NEW YORK CITY --
Above the blare of passing taxi horns and the shouting street food vendors rang out a steady cadence call of a New York Marine sounding off as a sweating civilian attempted one more push up as part of Marine Day Times Square May 23.
Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force New York and the Marine Forces Reserve Band gathered in Times Square to give civilians a taste of Marine Corps music, physical training, weaponry and martial arts.
Lance Cpl. Eduardo Ortiz, a New York City native, led the physical fitness section of the Marine Day event. He stood screaming encouragement inches away from the strain marked faces of civilians hoping to impress the crowd gathered around the pull-up bar in front of the historic Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square.
“It’s fun, it’s a lot of fun,” said Ortiz, a personnel clerk with 6th Communication Battalion in Brooklyn, NY. “You get to meet all different kinds of people.”
Ortiz said he hoped to identify potential recruits who demonstrated a high level of physical ability and help “keep them on the right path” to maybe one day becoming a Marine, while helping some realize which areas of fitness they need to work on.
Kyla Kennedy of Plattsburgh, N.Y., lifts weights from time to time, but found herself struggling to maintain her grip on the bar as Ortiz timed her flexed arm hang.
“My arms started shaking, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be,” said Kennedy. “I guess you have to be strong to be in the Marines.”
Yards away artillery and embarkation Marines threw down demonstrating the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
The exhibition covered disarming an attacker, grappling, holds and take downs – with civilians often trying their luck against their black belt Marine counterparts.
“As soon as we start doing our thing a crowd gathers fast,” said Sgt. Evan Beaule, an artillery Marine with the SP MAGTF NY and Lewiston, Maine native.
Nick Presuto of Waterbury, Conn., took a Marine down using a leg sweep after the Marines taught him the technique. Presuto enjoyed his match against the Marine in Times Square, adding “it was fun.”