Did you see the fireworks?

Crowd of 50,000 gathers to watch July 4 event

Everyone was talking about it. The Fourth of July fireworks on the Hudson River attracted more than 50,000 spectators, according to Director of Public Safety Jeff Welz. For the past nine years, the Macy’s fireworks had been displayed over the East River, but this year – in honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage – it was the Hudson River’s turn.

Red, purple, and green

The fireworks began around 9:30 p.m. and exploded over the waterfront in the form of images such as boxes, happy faces, and comets.


“It was an extremely successful day.” – Mayor Richard Turner

People lined Boulevard East, the Lincoln Harbor area, and other swaths of waterfront.
At the end of the night, Mayor Richard Turner was pleased that with such a large crowd of spectators, not a single major incident occurred.
“It was an extremely successful day, and to have not a single incident of an accident or any mischief is a credit to all the public safety agencies that coordinated the emergency response and coordinated the public’s safety so well,” said Mayor Richard Turner. “I also want to thank the Department of Public Works.”
Turner added, “They did a wonderful job in securing the parks, closing the roads, and the clean up. By midnight you would not know anybody was on Boulevard East. DPW worked for days in advance. They worked all day on Friday, which was a holiday, then on Saturday.”
A few minor incidents did occur, including a woman on Boulevard East who had a heart condition and momentarily felt ill. She was treated at the scene and refused to be taken to a hospital, according to Gerry Drasheff, Deputy Coordinator of the Hudson County of Emergency Management.
One of the fireworks barges caught fire shortly after the show, but was quickly put out by a North Hudson fireboat with assistance from Edgewater and a New York City fireboat, said Welz. Nobody was injured. The barge that caught fire was completely empty of people. The fire was put out within 15 minutes and the barge was returned to Staten Island.

Coordination between agencies

“Macy’s announced back in the middle of May that they were moving the fireworks back to the Hudson River,” said Welz. “This one was a little different because barges were condensed to a smaller area of the Hudson River.”
Several major agencies came together to protect the local waterfront area, according to public safety officials. This included Hudson County’s Office of Emergency Management, FBI, EMS, state and local police, and even corrections officers, dressed in military-like attire, who were well versed in crowd control.
A command post was established at the Elks Lodge by 50th street and Boulevard East.
The Hudson County Office of Emergency Management had a communications trailer that enabled the office to communicate with every police and emergency department in the area.
“It’s one control point where you can monitor everything that is going on,” said Drasheff. “In this business, you hope for the best and prepare for the worst. We had more than enough resources than we needed, and it just turned out to be a wonderful night.”
“I was amazed at the amount of families that made it a picnic,” said Welz. “By the cheers I heard on the Boulevard, it didn’t disappoint.”
Melissa Rappaport may be reached at mrappaport@hudsonreporter.com

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