The heat wave may be over, but things got sultry in Times Square yesterday with the unveiling of the FDNY 2014 Calendar of Heroes, with many of the handsome models on hand to turn up the heat. A tourist from Vermont had her boyfriend take a photograph of her and two firefighters, later sighing, "This is my unattainable crush."
Visitors from all over—Wisconsin, California and even Brazil—nestled in close to the calendar boys for photo ops and autographs. Marcella Baptista, 20, had her eye on Mr. July, Anthony Picozzi. She and her friend Mariana Perreira, 21, were particularly excited to pose with him—"He's so handsome!" she cooed. And Perreira had a hard time letting go:
The firefighters, who work across the city, admitted to prepping for the photo shoot. Many of them suck to a high-protein, low-carb diet and steered clear of salt in the weeks leading up to their photo shoot. A few even admitted to taking cues from body builders, dehydrating themselves to appear extra ripped (Hugh Jackman did it, too, for Wolverine).
Cover model Jose Cordero is in his sixth year with the FDNY and works at a station in Canarsie. Getting on the coveted calendar was a complete surprise for Cordero. He admitted his family would probably buy a lot of calendars, "Maybe 50." Does he get a discount? "I sure hope so!"
When asked if he’s been teased by other firefighters in his unit, Cordero joked, "What do you think? Imagine Rescue Me times 100, and then maybe that’s what it it’s like." But Shane Clark, Mr. February who works in Chinatown (he helped save a woman during a meat cleaver attack earlier this year) confided that some of the guys quietly ask, "Hey, how do you get into the calendar?"
All of the firefighters were off-duty but happy to spend a few hours mingling with the public (and being groped and manhandled by eager women) to raise money and awareness for the FDNY Foundation. Carole Gumbs, a teacher visiting from Saint Martin, clutched her calendar and attributed her long admiration to the fact that her grandfather was once a firefighter back home. Other women were intent on getting their calendar signed by everyone—one, who would just be identified as Vinny, lamented, "Some aren't here!" Hey, lady, they're probably, you know, fighting fires.
Of course, we couldn't leave without a signed Calendar of Heroes to fight over in the Gothamist office. Fortunately there are plenty more available for purchase online. Proceeds go to the FDNY Foundation, the FDNY's non-profit arm that helps promote fire safety education for residents of New York City and to provide professional development, training and education for FDNY members.