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Macy’s July Fourth fireworks show will be back this year

June 10, 2021 Associated Press and Raanan Geberer, Brooklyn Eagle

The traditional Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show will return to the East River this year after the pandemic forced changes to the celebration in 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

“This is really great, a tremendous sign of the rebirth of New York City,” de Blasio said at a virtual briefing.

The fireworks will be launched from five barges in the East River starting at 9:25 p.m. on July 4, said Will Coss, executive producer of the show.

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There was no indication on the Macy’s site as to exactly where in the East River the barges will be situated. 

However, Macy’s website did say that “Viewing will be available for verified, fully-vaccinated spectators on elevated portions of the FDR Drive in Manhattan with entry points at East 23rd, East 34th and East 42nd Streets.” 

The site continues to say that “Public viewing for non-vaccinated spectators will be available along portions of the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan waterfronts,” implying that, at least to some people, viewing the fireworks from Brooklyn and Queens is regarded as less desirable.

In pre-COVID days, large numbers of people would head for the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Red Hook and areas of Greenpoint and Williamsburg to view the fireworks.

Viewing from choice Brooklyn spots did not take place every year, by any means.  For a few years before 2014, the fireworks were held on the Hudson River, not visible from Brooklyn. And in 2017, they could be viewed only from Greenpoint and Williamsburg, not the Heights.

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But otherwise, one of the highlights of the fireworks display, beginning in 2014, was the fireworks that were shot off from the Brooklyn Bridge itself. 

In 2014, according to Eagle reporter Mary Frost, “it was so packed” on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, that “police had to be stationed at the Promenade to make sure it wasn’t overcrowded, and they needed to cordon off a safety lane so emergency responders could get through. People entering Brooklyn Bridge Park had to enter a police cordon to get their bags checked.”

But when the fireworks were viewable from the Heights, Frost recalls, “at the conclusion, you could hear the applause from the balconies above the Promenade, and all over the Heights.”

At least one year, she adds, “police closed off the Clark Street 2/3 subway station because they were afraid there would be so many people [coming to view the fireworks] that some would fall onto the tracks.”

This year, the show will be broadcast live on NBC as part of a two-hour special featuring the Black Pumas, Coldplay, OneRepublic and Reba McEntire, officials from Macy’s and NBC said.

The big show was replaced by several small, unannounced fireworks displays last year in order to prevent crowds from gathering during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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