one of Jack Nicholson's finest performances (he hadn't yet descended into self-caricature). The film doesn't have a single dishonest moment. Get yourself some Heineken ("That's the beer John F. Kennedy drank!"), some hot dogs on sticks and watch it this weekend with a swabbie.
Meadows: If you're Catholic, do you think it's a sin to chant?
Budduskey: Did it get you laid?
Budduskey: Then Meadows, what the fuck do you want to go on chanting for?