Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Fireworks Show on the Hudson Sets off West vs. East Divide
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
At approximately 9:20 p.m. on Wednesday, four barges in the Hudson River will set off more than 50,000 pounds of fireworks.
The spectacle of lights will feature new shapes choreographed to music, thanks to a network of 13 computers. Think golden palm trees set to Whitney Houston's One Moment in Time and fireflies glittering to Yankee Doodle.
But some residents who live closer to the East River are a bit miffed that the Hudson — for the fourth year in a row — is getting all the glory. In years past, the 4th of July celebration would alternate between the East River and the Hudson River.
Steve Cherfils, who lives in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, said he and his wife would make an event out of watching the fireworks from Brooklyn Heights.
"We'd come down to the promenade, grab some ice cream, sit down, wait for the show to start, enjoy ourselves and grab a bottle of wine on the way home," he said.
Steven Rosen, a Brooklyn Heights resident, hopes the fireworks will move back to the East River next year. He said he used to watch the fireworks regularly, both as a Brooklyn resident and when he used to live on the east side of Manhattan.
"And now, I mean, I live right on the water and I can't see it," he said. "I can only see it behind the buildings which is really kind of sad."
Cecilia Kuhn, also from Brooklyn Heights, added the newly renovated Brooklyn Bridge Park would be an ideal gathering place for the 4th of July.
"The time to have them here would be now," she said.
Macy's, which is producing the 4th of July celebration for the 36th year, chooses the location based on the design of the show.
There are safety protocols that must be followed, such as the distance between barges in the river and the distance between shores, said Orlando Veras, a spokesman. He said coordinators will meet in early to mid-February to choose the location for next year.
But Kuhn has another suggestion to make West Siders and East Siders and Brooklyn residents happy: fireworks along both rivers.
The most ideal locations to view the fireworks this year are along the West Side High or 12th Avenue, between 14th and 59th Streets or Pier 84, which has limited access. There are also some viewing points along 11th Avenue between 24th and 57th Streets.
For more information on viewing, street closures and transit, visit the city's website.