By Bill Parry
While the city has yet to make an official announcement, folks in the know in western Queens are excited that the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks extravaganza will return to Long Island City for the third year in a row. NBC will once again basing its national broadcast from Hunters Point South Park.
The show is scheduled to get underway at 9:20 p.m. with more than 50,000 pyrotechnic shells fired from barges along the East River.
“The return of the July 4th fireworks to the East River is welcome news for western Queens,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said. “Residents can once again enjoy our neighborhood’s prominent role in this national celebration. I am pleased our efforts resulted in the Queens waterfront being a participant in the grandest Independence Day celebration in the United States.”
City Hall had no comment on the fireworks. Macy’s said it would have something to say about the event next week.
The fireworks first returned to the East River in 2015, but many in western Queens were disappointed when the shells were launched from barges around the Brooklyn Bridge, out of sight from most prime viewing locations along the Long Island City waterfront. While Hunters Point South Park will be closed to the public for the NBC broadcast, Gantry Plaza State Park will be teeming with more than 50,000 visitors.
“For the third year in a row, I’m thrilled that the nation’s most brilliant July 4th fireworks display will return to the East River for all to see,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside). “Keeping the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks along the East River will give all in my district a chance to enjoy the dazzling spectacle live with family and friends and will turn Long Island City into a destination that will certainly give our local businesses a reason to celebrate.”
Hunters Point Civic Association President Brent O’Leary was pleased to hear the fireworks are back.
“The Hunters Point community is glad to have its fireworks back again where it belongs,” he said. “It’s a great tradition for the neighborhood and we’re all excited.”
It is another chance for the Long Island City waterfront to get national exposure.
“It’s a good thing for the Long Island City community and for all of our restaurants and bars and other local businesses,” Hunters Point Park Conservancy President Rob Basch said. “However, I do with Macy’s reached out more to the community providing tickets to local residents, or at least make a contribution to the Hunters Point Park Conservancy.”
The group’s vice president, Mark Christie, a 20-year resident of the City Lights building, one of the first high-rise condominiums in Hunters Point, has heard grumblings from neighbors after they began receiving notices about security precautions earlier this week. Christie thinks a security lockdown between 5th Street and the waterfront is too much for residents to cope with.
“On a day we celebrate our freedoms, our joy is restricted,” he said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr