Fireworks follow sun-scorched July 4 festivals

NEW YORK The nation's largest fireworks show has exploded over the Hudson River in New York City in a burst of red, white and blue.

The annual Macy's fireworks show started shortly before 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Thousands of spectators arrived early to stake out prime viewing spots along the Hudson. Golf caddy Marcos Jimenez said the show is amazing on TV and he figured it would be even better in person.

The fireworks show moved to Manhattan's West Side in 2009 after eight years on the East River.

The show is being broadcast on NBC, with performances by teen sensation Justin Bieber, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and others.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

NEW YORK (AP) The nation's largest fireworks show will light up the skies over the Hudson River straddling New York and New Jersey, one of hundreds around the country that will bring sizzling ends to a scorching day for much of the U.S.

Budget cuts have forced some communities to pull the plug on the pyrotechnics, but the gigantic Macy's fireworks show will continue on Manhattan's West Side, where it moved in 2009 after eight years on the East River. And that move has brought with it a change in fortune for businesses, too.

In the city that's home to the $1,000 umbrella and the $175 cheeseburger, tickets have been sold at $1,450 a pair for one sweet spot to see the fireworks that are free for anyone standing on a nearby street corner or at a window.

Hudson Terrace, a rooftop bar near the river, sold 250 tickets to watch the fireworks at prices from $150 to $1,450 a couple.

"The fireworks were definitely a huge draw for us," said Erika London, an event planner at the bar.

The views are even better from the Circle Line's sightseeing boats. Sunday night tickets for all seven of the cruise line's vessels sold out a week in advance.

It's gloomier on the East Side. With the party elsewhere, the Delancey on Manhattan's Lower East Side isn't even going to open for Independence Day.

"When it's on the West Side, there's no traffic around," said the bar's events director, Dana McDonald. "It's a good night for the staff to take a break."

The fireworks show will relocate to the Statue of Liberty next year in honor of Lady Liberty's 125th anniversary and will move around after that.

Sunday's show will be broadcast from a cruise ship called the Norwegian Epic and will feature performances by teen sensation Justin Bieber and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The show will air live on NBC starting at 9 p.m. EDT.

Fireworks watchers may be looking for a breather after a hot summer day. Temperatures in the 90s were forecast for nearly everywhere east of the Mississippi as well as in the Southwest, with much of the rest of the country likely to see highs in the 80s.

In Washington, vendors with stocked coolers hawked "cold," "ice cold," and even "super cold" bottles of water along Constitution Avenue as mid-afternoon temperatures reached the mid-90s. There was a long line for watermelon $3 for a huge wedge and near the Washington Monument, firefighters and U.S. Park Police officers sprayed hoses into the crowd.

"I just need some AC," said Brooke Fenske, 16, of Elgin, Minn. Fenske, in town for a 4-H trip, said it doesn't get this hot in her home state.

Joseph Sciuto of the American Red Cross said his volunteers on the National Mall had helped treat about 300 cases of dehydration.

On Brooklyn's Coney Island, American Joey Chestnut won the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest for the fourth straight year, but one of his biggest rivals tried to crash the celebration and was taken into custody.

Six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi, who has not signed a contract with Major League Eating to be free to compete in contests sanctioned by other groups, went on stage after the competition. Police officers grabbed him, and he tried to hold onto police barricades as they took him into custody.

In Bellevue, Iowa, 24 people were injured at a parade after two runaway horses pulling a wagon took off, running into spectators along the streets, police said. The victims were as young as 2 years old and suffered injuries ranging from multiple fractures to collapsed lungs and bruises and abrasions.

In Washington, the Obama family celebrated the holiday by hosting members of the military and their families for a barbecue, concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn of the White House.

"Michelle and I couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate America's birthday than with America's extraordinary men and women in uniform and their families," President Barack Obama told the guests.

Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq on Saturday evening for the holiday weekend, his second visit there this year, and attended a citizenship ceremony at one of Saddam Hussein's former hunting lodges.

Festivities in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776, will conclude Monday after 11 days of parades and concerts. The Goo Goo Dolls will headline a free concert on Sunday night, which will be followed by a fireworks show.

There will be more than 40 firework displays in Los Angeles. One of the largest in the area is held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Fire crews have spread fire retardant on the nearby hillsides to prevent sparks from igniting brush fires.

Chicago traditionally celebrated a day early on July 3 with a fireworks display that drew more than 1 million people, but the show was canceled this year to save at least $500,000. The city will hold three smaller shows on Sunday.

In Seattle, local businesses and individuals donated the $500,000 needed for the city's 20-minute fireworks show, in which 3 tons of explosives will be set off over Lake Union.

In Durango, Colo., the fireworks display will go on thanks to embattled oil giant BP.

The company stepped forward in December to pay for the fireworks show, five months before oil began spilling from the spot in the Gulf of Mexico where one of the company's rigs exploded.

City officials were poised to cancel the $15,000 show because of a budget crunch but BP, which drills for natural gas in Colorado, offered to pick up the tab.

Associated Press writers Herb McCann in Chicago, James Beltran in Los Angeles, Rebecca Santana in Baghdad, and Lauren Sausser in Washington contributed to this report.

Related articles