I was interviewed for a French-German TV documentary on the USS Recruit, the WWI battleship that was in Union Square. The episode is in French, but I think the guy sounds like me. It aired on Arte, the travel documentary Invitation Au Voyage.
For WWI, the focus of Navy and Marine Corps recruiting was Union Square. On Memorial Day, May 30, 1917, the Navy “launched” the battleship USS Recruit, made entirely of wood, on Broadway. It measured 200 feet from stem to stern and had a forty-foot beam. It had twelve replica cannons twenty-six feet long, physical examination rooms, a waiting room for applicants, and a full crew (who swabbed the decks and hung their laundry out for the public to see actual Navy life). Mayor John Purroy Mitchel presented the ship on behalf of the city to Rear Admiral Nathaniel R. Usher, commander of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The mayor’s wife, Olive, smashed a bottle of Champagne over the bows to christen the Recruit. A Marine band played “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the crowd stood at attention.
The text and information comes from my book, World War One New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War.