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Macy's 4th of July fireworks dazzle skies and spectators along East River

Spectators take in Macy's 4th of July fireworks over East River
Spectators take in Macy's 4th of July fireworks over East River 02:27

NEW YORK -- The Macy's Fourth of July fireworks display lit up the night sky over New York City, and the eyes of those watching. 

"It was amazing, it was so cool," Levittown resident Casey Markle told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis. 

"I usually just watch it on TV or watch my neighborhood fireworks, so it was nice being here," Levittown resident Miley Silver added. 

"The show was amazing," said Levittown resident Ryan Markle.

Patriotism was on full display as people packed the piers and sidewalks of Long Island City to get as close to the action as possible. 

"It was great. I was right there, right on the gate. It was beautiful," East Flatbush resident Justin Gomez said. "It was so exciting, sometimes even when it gets big, I was getting emotional."

"I guess they made up for the last two years. It was really great," said Queens resident Abir Bheyyan.

"It was amazing. This was a once in a lifetime experience for me, and I totally loved it," Jersey City resident Nitika Kanwar added.

Executive Producer Will Cross said five barges spanning from East 23rd to 42nd streets on the East River launched about 50,000 shells and effects. New shapes included a tall hat and blinking smiling faces. 

"This year, we spent a lot of time focusing in on the opportunity to get back together, share an experience with friends and family," Cross said. "We had a difficult few years. So this is our opportunity to celebrate what we do best."

Security was also top of mind, especially in light of the latest mass shooting during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois. 

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said there were no specific and credible threats to the city's celebrations, but police took steps with law enforcement partners to ensure everyone's safety 

From the sky, to the water, streets and even rooftops, the NYPD watched over the many marveling at the fireworks. Along with a visible presence, officers not in uniform mixed in with the crowds.

The dazzling display could be seen from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Scoring seats along the East River meant getting out early. 

"It's our first experience, so we try to get the best seats," said Geraldine Bonilla, a Piscataway, New Jersey resident. 

"We got here about 10:30 today. We figured it'd be a pretty nice day," said Shayla Veasley, a Harlem resident. 

"We've been to see the ball drop and the Thanksgiving Day parade. So it's a thing to always get a good spot to get the best view in," said Camy Santacruz, a Teaneck, New Jersey resident. 

Many said it was worth it to be able to finally celebrate with a sense of normalcy. 

"COVID was crazy. So family is very important to us, so these activities are things that we do together as a family, that we enjoy. Spend the whole day together as well, so we're in good company, so we don't mind waiting for a good spectacle," Santacruz said. 

MORE: Where to watch fireworks, street closures and more

"A surreal experience probably, just seeing the fireworks for the first time in person," said Gracie Thomas, from Texas. 

"Seeing fireworks over water, I've never seen that before. So I'm excited," said Kendra Copenhaver, from Texas. 

It's an annual tradition for the Alvarenga family from Central Islip. 

"Mostly for my little sisters. They like watching the fireworks. I like them as well, the fast ones, the explosive ones," Davis Alvarenga said. 

Organizers say they will be taking Tuesday off, but come Wednesday, they'll be gearing up for next year. 

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