NEW YORK, May 20 (UPI) -- A New York City institution, Fleet Week, along with its white clad, free-spending sailors, is the latest victim of military spending cuts, Navy officials said.
The annual celebration that brought some of the Navy's largest warships to New York Harbor for a week for the public to inspect -- while allowing sailors to roam the city and enjoy perks like free subway rides, baseball tickets and, yes, some extra attention from some of the the Big Apple's female residents -- fell victim to the sequester.
The Navy has been forced to scale back much of its public relations spending amid cuts to flying hours, training and other actual military budgets that some worry could affect the military's ability to respond to crises abroad. The Navy canceled all Fleet Weeks across the country -- New York was the biggest -- costing between $7 million and $10 million.
The New York City area stands to lose about $20 million in economic activity from the annual event, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot said Monday.
Fleet Week New York began in 1982 and immediately became a pop culture hit, with the women of "Sex and the City" spending an entire episode chasing "cute, sweet, American sailors looking for fun." Late night comedian David Letterman usually has sailors on leave deliver the evening's "Top 10 List."
A Navy spokesman said he hoped funding for the event would be restored in 2014.