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The Margin: Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks: how to watch and what’s new in the star-spangled show

The Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show is back with a bang.

The 46th annual star-spangled salute from New York City promises to “ignite the night” with more than 48,000 exploding shells and pyrotechnic effects illuminating the sky over the East River for 25 minutes on Monday night.

“It’s going to be super dynamic,” Will Coss, the executive producer of Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks, told MarketWatch. “It’s a really robust show, a really big show, filled with new colors and new effects.”

Viewers who don’t live in the Big Apple can tune into NBC’s national broadcast from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT, or 7 to 9 p.m. CT/MT on Monday, and NBC will also have an hour-long encore presentation from 10-11 p.m. ET. Check your local listings.

You can also stream the fireworks on Comcast’s
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Peacock service, or watch NBC Live online, or watch it live via YouTube TV
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Hulu+ Live TV and Sling TV.

NYC residents can check out Macy’s spectator site here for maps on where to watch the fireworks in-person from Midtown East, and along the Queens and Brooklyn riverfronts.

Related: Fourth of July travel: 42 million people to hit the road, despite gas prices

The Independence Day special will include musical performances by 5 Seconds of Summer, Brett Eldredge, Carly Pearce and Pitbull, as well as the cast of Freestyle Love Supreme, which includes “Hamilton” star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.  

But the main event — the fireworks themselves — lift off at approximately 9:25 p.m. ET. And Coss told MarketWatch that every element in this year’s show has been specially choreographed to a musical score curated by Ray Chew, the musical director for ABC’s
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 “Dancing with the Stars,” which features jazz, hip-hop, rock and country tunes, as well as patriotic standards like the national anthem. Soul singer Kenny Lattimore and the Community Baptist Church Choir also perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” for the soundtrack.

Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks are about to get lit.

Kent Miller Studios

“We’re really showcasing all that American music has to offer,” said Coss.

But there’s no upstaging the fireworks themselves. While Macy’s would not disclose what they’re spending to throw the self-described biggest Fourth of July fireworks display in the country, industry insiders have put the pricetag in the $6 million to $7 million ballpark. “This is a multi-million dollar event,” Julie Heckman from the American Pyrotechnics Association previously told MarketWatch. “The fireworks and those barges are gonna be in the six figures, but then you’ve got the live entertainment, staging, traffic management and security costs.”

Related: July 4 forecast: Inflation is raising the cost of summer BBQs by 17% to $70 on average, before alcohol

And this year’s show features effects in 30 different colors, including new shades of grasshopper green, gamboge (a saffron-like color) and titanium, as well as new shapes including tall hats, mushrooms and interlocking rings. What’s more, one-third of the shells will burst with multiple effects — so the initial starbursts lead to other animated elements, such as color-changing ghosts, winking smiley faces and howling wolves, Coss said.

The 2022 Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration calls itself the nation’s biggest Independence Day pyrotechnic display — and for good reason.

MarketWatch illustration

“You’re going to see the fireworks really dance to the music this year in a way that’s gonna be fun and delightful for our audience,” he said.

Here’s a look at the 2022 Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration by the numbers.

More than 48,000 shells and effects will be launched from five barges spread about 1 mile along the East River in New York City, with more than 1,900 shells and effects blasting off per minute for 25 minutes.

More than 17,000 firing cues will launch the shells and effects, which include new shapes like tall hats, mushrooms, tricolor interlocking rings and blinking smiling faces.

The fireworks and effects will sparkle in 30 different colors, including classic red, white and blue, as well as special shades such as grasshopper green, gamboge (a yellow color somewhere between  deep saffron and mustard yellow) and silvery titanium.

One-third of the shells will explode with multiple effects, such as starbursts leading into animated elements like color-changing ghosts and howling wolves.

The explosive shells range from 3 ounces to 30 pounds in size, and the shell with the longest duration will last for 12.43 seconds, or just under 13 minutes.

It takes 50 pyrotechnicians 10 days to load in and set everything up, and the setup includes 15 explosive containers, 48 tons of steel mortar, 1,000 stabilizing sandbags and 48,000 electronic matches.

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