I am writing on July 5, but am still thinking about July 4.
July 4 is our national holiday, and it is a day on which we celebrate our independence. There are speeches, songs, parades, visits to beaches and shopping. Most employed people have the day off. Some folks have employment that helps others in their celebrations and those folks work on July 4.
This year many people will celebrate their good fortune in being employed.
Yesterday was a day with glorious weather, a perfect day leading to a grand night for fireworks. Macy's, a huge New York department store, sponsors an annual fireworks display on the evening of July 4. Generally, these displays are launched from barges afloat in the East River, near the eastern tip of Manhattan.
Generally, since I live on the west side of the city, this means that it's way too much hassle to cross the island to watch the sky. I sometimes have watched the display on television.
This year was different. We are commemorating Henry Hudson, and the Hudson River, named for Mr. Hudson. This river is on the western edge of Manhattan, and very close to where I live. This year, Macy's decided to float its barges in the Hudson.
After supper last evening, I thought that I would not be lazily unobservant of the Hudson commemoration. I went to view the fireworks.
It was a quick walk over to the West Side highway, which had been closed to vehicular traffic. Hundreds, if not thousands of folks were already beginning to gather along the two north/south miles of the highway that had been touted as prime viewing locations.
The above photo shows a police vantage point that I passed by to reach the highway. Post 9/11, we often see such safety points. I heard fellow parade goers wondering if there were sharp-shooters within that perch. I just kept walking and thinking positive thoughts.
I thought I would take a few photos to show you the behemoth apartment buildings that entrepreneur Donald Trump has built within the past few years along the riverside.
The buildings are not architectural achievements, but they are very high-priced, and have blocked the river views of many people who have lived in my neighborhood for many years.
I continued to walk southward, and found that the crowds were not so dense as I might have expected. Perhaps the heavy crowding was focused in the mid-town areas. I was glad to not be too crowded. Lots of police men and women were stationed along the highway. Lots of family groups were gathered.
The sun began to set over the west side of the river. This photo shows the "New Jersey coast." It also shows how blurry my photos began to be. I did not put my glasses on, and just clicked away.
Finally, around 9:30, the show began. There were five barges that set off identical blasts. The choreography of the shapes, colors, designs and general ferocity of the fireworks was spectacular and often downright artistic.
At first I did not notice much noise or much gunpowder scent or smoke.
As the show progressed, the barges continued to fire off the jets of light that zoomed high into the air before creating their beautiful afterglow.
I began to realize that my camera technique was not quick enough to capture what I was seeing and so I tried to anticipate the next stage of a particular burst. Sometimes I was more successful than other times!
It was amusing to hear the loud ooohs and ahhhhs of the sophisticated New Yorkers gathered on the highway. We can be very innocent in our reactions to unexpected delights.
I like the above picture even with the shakiness of the focus.
After a while, I just put my camera away, so that I could really enjoy the panorama in front of me. The show ended with a truly spectacularly loud and flashy burst of multi-color abstraction.
And then the sky was quiet. We all strolled back along the route we had taken to see the show.
I was home in no time, having seen some wonderful city views.