BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — Elected officials blasted a decision not to hold the annual Fourth of July fireworks display over the East River, calling on Macy's to light up the sky for residents of Brooklyn and Queens.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and state Sen. Daniel Squadron gathered to press the retail giant for the change, after the display switched rivers three years ago.
In 2009 Macy's decided to pull the fireworks from barges on the East River, where it had taken place for the last 30 years, and move the show to the Hudson River, according to Amy Spitalnick, Squadron's communications director. The Hudson River location was reportedly supposed to last only a year, in honor of Henry Hudson's 1609 discovery of Manhattan Island in 1609.
"What we were all told was a one-year hiatus on the Hudson has now become the norm — leaving more than half the city out of the July 4th celebration," de Blasio said in a press release. "We look forward to sitting down with Macy's to find a way to bring the show back to the East River, where more New Yorkers can be a part of it."
One Brooklyn Heights resident was excited at the prospect of fireworks returning to the East River.
Before the move in 2009, Nathan Ward hosted rooftop parties and invited friends to watch the show, and his children, ages 13 and 10, got used to the elaborate display.
"Now they have to watch it on TV," Ward said.
But some locals wouldn't be quite so happy with the firework’s potential return.
"We used to get a lot of complaints about too many people trampling through the neighborhood on the Fourth of July," said Irene Janner, office manager of the Brooklyn Heights Association. "Some people couldn’t reach their homes because streets would be closed off."
All the same, each year around July 4 there are a few dozen calls to Squadron's office asking if there will be fireworks on the East River. This past March there was a "striking outpour of concerns from local residents via Facebook, Twitter, emails, and phone calls wanting the fireworks returned to their rightful place," he explained.
In the next couple of days, de Blasio and Squadron will sit down with Macy's to discuss moving the fireworks back to the East River or, at the very least, alternating between the two locations.
"We have not determined where the fireworks show of 2013 will take place," said Orlando Veras, media relations manager for Macy’s, adding that there are many factors to consider, including the size of the show, costs and finding space that can accommodate 2 to 3 million viewers.
"But we are always willing to partner with city officials to bring the display to the city and to the nation."
Squadron remains hopeful that Brooklyn and Queens will once again be able to see the show from their homes.
"If you live in New Jersey, enjoy the fireworks this year," he said. "Because next year they will be back on the East River."