After Macy’s announced yesterday that their annual July 4th Fireworks display in NYC would go on despite the pandemic, headlined by John Legend, Mayor de Blasio said in his press conference today that the show will take on a new life this year. There will be five-minute “brief but mighty” bursts of fireworks throughout the five boroughs from June 29th through July 1st, culminating in a finale on Saturday, July 4th, which will be televised from the top of the Empire State Building. On their website, Macy’s says they “expect to announce details of the reimagined event soon.”
Macy’s spends about $6 million each July 4th on its annual fireworks display, but this year, the company furloughed most of its 125,000 employees amid the coronavirus crisis. When it comes to local finances, the city is projecting a $7.4 billion loss in tax revenue for fiscal years 2020-2021. But despite this, Mayor de Blasio said all the way back in April that the Fourth of July festivities will still take place. “One way or another, the show will go on,” he said, just days after cancelling all public events through June.
De Blasio said previously that the July 4th celebration is important to show people “how much we love our country, how much we want to celebrate everything great about this city and this nation.” But he immediately faced a backlash on Twitter, with critics suggesting that Macy’s donate the money instead to relief causes in NYC. Plus, there are the city funds that would be required for police presence and logistics. (The mayor faced similar criticism when he announced that there will be a ticker-tape parade for health care workers and first responders once the crisis is over.)
In his press conference today, however, Mayor de Blasio said, “This year is going to be different… It will not be like the past where there’s one big giant show. We do not want a lot of people out watching. There’s not going to be a single focal point. In fact, we’re only going to let out information about specific points very close to the actual moment when these shows happen.” He explained that the shows will be only five minutes because the goal is to get them all around the city so New Yorkers can see them from their own homes, rooftops, or nearby parks, rather than a single location where they gather in large groups. The televised event on July 4th will take footage from these three nights of fireworks and put it together with live musical and cultural performances.
For their part, Macy’s says on their fireworks event page: “Together, we celebrate the strength of the American spirit in New York City and across the country.” The only information under the “how to watch” section is the television info (you can watch on NBC on Saturday, July 4, from 8-10pm). Usually, Macy’s releases a map of NYC locations where people can watch in-person, but it’s still unclear if this will be permitted by the city in any capacity.
John Legend will headline the event, “featured on a new arrangement of America the Beautiful set to a golden mile of fireworks.” Macy’s will salute frontline workers through additional programming that includes Mayo Clinic surgeon Dr. Elvis (Lean on Me) and Alicia Keys (Good Job). “The Young People’s Chorus of NYC will virtually record and offer featured vocals for America the Beautiful and Lean On Me.”
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on April 22, 2020, and has been updated with new information.
- When NYC reopens, there will be a ticker-tape parade for health care workers and first responders
- NYC cancels Pride March, Puerto Rican Day Parade along with all June gatherings
- Macy’s fireworks by the numbers: The tricks and stats behind the nation’s largest 4th of July show