The battle to bring back the fireworks to the East River

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LONG ISLAND CITY (PIX11) – “This the first time we’ve ever watched them from Hoboken which is best place to watch them,” said Anthony Armenio who planned to watch the fireworks show from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Since the MACY’S Fourth of July celebration is on the Hudson River, and has been for the past 5 years, Hoboken, New Jersey provides a perfect place to bask in the glow of the phenomenal fireworks show.

That is why business is booming here on the other side of the Hudson.

But it’s a stark contrast on New York’s other waterway, The East River, where the fireworks used to be held for years.

“They [New Jersey] are not part of New York, and it’s happening in new York,  so why do they get the benefit?” said Queens resident Irene Mercado who remembers when the fireworks were on this side and her favorite restaurant the of Long Island City was hopping.

“There was a deejay, kids were running around.  The families were here. People out till 2 in the morning. It was a celebration as it should be, but now, its not.  Just a regular dead neighborhood,” she said.

Crabhouse Owner Tony Mazzarella can attest to that.  The Fourth of July used to be his busiest day of the year. “This whole particular area was inundated with people, it was wonderful,” said Mazzarella.

That’s why some local politicians, like Bill deBlasio, made a big push to get Mayor Bloomberg to bring back the fireworks to the East River this year, so Brooklyn and Queens residents could join in on the celebration from their own boroughs.

“You’re talking about 4.5 million people a year could see those fireworks,” said deBlasio, who is running for New York City mayor.

MACYs was willing to do a smaller show on the East River as well but Bloomberg turned it down, saying the “cash-strapped NYPD” could not afford the extra security for simultaneous shows on both rivers.

While people in Jersey may not want the show to switch back to the East River for good, they seem willing to compromise.

“They do what 3 barges of fireworks on this river? Why not do one or two and another one on the other side?” asked Bill Grinstead of Hoboken.

Grinstead and his Hoboken friends said they also like the idea of alternating years, between the two rivers.

So does longtime Long Island City business owner, Mazzarella who said, “Alternate. Give everybody a shot. Don’t just put it in one place.  Make everybody happy, especially the kids, they love fireworks.”


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