Firework Teams Prepare for NYC Show

Over the past week, dozens of pyro technicians have worked to wire 40,000 explosives for the nation’s biggest Independence Day celebration. Check out behind-the-scenes photos of workers preparing for the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular in New York.

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A pyro technician carefully places a firework onto a mortar on June 30, during preparations for the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.
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Many new fireworks were added to this year’s show, including a happy face that winks. Show designer Gary Souza holds up a model of the new pyrotechnic design.
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The 2013 fireworks show took a year to design, and each shell has a unique location on the barge. Here, a pyro technician lays out the fireworks according to the design plan.
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Pyro technicians setup fireworks of different sizes and shapes on board a Macy's barge. Newly designed fireworks for 2013 include “diamonds in the sky” that will shine during Rihanna’s song “Diamonds.”
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Empty mortars will be loaded onto specially rigged barges, then filled with fireworks shells for the New York Forth of July fireworks show.
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Each firework is wired to an ignition system that is controlled by a computer. The system will launch the pyrotechnics in sync with the soundtrack Usher compiled.
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Workers will sit in this freight container at the end of the fireworks barge to control the show via a computerized digital launching system.
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Show designer Gary Souza traveled around the world to purchase the biggest and best new firework shells from China, Portugal, Spain, Germany, and America for this year’s show, he said.
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Mortars are wired with 20 miles of cable.
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Some fireworks measure up to 10” in diameter, and weigh up to 35 pounds.
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Planning for the 37th annual Macy’s show took a year and a day, show designer Gary Souza said, because he recorded observations during last year’s show on what worked and what didn’t.
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