Brooklyn Boro

New plan for Macy’s fireworks display produces an explosion of criticism

June 23, 2020 Raanan Geberer
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The City’s plan, announced Tuesday, to replace the usual Macy’s July 4 fireworks display with a series of smaller, unannounced displays around the five boroughs has produced an explosion of angry responses on the internet.

Many Brooklynites were doubtless hoping for another colorful display like the one last year that made the Brooklyn Bridge the star of the show.

But the new plan, jointly made public by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Macy’s on Tuesday, is that instead of one big display on July 4, there will be a series of five-minute unannounced fireworks displays in each of the five boroughs from June 29 to July 1. They will culminate in a larger, televised “grand finale” on Independence Day itself.

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The most controversial element is almost certainly the fact that locations will deliberately not be made public, to discourage crowds that might violate social distancing guidelines.

Or, as the official release from the Mayor’s Office said, “Each show is brief and will be over before residents can gather at the source … With heights reaching up 1,000 feet from some firing locations, staying close to home and following social distancing guidelines is the best way to enjoy the show.”

Compounding the situation is the fact that New Yorkers have already been “treated” to an avalanche of fireworks for weeks now, with many complaints coming from Brooklyn. City residents called the 311 complaint line more than 1,700 times about fireworks in the first half of June alone.

Last year, a huge crowd on Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park gathered to see the fireworks. This is exactly the type of scenario Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to avoid this year. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle File

On Twitter, Al Jones said the plan is “about what we already have nightly.” Coriolus Nimrod tweeted, “A department store is hiding secret caches of explosives around the city with the intent to set off sudden, quick, and unexpected blasts at unpredictable times? What could go wrong?”

Mary Nordquist tweeted, “Maybe, they’re thinking the noise from the fireworks will cover up the sounds of the gunfire in the city.” And a user with the handle She Is Dr. Zoroaster tweeted, “Who thought up this turkey of an idea? New Yorkers will be under constant threat for 6 nights?”

Walter Smith said, “I think that’s been going on for the past month.” And those are just a few of the many critical, angry or sarcastic responses.

One of the most interesting responses was a photo posted Monday on Twitter by Amy Langfield, a mobile producer with CNN. The photo shows a barge with the Macy’s logo in front of some older industrial buildings, and Langfield writes, “Well hello, Macy’s fireworks barge.”

Langfield didn’t respond to this writer’s question about the location, but according to, she lives in Red Hook, and many of her posts on various social media platforms are about Red Hook.

In a related matter, also on Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio announced a Fireworks Task Force that will target suppliers, distributors and possessors of large quantities of illegal fireworks “to disrupt supply chains.”

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