NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- For anyone who thinks the 35th annual Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks show will be nothing more than a barge and few barrels of gunpowder, one fireworks designer says you couldn't be more wrong.
The spectacular, billed as the nation's largest, gets underway at 9:20 p.m. this evening - the result of nearly two weeks of meticulous, non-stop preparation.
WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reports: More People Will Have A Better View Of The Fireworks
"Setting up the Macy's show takes me five different computer programs to get to the point where we're ready to fire the show," explained Gary Souza, Vice President of Pyro Spectaculars By Souza. "Because we have to test the fireworks. We test them, we time them. How long does it take them to get up into sky? How long do they stay in the sky?"
Technicians have been hard at work for almost two weeks making sure all 40,000 digitally-assigned fireworks fire on queue.
The 25-minute display, the largest of its kind in the country, begins at 9:20 p.m. Around 3 million spectators are expected.
"I'm expecting a lot of fun," tourist Kevin Nuhlbacher told CBS 2's Jay Dow. It will be his first time watching fireworks in America. "Probably a lot bigger than in Europe I guess, or in Austria actually."
"Three million people are estimated to see this show live in New York City. It's an amazing number," said Amy Kule, executive producer of the show.
Producers said when they moved from the East to the Hudson River, the extra space allowed them to double the size of the show.
The best viewing spots will be found on 12th Avenue below 59th Street and at the following access points along 11th Avenue: 24th Street, 26th to 30th Streets, 34th Street, 40th to 44th Streets, 47th to 52nd Streets, and 54th to 57th Streets.
Kule said the meticulous preparations pay off every year, and ultimately result in a better show for everyone.
"When the show is going off, you're thinking about just anything that you could have done differently, and you're making those mental notes," she said.
Of course, with fireworks that shoot a thousand feet into the air, watching the show from an elevated position, will have its perks.
"It's too many people. There's too many people. Like too many," said Amy Digi of the Bronx. "I'm going to be on a roof on 45th Street."
There will also be two aviation flyovers before the fireworks. Four F-15 Eagles will fly over the Hudson River from the Verrazano Bridge to Pier 86 starting at 7pm.
Just a reminder: you can listen to the fireworks simulcast right here at CBSNewYork.com later tonight, or on 1010 WINS on the radio.
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