July 4th fireworks returning to East River
Brooklyn and Queens residents have one more thing to celebrate this July 4: They will be able to watch the fireworks from their side of the river.Macy's 4th of July Fireworks show is moving back to the East River after five years on the Hudson River, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. But that may not stay the case forever, said Amy Kule, executive producer of the event.
"No, it's not permanent," Kule said. "We were on the West Side for five years, we're extraordinarily pleased to be back on the East Side. But I'm sure when there's something else to celebrate or a reason to move, we will look to do so."
De Blasio acquiesced that was a "factually true statement," but made no secret of his love for the outer boroughs.
"I favor this new location and we're going to do everything we can to make that as typical as possible, as frequent as possible," he said. "
The annual display, currently in its 38th year, was moved to the west side in 2009 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the exploration of the Hudson River by Henry Hudson. And it stayed because the Hudson River is wider, allowing for more barges and a different look to the show, said Orlando Veras, a spokesman for Macy's.
The tipping point, he said, was the approval to set off fireworks from the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. This year's display will include bursts from the iconic bridge as well as three barges along the lower section of the East River, Kule said.
De Blasio said moving the celebration away from the Hudson River, and New Jersey, will come with extra security costs. But he said those are "well worth it considering that hundreds of thousands more New Yorkers will able to benefit from this."
The display will cost the city about $1.9 million -- about $500,000 more than last year, said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for the city's Office of Management and Budget.
"It's nice that it's back," said Charlie Gill, a 67-year-old Brooklyn Heights resident. "We tend to have people over for it, so we'll have another get-together."
But not everyone is waving their red, white and blue flags in celebration.
"It's a bummer," said Upper West Side actress Land Courtney Hay, 48. "You don't want to cross town to see the fireworks.
"You get used to something and then it goes away, like the rest of New York," Hay added. She does not intend to travel to the east side to watch.
As for those in New Jersey, de Blasio said they are more than welcome in the city.
"But I want to emphasize... they'll be welcome to spend their money while they're here," de Blasio said.
More than 40,000 pyrotechnic shells and effects will be set off this year, according to a statement from Macy's.
(With Cari Romm)