Kevin — July 14, 2008, 11:42 pm

4th of July Fireworks

10 days late, but hey, better than never.

So for my first American independence day I decided to head to see the fireworks – apparently one of the biggest shows in the US! There was the threat of rain, which I thought might keep the mobs back a little, but New Yorkers seemed undaunted!

The “designated viewing area” was an elevated roadway along the East River called the FDR (it’s named after Roosevelt) which runs right along the East River’s edge. Seems like a good idea; everybody takes over the road, the police have one road to patrol – everything else is blocked off, making for a controlled mob of two or three million.

No, that part seemed OK – I mean, if everyone just stands there, everybody should be able to see. I mean, we all spent the better part of two hours staring at the river, and everybody could see it. See?

Well, the wheels started to fall off this plan when it started raining. New Yorkers LOVE umbrellas. Like, when it rains, we all know you can’t find a cab in New York (and it’s true). You CAN, however, find guys selling umbrellas for five bucks a pop – these guys, like, they must live in cars and when it starts raining, they just pop the trunk and lug a cardboard box under an awning and yell “umbrella umbrella umbrella!” for as long as it’s raining. And people run up in terror, amazed that the sky has opened, and fork out five bucks for a crap umbrella that they probably throw away in fifteen blocks.

So the long and the short of it is – there’s a SHITLOAD of umbrellas in New York. And when it started to rain? Guess what. POP goes the view.

See that one guy on the left? See how he’s higher than everyone else? I though it made for a nicely composed shot. I happily clicked away and thought nothing of it. You know why he’s tall? Because he’s STANDING ON THE MERIDIAN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. The one that NOBODY (besides him) was standing on before the fireworks started – but the one that EVERYBODY jumped up on as soon as they went off.

Where did these people learn their manners? Seriously? Three million people and within five seconds, 1.5 million of them just lost their views. Thanks, assholes.

American’s favorite fireworks and this is the view I got. Hear my displeasure while I point at the people who think nothing of screwing over 1.5 million of their neighbours. Hey folks, remember when we were all standing at the same level just 90 seconds ago? Remember how ALL of us could see since we’re high up? Remember that? No? Wow.

Oh, it gets better. People even HIGHER than me – NYPD’s finest thought they’d hover a hundred and fifty feet DIRECTLY OVER THE CROWD. I mean, come on, you’re in a HELICOPTER. Move it back a bit. Will you really get THAT much of a crappier view, say, 500 feet back from the massive mob of people that you’re currently deafening?

So for the most part I saw a load of umbrellas, listened to the roar of a Bell turbocharger, and when the occasional firework rose up above the idiot who refused to put down his umbrella (even though it stopped raining five minutes into the show) I got to see something. Like this.

Ah well, at least I could see the red, white and blue of the Empire State – they lit that up for the day, which looked nice. Like one of those Space Popsicles with the three flavors.

So afterwards I wandered over to Grand Central Station – they have this really neat bar there that looks down over the main concourse, and I had myself a delicious cocktail. Oh, and I snapped this shot of the Chrysler Building, which I thought looked pretty sharp all lit up in the rain. Well, it’d look a lot better if my camera wasn’t 6 years old, but you get the picture.

Next year, if I’m fortunate enough to still be in this great city, I’ll stand on the OTHER side of the FDR and perhaps bring a flare gun to give a subtile hint to any pilots who seem to forget their manners!

Thankfully, there’s Flickr – I just went home and typed “New York 2008 Fireworks July 4th” and presto, here’s the show that I somehow managed to miss! Looks lovely!

Next year!

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  1. Comment by BonzoGal @ July 16, 2008, 5:24 pm

    I apologize on behalf of all Americans. We do this all the dang time, I’m afraid. Try going to a parade sometime… it’s even worse. That’s why we all love TV so much.

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