Fleet Week New York (held today through May 26) is a U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard tradition in which active military ships recently deployed in overseas operations dock in the city for one week; several other major cities host Fleet Weeks as well. Once the ships dock, the crews can enter the city and visit its tourist attractions. And so you have a city swarming with swabbies. Even Carrie on Sex and the City (almost) gets into the action.
As a special program this year, Fleet Week is promoting #SelfieWithASailor. That's right, you can have a special portrait of yourself with a bell-bottomed buddy. Be sure to add your hashtag!
To help celebrate and support our seamen, we have assembled a collection of art and photography devoted to the men at sea.
Vintage sailors enjoying the fit of a good sailor's uniform.
Sailors selling it: everything from submarines to soap to Camels.
Sailors on stage and screen (clockwise from left): Brad Davis in Querelle; Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in one of two fetishy sailor films they made together, Anchors Aweigh; Cris Alexander, Adolph Green, and John Battles onstage in On the Town.
Sailors and Floozies, painted by gay artist Paul Cadmus in 1938, was supposed to be exhibited in a San Francisco art show in 1940, but the Navy wanted it taken down. After the press made a fuss about it, the painting stayed in the show. According to a 1940 Time article, Cadmus had this to say: “I think the picture portrays an enjoyable side of Navy life. I think it would make a good recruiting poster.”
The Navy Wants Men, indeed. Various recruitment posters.
Famed Saturday Evening Post illustrator J.C. Leyendecker painted sailors lovingly.
Sailors make the cover: Adventure magazine shows the crustier side of the old gob, and Sam Steward (a.k.a. Phil Andros and Phil Sparrow) used a sailor as part of his promotion as a tattoo artist.