Wednesday 8 July 2009

4th July

For the 4th July celebrations I took a little trip over to Hoboken to meet up with some fellow Brits and enjoy the Macy's fireworks from a Jersey vantage point. Macy's fireworks have been an East River tradition since 1976 despite their debut as a Hudson River spectacular in 1958. However, the fireworks returned to the Hudson River after a long hiatus to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the exploration of the Hudson River by Henry Hudson, so Hoboken offered the perfect view for a Brooklyn resident willing to take the PATH train and bypass the crowds forming on the West side of Manhattan.

Top: The many boats moored on the Hudson ready for the show to begin
Above: The crowds on the pier in Hoboken built steadily

Fireworks over the Hudson River

A nice close up

I had a great time watching the fireworks but I was also fascinated by the crowd during the build up. There is something compelling about crowd dynamics, especially when there is a development of unspoken rules that someone unwittingly disturbs; a person who chooses to stand in the area where it had been silently decided no-one should stand, the muttering to, and elbowing of, neighbours as a newcomer snags a better vantage point, or the stranger who stands too close to a group for their liking despite it being inadvertent and a natural consequence of a busy event. All of these things took place and I always love watching how people respond to such a situation. I think it's important for my work to take note of the nuances of social interaction and I am especially vigilant when I find myself in a crowd because I love to depict them in my illustrations and I'm always on the lookout for new subtleties to add to my interpretations.

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