leisure 07.2.04


We started off the week with a little NY history, so we thought we'd end the week the same way…

New Yorkers' love for fireworks is nothing new. It goes back to colonial times when the new locals were clear about what they wanted from their parties: alcohol and plenty of it, anything that burned or exploded (meaning bonfires and fireworks), sweets and plenty of them, and, triumphantly combining all of these, desserts flambé.

One of the island's early parties was an annual ball in May in honor of King George I. The 1717 fete included a "…fine Bonfire and Fire-works, and Wine where His Majesty's Health, the Prince, Royal Family, Prince Fredrick, and a great many other Royal healths were toasted…"

For George Washington's inaugural, one account notes, "A display of fireworks at the Fort, under the superintendence of Major Bauman, lasted for two hours and included rockets, wheels, tourbillions, fountains, serpents, cascades, and many other pyrotechnic devices."

About two weeks later, there was another party in Washington's honor. The menu consisted of "cakes, oranges, apples, wine of all sorts, ice-creams, etc., and highly lighted up."

At a celebration in 1858, a fire broke out atop City Hall because the fireworks were set off from the roof. D'oh! As the Times noted, "The chances were as ten to one that after such a shower of fireworks as were let off upon the roof of the Hall, there would be some burning cinders or brands left on the roof or lodged among the woodwork of the cupola…When there shall be occasion for another grand pyrotechnic display, our City Fathers will probably choose some other spot for it, in one of the large open squares up town, where the dangers of a conflagrations will not be so imminent."

Find out where to see the Macy's fireworks here.
We'll be back on Tuesday. Have a happy 4th!

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