It could be an explosive Independence Day for businesses around the Long Island City waterfront.
The location change is expected to benefit restaurants, bars and other establishments along the river that previously saw increased traffic during the festivities.
“It was actually an emptiness that the East River had. It was basically a tradition we had lost for five years,” said Tony Raouf, owner of Riverview Restaurant & Lounge.
Located close to Gantry Plaza State Park, a popular fireworks viewing spot in years past, Riverview is planning on having a celebration with a band this year.
Waterfront Crab House, another Long Island City eatery near the East River, on Borden Avenue, used to close the street down during the holiday and hold a fundraiser for children’s cancer before the fireworks moved.
Parking changes and construction no longer make the closure possible, according to Barbara Heden, the restaurant’s manager.
“[This July Fourth] probably won’t be like it used to be, but will bring us business,” she said.
Heden expects business will quadruple compared to last year. She also said the newly-created Hunter’s Point South Park, which is located on Center Boulevard between 50th and 54th avenues and did not exist when the fireworks were formerly on the East River, will help bring in more crowds.
Z NYC Hotel, opened in 2011 at 43rd Avenue and 11th Street, is already developing special July Fourth events and programming for the holiday that it will be announcing soon, according to Lisa Gneo, director of sales and marketing.
“This will be a great opportunity for many businesses in Long Island City and another way to generate tremendous revenue for our hotel and the community,” she said.
The country’s largest pyrotechnic July Fourth display, the fireworks will be launched from the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time and from barges positioned on the lower East River.
Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s events, said at the announcement that the move to the East River is not permanent.
“I’m sure when there’s something else to celebrate — or a reason to move — we will look to do so,” she said.
But the mayor said he would do everything possible “to make [the East River location] as typical as possible — as frequent as possible.”