By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Last week’s holiday came at the end of a heatwave that threatened a downpour, but the occasional raindrops didn’t dampen the lively party at Waterside Plaza for the July 4th holiday last Wednesday.
As always, after the sunset, hundreds if not thousands of people headed outside for a front-row seat to the Macy’s fireworks display.
In the hours leading up to the show, residents as well as local elected officials shared hot dogs and hamburgers on the plaza. Local politicians in attendance were reflective on the American experience, particularly of immigrants, because of the recent changes in immigration policy that resulted in children being separated from their parents at the country’s southern border.
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said that she was in Lower Manhattan earlier in the day for a parade honoring the city’s immigrant population.
“It’s difficult having to reconcile what’s going on in the Washington with our history,” she said. “But I’m proud to be a New Yorker and will continue fighting for immigrants, who make our city and country so great.”
Peter Davis, general manager of Waterside Plaza, also noted that the holiday is a good time to acknowledge the community.
“We celebrate the diversity of our city and our country, and we need to make sure that we stick to those values,” he said.
Councilmember Keith Powers, celebrating his first July 4th as an elected official, said that the holiday is a good reminder for him of why he does public service and emphasizes the importance of work in the community.
Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, who attended the event with his wife and daughter, also said that the holiday was a good time to reflect on the values that the country was founded on.
“It’s all about where we’re from,” he said. “Revolution is part of our history. We need to speak up even if we’re challenging the powerful.”