Fireworks are for closers—you know, successful Americans who through hard work or inheritance deserve a better view of a celebration of the foundation of an egalitarian society than others. This is why the Friends of the Hudson River Park are charging $200 a ticket (just $100 for kids!) for "Front Row" seats on Pier 84 during this year's display.
“This is a very, very small amount of the whole, so this should not prevent anyone from being able to watch the fireworks," Madelyn Wils, the president and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust tells the Times. Indeed, you won't notice the "family entertainment, music, food, and beverages" that the ticketholders will enjoy, if you stare at the ground, away from the fireworks. If you don't see it, it's not happening!
And the Hudson River Park needs the cash: the money the park receives from the city and state has dropped from $42 million to $7 million in recent years. “There are a lot of people who use the park, so we are basically introducing the idea that if you love the park the way the park loves you, then help support the park," Wils says. "It’s not a new idea, but it’s new for us.” Precisely. This dates back to Thomas Jefferson out-bidding everyone else to write the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln winning a silent auction for a chance to emancipate the slaves, the huddled masses paying bribes to leave Ellis Island [pdf] and Neil Armstrong donating Marilyn Monroe's time to the president for a first crack at the moon.
“Any time you section off or privatize or limit access to the general public, it’s against the grain of what a public park is supposed to be,” City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito gripes. Oh, relax. There will be plenty of spaces to stretch out on the soft, grey pavement of the West Side Highway, where police will direct the "throngs" of people to sit. Or you can always check out these sweet "digital fireworks" in Times Square, which are free if you can escape the skeletal remains of Francis Scott Key, who will be personally murdering anyone who looks at them.