New York City welcomes return of fireworks to the East River

new york city fireworks
Thousands of people watch the fireworks along the East River on July 4, 2005 in New York City.
Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

New York City’s fireworks show isn’t just a West Side story this year.

For the first time since 2008, the nation’s largest Fourth of July fireworks show will return to the East River on Friday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, after urging Macy’s executives to move the annual pyrotechnic display, announced the change in April. Thousands more New Yorkers, he said, will have better access to the fireworks show on the East Side.

And despite their loss, many West Siders agreed.

“The city is being fair to both sides,” Upper West Side resident Peter Strobel, 58, said. “It doesn’t really matter though – the main thing is that it’s a great event for families.” 

The fireworks were moved to the Hudson River in 2009 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of explorer Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York. The river allowed for more barges and the display stayed there for an extra four years, to the benefit of New Jersey and Manhattan’s West Side.

Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal said her Upper West Side constituents might be bummed, though she still supports the decision to move them back to the East Side.

“It’s a loss for the Upper West Side but I think it’s a gain for more people in New York City,” she said.

Andrew Albert, executive director of the West Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, said West Side businesses did very well when the fireworks were on the Hudson. But that doesn’t mean the change is a bad thing for locals.

The return of Jersey City’s own display will partially fill the void left by the move. And if New Jersey and West Side residents want to see the Macy’s display, they can.

“It’s not like you can’t get everywhere on mass transit,” Albert said.

During the Macy’s show, more than 40,000 pyrotechnic shells and effects will fired from barges in the East River and, for the first time, the Brooklyn Bridge. The display will also sync with the “Star Spangled Banner” for the anthem’s 200th anniversary.

“It’s always something amazing to see,” said Albert, who lives on the Upper West Side, of the show. He added, with a laugh, “But it means a trip down there.”

Joseph Souza and Samar Khurshid contributed reporting. Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter @AnnaESanders


California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…


Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…


North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…


Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.


Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."


Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.


Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…