By Bill Parry
Long Island City will get national exposure as it hosts NBC’s two-hour national broadcast of the 39th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the nation’s largest Independence Day pyrotechnic display would return to the East River for the second straight year.
“Last year, we brought Macy’s incredible fireworks back to the East River – and this year, with barges up and down the river, even more New Yorkers will be able to take part,” de Blasio said. “This celebration will light up the sky for millions in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. There’s no question: This will be a dynamite 4th of July for New Yorkers across the city.”
Unlike last year, when Queens residents were disappointed to learn the fireworks would go off around the Brooklyn Bridge, barges will be placed further north. They will be visible along the entire East River shoreline.
“We’ll just consider last year’s display a dry run for this year,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “At the time, the administration was already planning to move it further up the river, where it will be viewable from Long Island City and therefore more easily accessible to the 2.3 million residents of the Borough of Queens.”
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) pushed hard for the relocation, according to sources, and he was elated with the announcement.
“LIC is the staging area for the event this year, and you won’t have to twist your neck and squint your eyes towards Brooklyn,” Van Bramer said. “Last year was a good step forward getting it back on the East River, but we knew we had to get it closer to Queens and move it further up river and we got that.”
Veso Buntic, the owner of Anable Basin Sailing Bar & Grill, on the waterfront at 44th Drive, was among the disappointed last year.
“It’s going to help everyone in the neighborhood, not just me,” he said, adding the NYPD paid a visit last week suggesting he issue tickets to his customers.
“They’re concerned about crowd control,” he said. “They’re going to close the street so we don’t get overwhelmed with people.”
Gustavo Rodriguez is booking three musical acts to preform at LIC Bar’s annual pre-fireworks show.
“We’re elated that it’s back,” he said. “I remember how LIC used to be like Times Square on New Year’s Eve before they moved it to the Hudson in ‘09. This is going to be great.”
Some 40,000 pyrotechnic shells will be fired off during the 25-minute synchronized display, from four barges positioned between 23rd Street and 37th Street. Gantry State Park and Hunters Point South Park will be prime viewing areas.
“I definitely think it’s payback for the community getting shortchanged last year,” Hunters Point Parks Conservancy President Rob Basch said. “Now they’ll be right in front of us with a gorgeous backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. All this exposure will surely make LIC a ‘must see’ for tourists down the road. And when they see what we see every day, they’ll keep coming back.”
BP Katz agreed to a point. “I think LIC is already a tourist destination,” she said. “We are already the No. 1 destination of choice by Lonely Planet and this will help further our stature worldwide.”