July 11, 2009
Unlike last year, this 4th July I found myself staying in Manhattan for the weekend and decided to make an effort to go along and watch the annual firework display. Usually, these are held over the East River. This year, however, officially marks the 400th year anniversary of Dutch explorer Henry Hudson's sailing up the river west of Manhattan, thereafter known, of course, as The Hudson, and so in a depature from tradition and in honour of this celebration the Macy's Fireworks were launched on the west side of the city this year.
Fireworks are fireworks. Seen 'em once, seem 'em all really, and this firework sequence was nothing special to write home about I have to say, but it definitely was enjoyable to make the trek across 42nd street with the hoards of other revellers. Anyone who hadn't left the city for the Hamptons that weekend seemed to be gathering for the fireworks, armed with deckchairs, food supplies, cameras and more patience than you will find the average New Yorker possessing. In order to secure a "good spot", crowds began moving en masse at around 7:00pm, a good 2 and 1/2 hours before the event was to kick off. I was among them.
On reaching Pier 81 on west 42nd street, there were a lot of cops patrolling the area, and even at that stage, barriers had been closed off to 12th ave. Using my NYIP press pass, I managed to wangle my way through to the pier area itself which put me in a good position to get some shots of the event and settled down to wait for darkness to fall.
After weeks of unseasonable rain here in NYC, the weather on the evening of the 4th was just perfect, and as the sun set in a darkening sky, it threw flashes of, yellow, pink and orange across the heavens - Nature's own far more beautiful fireworks.
As the sky finally sank from blue into indigo, the first burst of colour exploded in the night sky over New Jersey to a chorus of "ohhhs" all around. I try to nurture the child within me whenever possible, and there is certainly something about looking at fireworks that brings out that feeling of wonderment that so often seems lost to time.
I got as many firework shots as I could, although even from the pier I had some trees blocking the view in certain places. I left the camera out of focus for one or two shots to try and capture colours blurring together, like this one:
Within 40 mins it was all over and the huge crowd began to move again back towards the city and to whatever 4th July celebrations awaited them.