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Catsimatidis funds fireworks for Queensboro Bridge bash

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Sparks will fly at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Queensborough Bridge later this month after a city supermarket mogul agreed to fund fireworks for the event amid a budget crunch that almost prevented the display, an event spokesman said.

Gristedes Foods owner John Catsimatidis will fund the fireworks display at the May 31 centennial celebration of the bridge, which connects Long Island City to midtown Manhattan. The New York City Bridge Centennial Commission, which is commemorating the 100th anniversary of six city bridges, was having difficulty raising money for fireworks at the event under the current economic climate, spokesman Josh Knoller said.

But Catsimatidis stepped in and paid the entire cost for the display, Knoller said.

“We’ve had a really hard time getting donations, so it’s been John Catsimatidis to the rescue,” he said. “He’s a New Yorker and loves supporting the city.”

The event will give Queens residents an opportunity to see fireworks this summer after Macy’s July 4th display was relocated from the East River to the Hudson River.

The display will begin around 9:15 p.m. The day will also include a re−enactment of the first trip over the Queensborough Bridge, as well as other festivities along the East River. The fireworks will likely launch from Roosevelt Island, although details for the event are still being etched out, Knoller said.

The bridge commission had originally planned a light show and more elaborate events for the celebration, but the struggling economy forced them to be more frugal, Knoller said.

“We’ve really had to scale back,” he said. “If it weren’t for Catsimatidis, we wouldn’t have fireworks. He came through for the East River.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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