To the Editor:
I was able to secure two tickets to the Fourth of July fireworks hosted by Four Freedoms Park but, due to capacity issues, I was unable to get into Four Freedoms Park.
I arrived over one hour prior to the scheduled start of the fireworks. We were allowed to pass through all the checkpoints, but when we reached the final checkpoint, the security staff told us that they were not allowing anyone else into the main viewing area. Obviously, considering the number of people trying to get into the main viewing area, safety was a concern. The attendance was too overwhelming for the space.
My question is this: why would 3,500 tickets be given out if the main viewing area at Four Freedoms cannot accommodate that number? People came from everywhere, not just from Roosevelt Island, and expected to get in with their ticket.
Everyone who was able to secure a ticket should have been given entrance into the main viewing area. If the main viewing area can only hold 2,000 people, then only give out 2,000 tickets – with the remaining 1,500 tickets being marked clearly as standby tickets – so that there is no misunderstanding. (And/or, the organizers should state very clearly on the ticket that if one arrives later than 6:00 p.m., one may not get in.)
Even more disturbing was the crowd of angry people at the final checkpoint – all who had passed through the previous security checkpoints but could not get into the main viewing area. People holding their tickets expected to gain entrance to the main viewing area, and they were upset. The large overflow of people were given the option to sit at the top of an already crowded small hill but it was not what ticket-holders expected. My observation was that the staff on hand at the final checkpoint, although they did as well as they could under the circumstances, were not sufficiently staffed to handle an angry crowd.
In a previous year, I had a lovely time viewing the fireworks. I was hoping to recapture this again but it was not meant to be this year.
Editor’s note: Event information stated that the first 1750 attendees would be allowed into Four Freedoms Park, and the remaining 1750 could view the fireworks from Southpoint Park.