Thursday, July 19, 2012
July 2012 NYC, NY (VI): 36th Annual Macy's July 4th Fireworks
(Images and video via NYCDreamin Archives)
After unsuccessfully attempting to secure a pair of tickets earlier in the day (for the second time in as many days! More on that fiasco later.) to the now infamous CBGB Festival Sick Of It All/ Cro-Mags/ Vision Of Disorder gig the following night at Webster Hall, the Gorgeous One and I picked up some snacks, a few large bottles of water and headed out during the height of the mid-late afternoon sunshine and took a walk over to 12th Avenue & West 29th Street to settle in and wait with the masses for the 36th Annual Macy's July 4th Fireworks display to begin.
The masses hadn't quite arrived yet - we were pretty early as usual. This was the view to the north-east at around 4:30pm. People were just beginning to filter in and grab a spot of pavement from which to view the festivities.
This enterprising young lady and an older guy who looked to be her Grandfather (above) worked their way through the crowd some time later. The creative and patriotic youngster was selling hand-made "July 4th Pinwheels" for $1.00each and people were buying them up quick. She had a polite, well rehearsed and to- the-point sales pitch which included the key information that "all proceeds go to wounded combat veterans."
A look to the north (above) at around 7:00pm revealed that the crowd was indeed growing exponentially in size by the minute. A look to the south (below) confirmed much the same. People were making themselves comfortable as one can be on a stretch of concrete that has been baking in the hot 95*+ sunshine all day. People slept, ate and drank, conversed, tossed footballs, texted friends and/or played games on their phones...anything they could do to pass the time. We just sat there, making conversation between the two of us and trying to take it all in.
Not sure what time it was, but as the sun was finally beginning to lose some of it's strength and all the gathered people were beginning to get a bit restless, a solitary, single-engine airplane flew over the Hudson and up the West Side and then back down to the south again. It was trailing a banner with a message both the Gorgeous One and I whole-heartedly approved of and we applauded as it passed by us - both times.
A bit later, as the sun began to dip mercifully below the horizon, the NYPD flew 7 of their cop-choppers in formation up the river as a few NYFD boats cruised up and down the river spraying red, white and blue jets of water - back into the river. And when those activities concluded, from previous experience we knew that the time left to wait was getting shorter and shorter.
A few minutes later we could see one of the four Macy's fireworks barges being pushed down the river and into position - pretty much directly in front of us.
People continued to pack into the viewing areas along 12th Avenue and by this time most everyone was already up and on their feet waiting.
After the sun set for the evening, just before 9:30pm, you could hear the "Whoooosh!" of the first of the 40,000+ mortar shells used for the Macy's 2012 NYC Fireworks spectacular lauching into the sky...and with that the show was finally underway...
Obviously, our video can't compare to what you watched on NBC-TV (if you watched the live broadcast, and really, if you were not in NYC why wouldn't you have tuned in? You know your city's fireworks can't compare!) but it was still kind of fun to shoot some video of the fireworks. I figured that way if the photos I was trying to take didn't work out we'd at least have some good video. The photos came out OK I guess - much better than my previous attempts to photograph fireworks. But since we were pretty much right under the one barge, that's all the angle I could get. It was an impossibilty for me to get the display from each of the 4 barges in a given shot. I wound up shooting about 30 photos - I won't bore you with them all here, but here are a few of the better ones.
If you want to see fancy 2012 NYC-skyline-with- 4th of July fireworks photos you can find a ton of them someplace else online I'd imagine - I haven't had time to look yet.
After about 35 minutes, feeling it was probably nearing the end of the display, I switched the camera back to video mode and filmed a bit more of the show...
...including a well-timed clip of the Grand Finale!
And then it was done. Immediately people began to pick up their belongings, leaving behind untold thousands of chip bags, sandwhich and candy wrappers, pizza boxes, pop cans and plastic water bottles. They began to slowly filter back East into the West Side neighborhoods and points beyond from whence they'd originated earlier in the day. Being that we were right down front it took us a few minutes before the crowd thinned out enough for us to begin our own walk back to our hotel. It's like that old saying, "First In, Last Out." It was slow going getting out of there, always is, but within 30-45 minutes or so we were back at the hotel, taking a much needed break from the heat and humidity, relaxingand freshening up a bit before heading back out to catch a late-nite bite to eat.
On our way back to the hotel I caught a glimpse of the Empire State Building from somewhere on West 26th Street. As it is every year, the top portion of the iconic building was all lit up in red, white and blue lights in celebration of the American Holiday that was now quickly coming to a close.
...more of our July 2012 NYC stories and photos to come!