An annual New York City tradition begins Wednesday, as Fleet Week kicks off with the Parade of Ships along the Hudson River.
It will be the largest Fleet Week since the celebrations began 25 years ago. The festivities will mark the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the penning of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
A flotilla of 17 tall ships and 10 warships will sweep into New York Harbor, some from as far away as Indonesia.
The vessels will sail past the Verrazano-Narrows bridge, the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson before turning around at the George Washington Bridge.
The first ships will be visible from Lower Manhattan just after 9 a.m. Later, they will move to docking stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island.
This will be the first Fleet Week celebration since the U.S. withdrew its combat forces from Iraq in December.
Visitors are welcome to come aboard the vessels from Thursday through next Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for the Brooklyn vessels, which are only open Saturday to Monday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.