Last night was the first night of the week-long Macy’s July 4th Fireworks Show, “reimagined” as the department store states, for the year of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of one show on July 4th, short shows at unannounced locations will happen across the New York City waterways and “select days.” A week ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio described these truncated, surprise shows as “very brief bursts, briefbut mighty.” Macy’s said the launch would be land or water based, and the first locations last night were on the East River near 34th Street and at Coney Island.

Untapped New York correspondent Jessica Gardner documented last night’s fireworks from Tudor City and tells us “The south barge set off a little test at first and I honestly thought we were under attack. 2 barges pulled up at 9:30pm, three rounds of fireworks like this video went off and by just after 10pm the barges were headed south.” She also notes that about twenty NYPD boats accompanied the fireworks barges. Our other correspondent Kenny Hung was on the opposite side of the river, documenting the same fireworks.

July 4th Fireworks

The intention of the unannounced fireworks shows is to prevent crowds from gathering, although the gesture has been countered by those who have had enough with the ongoing illegal fireworks shows happening daily in New York City. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer tweeted “My constituents are extremely concerned abt the Macy’s fireworks. There are already surprise fireworks shows in our neighborhoods, to the distress of people who have PTSD & pets. To have a 6 day traveling surprise fireworks show in the midst of a budget crisis doesn’t make sense.” Others question the fiscal responsibility of spending $6 million on fireworks, when Macy’s has just laid off 4,000 employees.

Macy's July 4th FireworksStill from video by Jessica Gardner

Macy's July 4th FireworksStill from video by Jessica Gardner

In a press conference yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to a question about the allowing the fireworks to happen this year, saying “I made this decision a couple of months ago, because to me it was about saying that, you know, we’re still here, we’re still fighting. We’re still standing, and that was in a much tougher time, but I had confidence that New York City would find our way through. It is a message to the nation of the strength of New York City. It’s also an opportunity for us to celebrate our country as our country’s in crisis and have a moment of something positive and something respectful. Macy’s was ready to do this. They were ready to go ahead and I thought it was the right thing to do. So, we’re going to have locations that give people an opportunity to say something very brief. A lot of people be able to see them from just wherever they live. We don’t want crowds. We don’t want a lot of commotion. It’s a simple approach in a very imperfect world to give something special to people, but do it with a lot of sense of security and safety, and you know, look, folks will know at the last minute the broad area and they’ll get a sense to look out for it. I think that’s the right approach and then it will be packaged together in the show for July 4th. So, in a world of imperfect options, I came to the conclusion with Macy’s that this was the best approach.” In a press conference on June 23rd, he described the Macy’s fireworks as “something that brings us actually a lot of joy.”

Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of Macy’s.