New Yorkers were all smiles as the nation’s largest Independence Day celebration — the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks — returned in spectacular fashion after organizers had to scale back last year’s show with small pop-up events to avoid crowd gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fireworks extravaganza, which was launched from five barges along the East River, was the biggest the city had ever seen, with 65,000 shells and effects illuminating the iconic New York City Skyline.
While Manhattanites enjoyed the dazzling display over the East River from public viewing areas on 23rd, 34th, and 42nd Streets above the FDR Drive, Brooklynites were drawn to Domino Park, Marsha P. Johnson State Park, and Bushwick Inlet Park in Williamsburg.
Hundreds of spectators, mostly unmasked, filled Bushwick Inlet Park with coolers and blankets in tow. Many had arrived hours before the show kicked off at 9:25 pm to score a coveted spot close to the East River waterfront.
For Lyzt Campos, the July 4 celebration was a family affair. She drove in from Connecticut and met up with her family, who had been holding a spot in the park since 2 pm. She was excited to be in Brooklyn and experience the July 4 fireworks since many towns in the neighboring state had to postpone the display due to inclement weather.
“It’s like a special family reunion. And we haven’t seen each other for a long time,” Lyzt Campos said.
Shoyeb Khan was visiting from Providence, Rhode Island, with his wife and in-laws. It was their first trip after the COVID-19 pandemic and their first time in New York City.
“It’s very exciting just to see the crowds and the vibe of the city and the fireworks. It’s crazy,” Khan said. “We don’t have this in Rhode Island, and I hope it’s going to be very exciting.”
A spectator named David enjoyed the impressive pyrotechnics with his parents Diane and Paul, who were visiting from Michigan to celebrate Independence Day.
“It’s good to be back,” he said about the elaborate celebration, which was a salute to the unwavering spirit of New York and the nations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For his mom Diane, the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks were one more item to scratch of her bucket list.
“It was awesome. I liked the Empire State Building fireworks in the background,” she said.
Selly, who was at the park with a large group of family and friends, shared that it was very emotional to attend such a larger gathering after COVID-19.
“It’s amazing to see that we are back,” Selly said.
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.