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Everything you need to know about the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks

June 30, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Fireworks from the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show. Photo by Julienne Schaer
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The average spectator of the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks may not fully understand the many intricacies that are involved in having the show go off without a hitch.

The show isn’t, after all, an unsystematic barrage of colors and sounds set off at random intervals; rather, it’s a rigorously choreographed show set to a musical score.

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It takes months to prepare for the spectacle and more than a week to set up all of the equipment. And just like any live performance, there are cues, choreography and much room for mistakes.

For the 40th Anniversary of the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, Gary Souza, who is the fireworks designer behind the performance, has brought in some new fireworks and effects.

New effects this year include multi-colored transformation ghosts, blue jelly fish, a happy face with blinking eyes, blooming strobing rings, screaming wizards, pastel strobes and double palm trees.

The show will combine these enthralling effects into 22 different colors.

The fireworks will be shot off of barges in two locations in the East River. In Midtown, four barges will be stationed between 23rd Street and 37th Street while one double-barge will be situated off of Pier 17 near the South Street Seaport below the Brooklyn Bridge. The show starts promptly at 9:25 p.m.

This year’s celebration will also include pyro-writing, which is similar to sky writing, but is done with fireworks effects. The pyro-writing will suitably spell out U-S-A.

The music score will feature performances from The United States Air Force Band and Grammy and Tony-award winner Jennifer Holliday.

“Creating the score with both the classic marches, which capture the patriotic pride of a nation, and the gentler, reflective ballads that illuminate its heart is an honor for all involved,” said Bill Schermerhorn, creative director of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. “And on the evening of July 4th, there’s absolutely nothing quite like watching — and hearing — Macy’s Fireworks dance across the New York City sky in perfect synch to each and every note.”


Ahead of the show, the Brooklyn Eagle broke down the spectacle by the numbers:

56,000: Pyrotechnic shells used

2,200: Shells per minute set off

1,600: Lines of computer-programmed cues

50: Tons of equipment

50: Crewmembers

15: Miles of cabling

10: Days to set up


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