Brooklyn History Photo of the Week: Fireworks Display

Fireworks Display, 1983, V1987.3.51; Bernard Gotfryd Photograph Collection; Brooklyn Historical Society.

This photograph is by Bernard Gotfryd, who immigrated to New York after surviving the Holocaust. His photographs became widely known while working as a staff photographer for Newsweek. The above image shows a dramatic fireworks display over the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline, as part of the bridge’s 1983 centennial celebration. New York City’s Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks have taken place annually since 1958 and were held in the East River from 1976 to 2009. Unfortunately for Brooklynites, Macy’s has launched its fireworks display over the Hudson River since 2009 (the location change was in honor of the 400th anniversary of Hudson’s discovery). But Brooklyn still has one Independence Day tradition that’s all its own: Nathan’s annual hot dog eating contest, which takes place at Coney Island every July 4th. The contest has been an annual tradition even longer than the fireworks, beginning in 1916. The contest was only cancelled twice- in 1941 as a protest to the war in Europe, and in 1971 as a protest to civil unrest and the reign of free love.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery. Use this database to search for individual photographs. Currently a small number of our images are available online, but we regularly add new photographs. You can also visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Fri, 1-5 p.m. to search through our entire collection of images.

About Emily Reynolds

I'm the Photographic Collection Assistant at BHS.
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