The fireworks were launched from five barges in the East River starting at 9:25 p.m. on July 4.
Simultaneously, there were fireworks shot off of the Empire State Building from the 72nd, 86th and 103rd floors.
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"It's really good to see the city come back to life again, and to be able to be here and experience it is awesome," spectator Hannah Wilson said.
Crowds came out early to secure a good spot, with some lining up for hours.
The five barges lined the East River and fired off the 65,000 shells and special effects. And the best part was that this year's spectators watched it in person.
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"We've all come so close together, struggling and then preserving through this pandemic," 11-year-old Kevin Dutta said. "And then being able to live the best way we can through this."
The tables at Piatto Restaurant were busy.
"This is amazing energy," owner Giancarlo Piatto said. "It's amazing. New York opening up and seeing all these wonderful people. The officers keeping this in order."
Security was tight, with the K-9 units and bomb squad out in full force, their presence was welcomed. A city that was once the epicenter of the pandemic is now at the brink of true freedom and normalcy.
"It's a sign of growth, change, happiness," one reveler said. "Being sheltered for a year and being open again now, it's promising, it's encouraging."
The fireworks show went off without incident, and the celebrating continues Monday at city parks with picnics and parties. There will also be parades around the city before everyone heads home from the holiday weekend.
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