FDR HIGHWAY, NEW YORK, NY- I am normally not a fan of Independence Day. America has done some pretty foolish things in other countries that I am not proud of. Most people do a barbecue, head to the beach or pool, or the New York City tradition of seeing the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks. This year my dad, sister, and I did just that.
Papi has been trying to see the firework’s show for years. He went once with my mother and I believe that was more than a decade ago (or two). Every year since I was a kid he had been dying to see them again, but some obstacle got in the way and we would end up watching it on TV. His determination paid off this year. Alondra and I were skeptical if this would be his year. I am happy to say it was.
We left my place around 6 p.m. Mami decided to stay at home since the walk would be a hassle for her. She also stayed to keep Shakira company since the noise from the fireworks freak her out. In my neighborhood its Fourth of July week. Papi, Alondra, and I walked to 161st and got on the 4 train. It had been a long while since Papi took the train since he drives to work. He does not like taking the MTA.
We got off at Grand Central. Alondra wanted to show Papi the Whispering Gallery in front of the Oyster Bar. For those of you not familiar with the Whispering Gallery, its a four corner archway that “telegraphs” your vocal message by talking into the corner. This has to be done diagonally. Papi found this really cool. We followed his directions to get to the FDR viewing spot. The NYPD directed us to enter through 47th street as their method of “crowd control.”
At the entrance to the FDR ramp, security was extra tight. Alonda and I had to open our backpacks for the NYPD to check them. We walked on the FDR to 42nd and found a great spot to see the fireworks. It was 7:20 p.m. so we had a lot of time to kill. While Alondra played “Zelda” on her Nintendo DS, my dad and I got to talk and listen to ESPN radio.
More than two hours later the FDR was full of people. Different nationalities come together to see this event. At 9:30 p.m. the fireworks started. I have seen them on TV, but experiencing it in person is really something else. Papi smiled and pointed out all the ones he liked. Alondra had headphones on since she hates the loud noise, but she still enjoyed the show. The sky was full of exploding colors and patterns. I love the ones that expanded out. Seeing my dad smile at something he really wanted to see was really worth it.
When the show ended we walked back to the 4 train to head home. I am really glad my dad got to see the fireworks. I know there are many family opportunities his dad could not give him, so he makes sure my sister and I have a great time with him. Little moments like that are worth more than any currency in the world. Happy Fourth of July everyone! Stay safe.
Photos by: Rosa Elena Oliveras
Video recorded and edited by: Rosa Elena Oliveras