I just got home from seeing the Macy’s fireworks display for the 4th of July. My roommate and I found the perfect vantage point near the end of the South Street Seaport. It was an awesome spectacle witnessed by thousands of New Yorkers crowded around the East River.
Few things in this world make me as sublimely happy as watching fireworks light up the sky. Something about the brilliant colors, the cacophony of explosions, and the crescendoing music combine to reach that place of child-like wonder in me.
There is something quintessentially American about fireworks
displays. They are an egalitarian form of entertainment, one that is
available to all without distinction by class or wealth. At the same
time, they are very expensive to put on, a very public expression of
wealth and power. Fireworks, at least as practiced in this country, are
about sound and fury, shock and awe, violence and bombast.
That said, I know that we are far from the world’s greatest pyrotechnic artists. China of course has been practicing the art longer
than anyone. Japan has a rich tradition of fireworks displays, with
hours long exhibitions occuring in prefectures on a regular basis.
France practices a more refined and subtle version of fireworks, while
Mexico excels as ramping up the noise and danger to ludicrous
Someday, I would love to take the month of July off and go to Quebec, Canada for their annual "L’International des Feux Loto-Québec," where teams of pyrotechnic artists from different countries compete for the "Jupiter Trophies." But for now, I’m happy with the annual pomp and circumstance of fireworks American-style.