NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Preparations are underway for the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, which is back on after being scaled back by the pandemic last year.

On Tuesday in Red Hook, Brooklyn, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge got a behind-the-scenes look at what’s to come.

It’s a big production, assembled on five barges, including one that is 500 feet long and launches thousands of pyrotechnics on the East River.

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A team of 50 pyro-technicians are in the process of assembling 65,000 fireworks at a secure location for the 45th annual Macy’s show, which organizers say is back and will be better than ever.

“It’s going to go from that red, white and blue to a cascade of silver with ruby centers. Then transition to a full golden mile,” said Gary Souza, the Spectacular’s vice president of pyrotechnics.

Souza has been working on the show for 38 years. He said the entire elaborate production takes 12 days to put together.

“All of the stars within the firework are placed strategically in a way that it’ll burst into that pattern. This particular pattern is called a ‘Maltese cross.’ Part of the show is a tribute to the American heroes. This is the symbol of the Fire Department,” Souza said.

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The 25-minute show, which starts at 9:25 p.m., will light up the New York City skyline. All the fireworks will be launched from the East River at Midtown.

This year’s theme highlights the bravery of first responders and health care heroes.

“We’ve all had a really complicated, complex year and we felt it appropriate to acknowledge that — to acknowledge the hero within and focus on the spirit and optimism,” said Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks.

And New Yorkers can’t wait to get back to their traditions.

“I love looking at the different patterns of the fireworks. It’s just very pretty,” one person said.

“Usually, maybe have like a root beer float, some ice cream, maybe like hotdogs, watch the 4th of July fireworks from the window, or on TV if it’s on the East Side,” said Ellen Toeroek of Chelsea.

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They said they are thrilled the city’s sights and lights have returned.

“Last year for July 4, I sat at my parents’ house in the middle of nowhere in Massachusetts, so this one will probably be a little bit more fun,” added Gabe Dorit Kendall of Chelsea.

“We paid our penance. Things are coming back. People deserve to get out and celebrate. With the Pride celebration last weekend, that was the biggest thing I’ve seen since pre-COVID. That was great to see,” Maxx Evans said.

If you plan to take in the festivities, organizers say there are plans for at least three and possibly six viewing points along the East River. Like in previous years, the event is overseen by the NYPD. No backpacks, lawn chairs or containers are permitted, but the crowds will be back in full force.

The locations of the viewing points will be announced in the coming days.

Natalie Duddridge