This summer in New York City is going to be unmistakably different from every other summer in our lifetimes. Because of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, beaches and pools likely won't be open; movie theaters won't be bastions of free air conditioning; there will be no concerts in the parks, no block parties, street fairs, parades or any other events that could attract crowds to one location. But Mayor Bill de Blasio is vowing that one thing will remain the same, sort of: the annual Macy's Fourth Of July fireworks display is going to happen...even if we can't look at it directly and it becomes just a depressing reminder of how different things are this year.

"I started thinking, wait a minute, there's no day like the Fourth of July—it's special, and even if we have to do something different we have to mark it in a very meaningful way, especially at this moment," the mayor explained at a press conference Wednesday morning. He said he has been in contact with Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette, who he said was on board with making sure something happened.

"One way or another, the show will go on," de Blasio declared, calling the fireworks display a symbol of the city's strength and resilience. "One way or another, we're gonna celebrate the Fourth of July in a very special way in New York City. How we do them, where we do them, how we do it in a way that is safe and keeps NYers healthy, a lot of questions that we have to answer between now and then."

De Blasio then suggested that even if people can't gather outside to watch the fireworks, which they almost certainly won't be able to do with social distancing guidelines expected to continue through at least the first half of the summer, they would still be able to see them from their apartments, an experience no NYer I know has ever been able to pull off. "Thank God we know fireworks can be seen by NYers all over the city, even looking out their windows or from their fire escapes or from their roof," he said.

De Blasio also put a video out on Twitter, one of the social media platforms where you'll probably wind up watching five seconds of fireworks on your phone, explaining his intention to have the fireworks. This comes a day after he told reporters it was "hard to see" the annual tradition happening.

Later in the press conference, a question arose: considering that Macy's has already furloughed the majority of its 125,000 employees, the cost of putting on a fireworks display for both Macy's and the city, and the amount of security needed to mount such an event, was it really worth our time?

The mayor insisted it was, and that the cost for a single display like this is "pretty limited" in the grand scheme of things. He also promised to find both a safe and not costly way to mount it this year.

"I think it is right to say it is a sacred day each year," he said. "It's a very powerful day. It's part of our efforts to fight back, to recognize a day of this importance." And he added it was "really generous and patriotic of Macy's to say they planned on it and aren't gonna back off this commitment."

With the mayor having already cancelled all city-permitted parades and events for the months of May and June, he was also asked about whether other planning for this summer had started. What about cooling centers, people who don't have A.C. at home, and preparations for blackouts? He offered few details except to say that they had begun planning; the city is worried about people going to the beaches despite them being closed; and that they would announce a plan in the next few weeks.

Another topic he was more eager to get into was his plans for a ticker tape parade down the Canyon Of Heroes to celebrate health care workers and first responders, which wouldn't happen for a long time. "When that day comes, it will be indicative of the fact that we went not only out of wide-spread transmission, but into low-level transmission, and to a point where there are very few if any cases anymore. That's when I want us to be able to have that kind of true, big, public celebration, but not until it's ready."

[Update] Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), released a statement about the mayor's announcement on Wednesday: “Macy’s should not be spending millions on fireworks displays while its own workforce is out of work," he said. "They are putting New Yorkers at risk in order to create a nationally televised commercial for themselves, and using our city as a backdrop. If they really cared about New Yorkers, they would be spending that money on healthcare coverage for the hard-working employees that made them successful for decades."