The fireworks that lit up the sky in celebration of America’s 234th birthday on July 4 were a slap in the face to that borough with the strongest link to our nation’s revolutionary past — and it’s time to bring the colorful pageantry back to the East River, a coalition of local pols is saying.
For the second year in a row, the Macy’s fireworks display was launched from the Hudson River, the first deviation in the incendiary honors since 1976.
Last year, the company said the relocation was necessary to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of the river.
But this year, no explanation was provided — and that has local politicians and businesses up in arms against the Manhattan-based department store.
“We have plenty of room on the East River,” said Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg), who represents the waterfront from Greenpoint to Brooklyn Heights. “It’s worked for 35 years. There’s no reason it should change.”
Levin was one of 15 elected officials who sent a letter to the Macy’s Chairman Terry Lundgren requesting that the fireworks be moved back to the East River for 2011.
The letter has backing on the Brooklyn waterfront, where it’s a case of “Give them fireworks or give them debt.”
“The fireworks bring people down here — we were packed all day every year for the past 30 years,” said Peter Thristino, owner of Pete’s Downtown, which had just two reservations this Sunday.
Others pointed out that Macy’s has a very popular location on the Fulton Mall in Downtown Brooklyn.
A spokesman for the department store said that the show’s location on the Hudson River allowed organizers to use 20 percent more “high-level shells,” creating “additional spectacular views” for hundreds of thousands of viewers.
“This scale gave us additional creative opportunities to reimagine the entire presentation of the show,” said the spokesman, Orlando Veras. He said that Macy’s had not ruled out bring the fireworks back to the East River in 2011, but hinted that Brooklyn had better get ready to stand in line.
“One thing is certain,” he said. “Macy’s fireworks are for all New Yorkers — and all of [New York] waterways will play host to the show now and in the future.”
Levin said he remained optimistic that his office can work with the company to bring back the fireworks to a borough that can rightfully claim more Revolutionary War history than any other borough.