Photos: Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks display lights up New York City

Happy Birthday America!

NYC July 4th 2011

New Yorkers celebrated Independence Day 2011 with an annual tradition: Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. The nation’s biggest fireworks display featured more than 40,000 fireworks launched from six barges on the Hudson River.

Starting at 9:20 pm, an array of red, white and blue fireworks in creative arrangements (3D cubes, smiley faces) lit up the Manhattan skyline. Thousands of people flocked to the West Side to experience the show in person.

I bypassed the crowds by standing near 12th Street, below the recommended viewing area (between 22nd and 59th Streets). I didn’t spend a dime and had an excellent view of the fireworks.

>> Scroll down for photos of the 2011 Macy’s Fireworks display.

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The fireworks display began after nightfall, and followed a particularly vivid sunset in Manhattan.

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Police prevented pedestrians from crossing into Hudson River Park outside of the designated viewing areas, so New Yorkers stood on the east side of the highway to watch the fireworks.

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While we couldn’t hear the soundtrack from our vantage point near 12th Street, we had a clear view of the fireworks from all six barges. (When I got back to my apartment, I watched NBC’s coverage of the fireworks so I could hear the music).

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The pink fireworks popped against the black sky.

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This is the third year the fireworks display was held on the Hudson River. Formerly the show took place on the other side of Manhattan, on the East River.

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Camera phones were out in force, especially during the show’s finale.

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There was no lull during the 25 minute show; still, it ended with a bang. A series of massive fireworks blanketed the sky and left dusty clouds in their wake.

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Traffic on the West Side Highway continued to flow during the display– although the fireworks must have been distracting to drivers!

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Viewers clapped and cheered during several impressive fireworks sequences and whenever smiley faces appeared.

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The grand finale brought to mind the “rockets red glare” mentioned in the Star Spangled Banner.


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About Leslie Koch

I'm a New Yorker with a passion for travel and art. I founded after returning from a year-long backpacking trip around the world. Find me on Twitter at @leslietravel.