America celebrated its 236th birthday this Fourth of July with plenty of excitement surrounding the big Macy’s fireworks spectacular.
“This extravaganza is just [exciting] and the colors and it’s beautiful,” one woman told WCBS 880′s Jim Smith. “It’s America and it’s our country.”
Some 40,000 aerial shells were launched from four barges on the Hudson River beginning at 9:25 p.m.
Some people even staked out places to watch the fireworks since mid-afternoon despite the heat and humidity. They said it was worth it to get those front-row spots.
Plenty of street closures were announced because of the fireworks spectacular.
Transit changes were in effect as well: NJ TRANSIT trains were operating on a weekend schedule, the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North were on a Sunday schedule and NYC Transit was running on a Saturday schedule.
There was extra service on the 1, A, C, E and L subway lines to help deal with the crowds heading to the fireworks show. Streets were shut down and not accessible along the river front in the towns of Cliffside Park, Edgewater, Fort Lee and North Bergen.
Designers of the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show spent two weeks prepping for the big night.
“Each shell has its own mortar placed on the barge, strategically located in order to burst in the sky to create some of the best effects across the sky to match the music,” fireworks designer Gary Suza.
The soundtrack that accompanied the fireworks was chosen in part by the public, who voted online for some of their favorite tunes. The playlist features songs by Taylor Swift, Lee Greenwood and Ray Charles.
The show, which was broadcast live on 1010 WINS, the official radio station of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, involved 20 roughly 70,000 pounds of explosions.
A new smartphone app brought New Yorkers up-to-the-minute content from the show.
It features transit and viewing information, details of the show including performers and hosts, weather forecasts and more. Download the app here
Barricades went up earlier Wednesday along the West Side and in Hoboken in preparation for huge crowds.
Police also warned motorists that holiday patrols were out in full force looking for drunken drivers.
“Don’t become a statistic,” Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke said. “Don’t become a casualty statistic, don’t become an arrest statistic.”
Groups of friends who spent hours waiting for the show to start told CBS 2′s Dave Carlin that it was well worth the wait.
“Being with my friends experiencing this with my friends, being in New York is great,” said Jordan Leigh of Bushwick.
Some viewers had earned special seats for the show, CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez spoke with wounded veterans who were enjoying the fireworks from the deck of the Intrepid.
“It was pretty spectacular, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mark Litynski.
Officials are also warning you not to put on a fireworks show of your own. Fireworks can explode too soon or too late, causing serious injuries. Fireworks are illegal to buy and possess in New York State.
Since July 1, the FDNY has made 19 arrests and seized $31,000 of illegal fireworks.
Click here for a video report.
Read more at WCBS 880 AM NEW YORK.