2015-07-08 / Front Page

Celebrating Independence


More than 4,000 attended the July 1 Grucci fireworks spectacular at Fort Totten in Bayside. 
Photo Jason D. Antos More than 4,000 attended the July 1 Grucci fireworks spectacular at Fort Totten in Bayside. Photo Jason D. Antos In an unprecedented turnout, more than 4,000 people attended the first annual fireworks spectacular at Fort Totten in Bayside. The July 1 event marked the return of a professional fireworks show to the area in almost 20 years.

Sponsored by Councilman Paul Vallone and the Bayside Historical Society, the 15-minute Independence Day Celebration featured fireworks by Grucci. In attendance among the thousands were Borough President Melinda Katz, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., and former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.

“I can’t imagine a better way to begin the summer than with a fireworks show and concert in beautiful Fort Totten,” Councilman Vallone said. “For the first time, residents in northeast Queens won’t have to travel far for world-class fireworks.”


(L. to r.); CALDC President George Stamatiades, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Councilman Costa Constantinides, CALDC Executive Director Marie Torniali, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and state Senator Michael Gianaris. 
Photos Jason D. Antos (L. to r.); CALDC President George Stamatiades, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Councilman Costa Constantinides, CALDC Executive Director Marie Torniali, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and state Senator Michael Gianaris. Photos Jason D. Antos The event began at 6 pm with performances from the Michelle- Marie RockBand Camp, followed by the Phil Costa & Something Special Band.

Vending trucks were on site with a variety of foods, including Italian  sausage, snacks, beverages, roasted corn, fresh lemonade, funnel cakes, and corn dogs.

Area residents had lain on beach towels and deck chairs on the great lawn in the middle of the fort to enjoy the show.

“This was an all-out success,” said Bayside Historical Society Executive Director Alison McKay. “Tonight we truly made history.”

Plans are already underway for the second annual show

.—Jason D. Antos



Music was provided by the West Point Band of the United States Military Academy. Music was provided by the West Point Band of the United States Military Academy.

(L. to r.); Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, CALDC President George Stamatiades, CALDC Executive Director Marie Torniali and state Senator Michael Gianaris. (L. to r.); Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, CALDC President George Stamatiades, CALDC Executive Director Marie Torniali and state Senator Michael Gianaris.

State Senator Michael Gianaris leads all present in the Pledge of Allegiance. State Senator Michael Gianaris leads all present in the Pledge of Allegiance.

More than 4,000 attended the July 1 Grucci fireworks spectacular at Fort Totten in Bayside. 
Photos Jason D. Antos More than 4,000 attended the July 1 Grucci fireworks spectacular at Fort Totten in Bayside. Photos Jason D. Antos


Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, 109th Pct. Deputy Inspector Thomas J. Conforti and Councilman Paul Vallone. 
Photo Courtesy District 19 Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, 109th Pct. Deputy Inspector Thomas J. Conforti and Councilman Paul Vallone. Photo Courtesy District 19

Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Paul Vallone, and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein. 
Photo Dominick Totino Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Paul Vallone, and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein. Photo Dominick Totino

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