A Real Page-Turner

May 15, 2011       Kristie Cattafi      

Thank the heavens for a tough economy, huh? The official Fire Department of New York (FDNY) firefighter “beefcake” calendar will return in 2012 to raise money for the FDNY Foundation. The calendar hasn”t been produced since 2008 when one of the firefighters turned up without his turnout gear in a “Guys Gone Wild” online video.

The FDNY decided to bring the calendar back after talking with the FDNY Foundation, a charitable arm of the FDNY, and the people who publish the calendar. “It can make money for the FDNY Foundation and bring in good funds,” said FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer.

All proceeds from the 2012 calendar will go to the FDNY Foundation. “We estimate that the calendar could bring us $250,000 each year,” Dwyer said. The money will go toward fire education, covering the cost of classes and lectures that the FDNY offers for children, batteries in the smoke alarms that they distribute for free, as well as equipment, such as cameras and laptops, and possibly some exercise equipment, Dwyer said. Some of the proceeds from previous calendars went to additional charities, such as burn centers.

The 2008 calendar was the last official one for the FDNY after a 22-year-old Brooklyn firefighter who appeared on the cover of the calendar was nude in a video that went viral. As a result, then FDNY commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta banned New York City firefighters from appearing in calendars. “It was a decision by the department for a number of reasons,” Dwyer said. “It (a calendar) wasn”t appropriate at the time.”

Since the last FDNY calendar was released, other publishers have been hawking unofficial New York City firefighters calendars. New York City photographer Alan “Battman” Batt, who has worked with publishing the official FDNY calendar for 10 years, created the current 2011 calendar, which is selling for $19.95 on his website. “There”s a number of calendars out there that aren”t official, but they”ve said that a portion of their proceeds do go to charities,” Dwyer said.

Batt, who has a permanent photography exhibit in the Empire State Building, said about 15 percent of proceeds from his New York City firefighters calendar goes to charity. He said he is still able to produce the calendar with FDNY firefighters because Scoppetta only banned them from appearing in their own calendar but not others. NPT

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