Macy’s July 4 fireworks returning to large-scale brilliance

Macy’s annual fireworks display will return to its usual grand scale over the East River this July 4, the latest sign of normalcy returning to New York City. (Brittainy Newman/The New York Times)
Macy’s annual fireworks display will return to its usual grand scale over the East River this July 4, the latest sign of normalcy returning to New York City. (Brittainy Newman/The New York Times)

NEW YORK — Macy’s annual fireworks display will return to its usual grand scale over the East River this July 4, the latest sign of normalcy returning to New York City.

Bill de Blasio, the city’s mayor, announced the milestone Thursday, noting that “this is part of the summer of New York City, the rebirth of New York City.”

He continued, “Why is it possible? Because you got vaccinated.”

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The mayor’s announcement comes days after Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, said the state would lift most of its remaining pandemic restrictions when 70% of the state’s adult population was at least partially vaccinated.

“When we hit 70%, we will be back to life as normal,” Cuomo said Monday. “Or as normalized as you can be post-COVID.”

“They are bringing the full-scale fireworks show, as we have loved it for decades and decades, back to New York City for all of us to enjoy."

- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

That goal is not far off — 69% of New York residents ages 18 and older have received at least one shot, according to a New York Times database, though with some areas lagging, de Blasio said this week his own hope to vaccinate 5 million New Yorkers by the end of June appeared out of reach.

The Macy’s fireworks display, an annual tradition since 1976, was significantly altered last summer to prevent spectators from gathering in large groups and potentially spreading the virus. Macy’s produced seven shorter displays over several days that were launched from different parts of the city: the East River, Coney Island, the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, One Times Square, Borough Hall in the Bronx, and a finale on July 4 from atop the Empire State Building.

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This year, de Blasio said at a news conference, “They are bringing the full-scale fireworks show, as we have loved it for decades and decades, back to New York City for all of us to enjoy.”

The mayor said there would be dedicated viewing areas maintained by the New York Police Department separating people who had been vaccinated and those who had not. The average numbers of daily reported cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the city have been declining sharply for months, according to city data.

A Macy’s news release said the 25-minute display will start about 9:25 p.m. and use more than 65,000 shells launched from five barges. It will be set to music, including patriotic songs including “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” and singer Tori Kelly’s rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel.”

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The release described the fireworks as “eclipsing fans, triple linking rainbows, blue jellyfish with crackling tentacles and red, white and blue waterfalls, creating dramatic effects a mile across the river and from 1,000 feet in the air to the water’s edge.”

The fireworks will be broadcast as part of a two-hour special on NBC that will begin at 8 p.m., featuring performances by artists including Black Pumas, Coldplay, OneRepublic and Reba McEntire.

De Blasio also announced another fireworks display off Coney Island in Brooklyn, which should run from about 10 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. and be visible from Coney Island’s boardwalk.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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