I was lucky enough to have a truly remarkable and unique experience. It happened on July 4, 1976. It was part of the huge Bicentennial celebration in New York City in honor of the 200th Birthday of the Declaration Of Independence. There were festivities all over the city for a whole week.
There was a parade of old-fashioned Tall Ships from all over that majestically sailed up the Hudson River. I only saw that on TV but it was an incredible sight. (I did get to see a few individual ships in the harbor as we drove into the city, but not the full parade).
The pièce de résistance of the celebration week was the fireworks display that was set to go off from the Statue of Liberty on the night of July 4.
At the time, my husband, Larry, worked at a law firm in New York City. The law firm scheduled a big office party on the night of the 4th of July. They booked the restaurant at the top of World Trade Center One, Windows On The World. The restaurant was on the 107th floor and had an unobstructed view of the Statue of Liberty, which was just a short distance out in the harbor.
When the time came for the fireworks, we all gathered around the floor to ceiling windows facing the Statue of Liberty. I’m short, so I was funneled to the very front of the crowd. There was absolutely nothing between me and the view outside.
The fireworks display was, appropriately extraordinary. It was so close I felt I could reach out and touch the bursts of light directly in front of me. It had an eerie quality because I was 107 floors up in the air. So the fireworks were not only nearby and coming right at me, they were coming right at me at eye level. They weren’t coming from above, as they usually are. They seemed to be aimed right at me. I even flinched at first, fearing that the window would be hit by stray sparks.
Once I relaxed, I sat back and enjoyed a truly awe-inspiring show. I’ve always loved fireworks. Unfortunately, no display since then could even come close to rivaling that night.
Remembering that night is bittersweet. While it was a euphoric experience for me, it’s sad to realize that no one will ever again get that great view from the long gone tower at the World Trade Center. I’m sure the views at the new buildings on the World Trade Center site are magnificent. But for those of us who lived through 9/11, it will never be the same.