NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Macy’s lit up the sky Tuesday night with its 41st annual Fourth of July fireworks show.
The first shell was launched at 9:25 p.m. with Macy’s calling this year’s show the largest display in more than 10 years.
It was a 4th of July celebration not to be missed, as even the youngest couldn’t take their eyes of the sky with an explosion of colors lighting up the East River in a display that included shells and effects never seen before.
“It was spectacular. First time to see it so close, like the show was made for me,” Ola Shano of Astoria Queens told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
About 3 million people headed out to the shorelines, streets or rooftops to catch the show with views of the fireworks display available from any area in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn with a view of the sky over the East River.
Everyone had a favorite part.
“I really like the red and the green fireworks, also the purple too,” 7-year-old Nathaniel said.
Leroy Steese from California was fulfilling his bucket list dream to watch the Macy’s fireworks in New York. He lined up 6 hours before showtime to make sure he had the perfect view.
“Just one of those things, you retire and you have a bucket list and you want to do things that you can’t or could never do before,” he said, “We get to see it on TV in California, now I want to come here and do it in person.”
It was billed the biggest fireworks show in the country and the city wasn’t taking the title lightly.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, barricades were set up and police officers were in place hours ahead of time.
The NYPD said there were no credible threats against the event or the city, but police Commissioner James O’Neill still encourages everyone to be vigilant.
“If you ever see anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or doesn’t look right to you, you have to remain vigilant and you have to be aware,” O’Neill said. “If you see something, you need to call 911 or flag down a cop. Give us the chance to investigate.”
“All of our specialized commands will be out in force. That includes Critical Response Command,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Everyone will be on alert as a matter of course even though there are no specific threats we are dealing with.”
Thousands of police officers both seen and unseen lined the viewing area with spectators along the East River, along with explosive-detecting vapor wake dogs.
“There will be a good amount of officers in civilian clothes mingling in with the crowd to detect any suspicious activity or behavior. Something new this year — we will be utilizing over 100 blocker vehicles and almost twenty sand trucks. We are going to have heavy weapons teams at the venues in Manhattan and outer boroughs,” said NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez.
After seeing terror attacks overseas using vehicles as weapons, the city also deployed more than 100 blocker vehicles and 20 sand trucks.
After nearby streets were shut down, police also screened everyone entering the fireworks viewing areas.
“Around 6:30 p.m. we will allow spectators onto viewing area at FDR drive — no coolers, backpacks, no alcohol, no lawn chairs, no umbrellas, no large packages,” Gomez said. “You will be subject to bag checks to ensure your safety and safety of all spectators.”
Macy’s officials said spectators would not be disappointed with the lights in the sky as they showcase their biggest fireworks display in more than a decade – featuring never-before-seen shells and effects.
“We have over 23 different colors. We things like aqua and lemon, and these kind of colors that don’t really – they’re not the first thing you think about when you think of the Fourth of July and fireworks, but they really complement the show,” said Susan Tercero, Group Vice President for Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks.
“This year, we’ve got a burst – it’ll come out in the shape of a peony in an aqua color, and then all of a sudden, we’re going to see this happy face pop out of it,” said show designer Gary Souza.
There were also several places to watch fireworks on Long Island Tuesday night including Jones Beach
In Jersey City, fireworks were moved from their usual location at Liberty State Park to Exchange Place on the waterfront – even though the state park was reopened with the end of a New Jersey government shutdown.