June 1, 2016 By Christian Murray
The July 4th fireworks are returning to the Long Island City waterfront again this year and police are already putting a strategy in place to deal with the tens of thousands of spectators expected.
Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108 police precinct, said that he anticipates a bigger crowd than the 50,000 people who showed up last year.
“I predict more people this year, as more people know that it’s returned to the East River,” he said.
The Macy’s fireworks were recently brought back to the East River after moving to the Hudson River in 2009.
Travaglia said the precinct will be deploying many of the same crowd control strategies as last year.
He said the police will cordon off much of the Hunters Point area for the event from 10 p.m., July 3. All vehicles will be required to move out of the neighborhood between Newtown Creek and 44th Drive and from 11th Street to the East River. He expects everything to be restored by midnight on July 4.
Travaglia said that he has been told that Hunters Point South Park will be closed off again this year, although he has not received final word.
Hunters Point South Park is expected to be used as a staging area by Macy’s, and spectators are likely to have to go to Gantry Plaza State Park for viewing.
A large police presence will be at the event, including a counter-terrorism unit.
Last year, the fireworks went smoothly for the police. The only incident that took place was someone flying a recreational drone.
“I’m thrilled that the 4th of July fireworks will once again be displayed over the East River, and that communities along the Western Queens waterfront will be able to watch this incredible show,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “I’m confident that the 108th precinct will once again do an excellent job of keeping everything safe and under control.”