By Lisa Autz
Astoria celebrates its independence early with the first firework celebration in the city this summer Monday. Central Astoria’s 31st annual Waterfront Independence celebration will feature the Queens Symphony Orchestra followed by a Grucci fireworks display over the East River.
The fireworks are shot from Randall’s Island over the East River and usually draw a large crowd on the Astoria Park Lawn, which is located on Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the pool.
“It is a long anticipated event,” said Marie Torniali, executive director of Central Astoria Local Development. “Annually, about 10,000 people show up.”
The event begins with the Queens Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p,m., which kicks off the annual summer concert series at Astoria Park. Every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. from July 11 to Aug. 15, Astoria Park will have a variety of musicians play tribute to the musical genres of swing, Motown, pop and rock. It will include performances by Beatlemania Stage Show, Motorcity review, and Charles Thompson and the Drifters.
“We try to get a different genre to play every year,” Torniali said. “We had the Queens Symphony Orchestra years ago and we are happy to have them back.”
Since the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks have shifted to the Hudson River in recent years, it is now the only firework event over the East River. It gives a chance to those who go out of town for the holiday to catch the beauty of watching the fireworks across the city’s skyline.