Macy’s markets America better than … well, than America does itself. At their Fourth of July party, fireworks exploding above us, we felt a soaring patriotism that left xenophobia, climate change denial and stalemate legislators far behind. We were among the million plus who had lined the East River to see it. Almost seven million watched the NBC telecast hosted by Willie Geist and Tamron Hall, featuring performances by Kenny Chesney, 5 Seconds of Summer, Meghan Trainor, Pitbull, DNCE and Sara Bareilles (who sang ‘What The Word Needs Now Is Love’ in tribute of the Orlando victims).
If Jennifer Holiday singing “America the Beautiful,” backed by the US Air Force Singing Sergeants didn’t make you glad to be an American, go hide in your backyard. After all, it’s a free country. The fireworks were free too. Macy’s gift.
This was the 40th year Macy’s has done it and the nation’s 240th birthday, and the biggest display since the millennium. Macy’s always comes up with something new. This year, there was an app to get your phone to change colors with the fireworks “pyro-writing” in the sky to spell out “U.S.A.” or “A.S.U.,” if you were watching from the other side, as Group Vice President, Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group Amy Kules likes to say. There also were emoji fireworks, “ghost shells,” silently lighting up in one color, then disappearing and coming back in another position and color.
The music included: “The Star Spangled Banner,” “The Stars & Stripes Forever,” “This Land is Your Land,” “Shenandoah,” “This is My Country,” “The Armed Services Medley,” “Where Eagles Fly” and “God Bless America.” During the display, a bell chimed 13 times to salute the 13 original colonies.
We nibbled on some of the pass arounds (hot dogs, veggie burgers and more) on the way to the photo booths, where we donned red, white and blue hats and baubles to commemorate. The dinner was pure Americana picnic fare, with a modern twist: rattlesnake ribs, barbecue chicken, country red potato salad, macaroni and cheese, red cabbage and apple coleslaw, kale, corn and heirloom tomato salads. Dessert included camp fire s’mores rolled in graham cracker and bacon crumbs and with drizzled caramel hot Mexican spiced chocolate, watermelon and pineapple. Our parting gifts: What else but small apple and cherry pies!
Come November, if the election disheartens you, reinvigorate your patriotic spirit at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!