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Macy’s July 4th Celebration: Fireworks On The East River

Lee Fryd

Fireworks are best viewed from the water. (Photo: Lee Fryd)

It was Fourth of July and we had left the Hamptons. But, as we flashed our Macy's passes at each checkpoint along the way to the East River, there were certainly no regrets. As each guard waved us through the crowd, the excitement grew, until, there we were, at the water's edge, with the Brooklyn Bridge on one side and Macy's barges directly in front. It almost felt as though the anticipation would outweigh the event, until, the first rocket burst into a kaleidoscope of colored flames right above us. We grabbed each other to share the moment. Then, lights cascaded from across the entire Brooklyn Bridge into the East River. The patriotism was palpable.

Even God seemed on our side. The threatening Hurricane Arthur had moved on and the skies were a perfect canvas.

We were part of the Macy's 4,000 invited guests, spread across Piers 15 and 16. There was a general viewing party, media party, and Macy's "special guests" party on a Hornblower boat, with some darn good food and drink. Even those watching on TV thought Macy's had outdone itself.

"It was the best one ever, if I do say so myself, because you don't want to have any favorite children," said Robin Reibel, Macy's SVP - Media Relations, Cause Marketing, Tourism Marketing, Events & Partnerships. "But it was particularly grand this year thanks to the patriotic nature of the 200th Anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, terrific musical score and unprecedented use of the bridge. It was one of those times in peoples' lives to say, 'I was there when Macy's shot the fireworks off the Brooklyn Bridge.'"

The renowned Souza family fireworks display was a team effort of Executive Producer Amy Kule and Musical Creative Director Bill Schermerhorn.

The climactive moment was Idina Menzel's "Star Spangled Banner." "I was in the studio when she recorded it," Reibel shared. "That was very special to hear her open her mouth and sing this incredible spine tingling version."

Macy's has been putting on these fireworks for 35 years and their Thanksgiving Day Parade for 80. Both are egalitarian gifts to the city, available to the millions who find vantage points and millions more who watch the NBC broadcast. "We're America's department store," said Reibel. "We have 800 stores across the country, many thousands of employees and associates and a very, very varied and diverse customer base. So its completely within our DNA that the fireworks and the parade should be able to be enjoyed by millions in NY, watched on TV and streamed across the world."

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