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Jason DeCrow, Associated Press
Fireworks explode over the East River in front of the Manhattan skyline as photographed from the Brooklyn borough of New York during the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks show Saturday, July 4, 2015.

NEW YORK — Hundreds of thousands of people braved tight security along New York City's East River to watch the annual Macy's Fourth of July fireworks display.

Revelers traveled from all over the world to watch Saturday night's fireworks show in Manhattan.

"It was awesome," said Joe Cunningham, who traveled with his family from Minneapolis. "It was the benchmark for all else to be measured."

Cunningham said he's traveled to New York before, but never came in for Independence Day and he had to bring his family to see the fireworks.

"We thought it was going to be great and it certainly lived up to our expectations."

As other celebrators cheered and carried red, white and blue glow sticks, Nefertiti Perry of Manhattan said the event marked a New York tradition she had to show her children.

Her three youngsters were "so excited" to see it, she said.

The 25-minute show featured more than 50,000 shells set off from barges on the river, according to Macy's, which coordinated the event. Thousands of people packed onto closed-down roadways in Manhattan to watch the display.

Enhanced security included officers searching backpacks and purses. Other officers used handheld radiation detectors to scan baby carriages and large briefcases at checkpoints leading to the viewing areas.

Police Commissioner William Bratton said more than 7,000 police officers were assigned to assist with security. In addition to canine units and counterterrorism patrols, police were also using radiation-detecting boats on the waterways.