BY GABRIELLE GUZ
Raise a glass to pomp and parade, games, bells, fireworks and freedom.
On America’s 243rd birthday, the night sky was red, white and blue in Coney Island. For the thousands of spectators, it was a dazzling sight.
Thursday, July 4 marked the sixth annual free Steeplechase Spectacular Fireworks Show, organized by the Alliance for Coney Island, a not-for-profit organization that works to improve the iconic neighborhood.
Alexandra Silversmith, the executive director of the Alliance, said, “Unlike the majority of other options in New York City, Coney Island is the only place where you can spend the whole day with your family and celebrate the Fourth of July. There’s food, there are rides and you can go to the beach.”
A host of events preceded the fireworks, including Nathan’s annual Hot Dog Eating Contest. This year, Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California and Miki Sudo of Las Vegas, Nevada won the competition again, Chestnut for the 12th time in 13 years and Sudo for the sixth year in a row. Later in the evening, attendees filled the stadium at MCU Park to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones compete against the Aberdeen IronBirds. The amusement areas and businesses were also open throughout the day.
At 9:50 p.m., spectators gathered on the Boardwalk to watch the fireworks.
”We’re happy to provide that free programing for a special night to remember,” said Silversmith.
Enza Naimo, one of the attendees and a resident of Brooklyn, relayed how fulfilling it was to be at Coney with her family, celebrating the nation amidst a diverse crowd.
“I was able to experience what it’s all really about,” Naimo said. “Different groups of people celebrated by playing their music, dancing and eating. They were having fun.”
Aside from the Fourth of July festivities, the Alliance also sponsors fireworks every Friday during the summer, between West 10th and West 15th Street, beginning at 9:30 p.m.