Mayor de Blasio: Brooklyn and Queens included once more
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
They’re baaack! Brooklyn and Queens rejoiced as Mayor Bill de Blasio, elected officials and Macy’s announced that the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will be returning to the East River this year, with a spectacular pyrotechnic display launched from the Brooklyn Bridge as well as three East River barges.
De Blasio was joined by many of the officials – including former Brooklyn BP Marty Markowitz, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, and state Senator Daniel Squadron -- who worked for several years to get the display returned to the East River.
For the past five years, Macy’s has launched the display from the Hudson River, where it could be viewed only by West Siders and New Jersey residents, leaving Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island out in the cold.
De Blasio said the return fit in with his notion of inclusion.
“This is a city of great traditions, and one that we particularly prize is the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks,” Mayor de Blasio said. “People gather on rooftops; it defines the summer.”
He said that the city was grateful to Macy’s “for lighting our skyline every 4th of July” and added, “Now even more New Yorkers will get to take part in this extraordinary celebration. In a world where the price of everything keeps going up, the fireworks are something that families can do for free.”
Amy Kule, executive producer of the event for Macy’s, promised that this year’s show would be bigger and better than ever. “It’s not just more barges,” she told the crowd of reporters and officials on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a prime fireworks viewing location. In honor of the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, “We’re having three large barges in the water – and the fourth will be the Brooklyn Bridge. It will be a really extraordinary show, one worthy of New York City,” she said.
She warned, however, that the change would not be permanent. “The fireworks are nomadic in nature,” she said.
De Blasio thanked officials “who were part of this effort the last few years – state Senator Dan Squadron, Councilmember Steve Levin, and of course, our former Borough President Marty Markowitz. I want to thank them all for having put their hearts into this issue.”
Markowitz said to the Mayor, “What a difference an election year makes! When it was first announced it was going to go to the other side, we advocated very strongly. And I know that with your election and leadership of this entire city, this has become the dream.”
Now V.P. at NYC & Company, Markowitz urged tourists to book their hotel rooms early and “spend, spend, spend!”
Sen. Squadron gave kudos to Mayor de Blasio. “The truth is, this is something that the mayor cared a lot about as public advocate. He made it a big issue.”
He added, “You know, the big loser today is New Jersey. And I want to say to New Jersey, we hope you have a wonderful July 4, and we hope you enjoy your fireworks shows. But now three or even four boroughs – I think that from Staten Island you’ll be able to see some of this show – will be able to enjoy this.”
Officials played up the economic benefit to businesses in Brooklyn and Queens. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez said “three million people will be coming here to look at this majestic celebration,” and that small businesses would benefit.
Brooklyn BP Eric Adams, reminiscing on the days when “we had a celebration here on the Promenade, and how we used to spend the day shopping and sitting in our lawn chairs,” said moving the fireworks was a “smart economic decision that Borough Hall has long pursued, one that will stimulate businesses on our waterfront.”
“I’m ecstatic!” said a woman who lives upstate but works in Brooklyn. She said that she would be gathering with friends this year to watch the display. “This is a big friggin’ deal,” she said.
Others attending the press conference included Queens BP Melinda Katz, state Senator Marty Golden, Assemblymember Felix Ortiz, Councilmember Van Bramer, Councilmember Constantinides, and Councilmember Gentile.