East Siders are bummed that for the third straight year the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks will launch again from the Hudson River.
Restaurants on the East Side that were once packed with people hoping to catch a good view are now nearly empty on Independence Day, several owners told us.
“This neighborhood is a ghost town now on the Fourth,” said Curtin Lanton, manager of Third and Long bar in Murray Hill. “You can see tumbleweeds rolling down 3rd Ave. That’s how dead it is.”
The South Street Seaport’s Il Porto Restaurant, which would take in around $60,000 when the fireworks were visible in the past, has only made approximately $20,000 on that night, manager Gloria Jaramillo said.
The show’s organizers had floated the idea of moving it to the Statue of Liberty this year to honor its 125th birthday, but scrapped the plan partly because of security and logistic difficulties, Macy’s spokesman Orlando Veras said.
And unless the show gets scaled down, it seems likely to remain on the West Side for the foreseeable future. The six large barges used to set off the 40,000 firework shells don’t fit on the East Side, Veras said. He added that the location of next year’s show is undecided.
Nightlife owners on the West Side, meanwhile, have cashed in on the show’s move, with many selling tickets weeks in advance.
The Press Lounge in midtown west expects to sell out tickets to its rooftop party. Last July 4, nearly 260 people coughed up $300 apiece for drinks, food, and to watch the fireworks there.
"It's a phenomenal view,” said John O’Mahoney, the lounge’s spokesman. “The fireworks are literally blowing up right here.”
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said he wishes Macy’s would move the fireworks back to the East River, or at least alternate each year.
“It doesn’t make much sense to permanently take it from the heart of New York City, which is the East River,” Vallone said. “I’m not sure why they want to take it away again from New Yorkers in Queens and give it to people in New Jersey.”
Victoria Kiminta of Murray Hill agreed. She said she’ll go to a friend’s apartment on the West Side to take in the show.
“It really isn’t fair,” Kiminta, 44, said. “There’s no reason why some people shouldn’t be allowed to see.”
This year’s Fourth of July show, titled “Gift of Freedom,” will celebrate the Statue of Liberty’s 125th birthday. Some things to watch for:
- New fireworks! Pinwheel-shaped multicolored flowers, pink strobing jellyfish and yellow and purple “X” shells whose ends transform into palm trees.
- The six barges, which hold 40,000 fireworks shells, will move back and forth during the show, giving the audience a 3-D effect.
- If you’re watching on TV or listening on the radio, you’ll hear performances by Jennifer Hudson, LeAnn Rimes, Katy Perry, Everclear and James Taylor.
- For a somber moment, two focus lights will shine straight up into the air, recognizing the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that took down the World Trade Center towers.