Image via Wiki Commons
For the first time in five years, Macy’s has moved its July 4th fireworks display to the Brooklyn Bridge, along with four barges that will launch pyrotechnics off the shore of the South Street Seaport’s Pier 17. The Pier, recently redeveloped by the Howard Hughes Corporation and designed by SHoP Architects, consists of food and drink options, retail, and a rooftop entertainment complex, all of which is supposed to be publicly accessible during operating hours according to a deal with the city. However, as Gothamist first reported, the only ways to check out the fireworks from Piers 16 and 17 are to drop $500 on a ticket to a party at Jean Georges’ restaurant The Fulton, be cool enough to land on the VIP list for a party atop Pier 17, or have scored one of just 300 community spots on the Seaport’s Wavertree ship (registration closed today at noon).
In the original deal that Howard Hughes inked with the city, it was stated that the 83,000-square-foot rooftop could be closed off for private/special events, but that a minimum of 10,000 square feet of space must still remain “open to the public without charge or fee at all times when the building is open…and will not be subject to closure for [private events].” The developer decided to rent out the Wavertree for members of the community after receiving backlash from the local media (namely Gothamist’s original article) and politicians such as Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer.
“I spent a lot of time as Borough President on the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure for Pier 17, and I have a task force on the South Street Seaport area, so I happen to know that under the restrictive declaration, that 10,000 square feet on the pier is supposed to be for the public. So that upsets me that there’s only 300 free tickets for the public and yet there’s 10,000 square feet of closed public space. Doesn’t seem to me like a fair trade off,” Brewer told Gothamist. She also added that the developer could have held a lottery for tickets to view the fireworks from that 10,000 square feet, much like Central Park does for its space-prohibitive events.
A spokesperson for the Howard Hughes Corporation told Gothamist that they are not controlling access to Pier 17 during the event, but rather Macy’s is. They’ve also made an agreement with NBC to film the fireworks from the rooftop. In addition, the developer said that the NYPD and Coast Guard are in charge of the area east of South Street as a matter of public safety.
In response, Councilmember Margaret Chin told Gothamist, “NBC, the Howard Hughes Corporation and the Administration knew well ahead of time of the safety precautions they needed to follow to justify closing public access to piers from the Maritime Building all the way to Pier 35, yet no one from the community—including my office—received notification until it was too late.”
But fear not, there are plenty of other spots to watch the fireworks in NYC.
- MAP: Where to watch the 2019 4th of July fireworks
- Macy’s moves July 4th fireworks to Brooklyn Bridge
- Macy’s fireworks by the numbers: The tricks and stats behind the nation’s largest 4th of July show
Tags : 4th of July
Neighborhoods : South Street Seaport