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With the New York City skyline in the background fireworks explode during an Independence Day show over the East River in New York, in this Tuesday, July 4, 2017, file photo. After a year lost to the coronavirus, New York City's most well-known Fourth of July traditions are back. The traditional Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show will be back in full form with a display over the East River, with shells being shot from five barges in a televised, choregraphed spectacle. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File)
The Associated Press
Published: 04 July 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — After a year lost to the coronavirus, New York City's most well-known Fourth of July traditions are back.

The traditional Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show will be back in full form with a display over the East River, with shells being shot from five barges in a televised, choreographed spectacle.

This year, crowds will be welcome to gather.

Heatwave can be deadly

A Pacific Northwest heat wave has killed at least 95 people in Oregon alone, a number that state's governor called “absolutely unacceptable."

“Following events like this we always do reviews and see what we can do better next time,” Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said Sunday on “Face the Nation” on CBS.

Hundreds are believed to have died from the heat over the past week in the U.S. Northwest and southwestern Canada.

Records included 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) in Portland and 108 F (42 C) in Seattle. The hot weather was headed east, with temperatures well above 100 F (38 C) forecast Sunday for parts of Idaho and eastern Montana.

Government officials warned people about the heat, dispersed water to vulnerable people and set up cooling stations, Brown said.

“We still lost too many lives," Brown said.

Scientists consider the heat wave an ultra-rare event that's nonetheless consistent with the effects of human-caused climate change.

The show will be broadcast live on NBC as part of a two-hour special featuring the Black Pumas, Coldplay, OneRepublic and Reba McEntire. The performers' appearances were pre-recorded from around the country in front of live audiences.

Last year, because of pandemic restrictions, there were a series of shorter fireworks shows in the days leading up to the holiday, with the locations kept secret in advance to keep people from congregating.

The annual spectacle of gluttony that is the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest also once again welcomed live audiences to watch the epic chowdown in Brooklyn. Joey “Jaws” Chestnut topped his own record by downing 76 franks and buns in 10 minutes in the men's competition, while Michelle Lesco took the women’s title by eating 30 3/4 weiners and buns.

The event wasn't quite the same as usual. Instead of being at Surf and Stillwell avenues, just off the Coney Island boardwalk, this year's competition was held nearby in a minor league baseball stadium, Maimonides Park. Spectators were asked to register for free tickets in advance.

Last year, though, there were no spectators allowed as Chestnut ate a then-record 75 hot dogs and buns.

He said Sunday that hearing the fans again helped propel him to victory.

“They kept pushing me. They didn’t give up on me,” he said in an ESPN interview. “Even if I was uncomfortable, having everybody cheer me and push me, it made me feel good.”

Landmarks around the state, from the World Trade Center's centerpiece tower to Niagara Falls, were to be lighted in red, white and blue to mark Independence Day.

"If the last 16 months has reaffirmed anything, it’s how precious life is and how vital liberty is to our identity as New Yorkers and Americans,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

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