NEW YORK – The nation’s largest fireworks show lit up the skies in a burst of red, white and blue over the Hudson River on Sunday, a scene repeated in hundreds of communities in a sizzling end to a scorching day for much of the United States.

“It’s amazing on TV,” said Marcos Jimenez, a golf caddy who joined thousands of others lining the riverfront for a prime view of the show. “I figured seeing it live would be even better.”

Budget cuts forced some communities to pull the plug on pyrotechnics, but the gigantic Macy’s fireworks show went on as planned on Manhattan’s West Side, where it moved in 2009 after eight years on the East River.

The show, which aired live on NBC, began just before 9:30 p.m. with huge fireballs exploding in the night sky to the strains of patriotic tunes such as “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The shimmering fireworks that streaked across the night sky replaced a blazing sun that broiled nearly everywhere east of the Mississippi with temperatures in the 90s.

In Washington, thousands gathered on the National Mall were treated to 17 minutes of fireworks, shot off behind the Washington Monument.

On Brooklyn’s Coney Island, American Joey Chestnut won the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for the fourth straight year, but one of his biggest rivals tried to crash the celebration and was taken into custody.

Six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi, who has not signed a contract with Major League Eating to be free to compete in contests sanctioned by other groups, went on stage after the competition. Police officers grabbed him, and he tried to hold onto police barricades as they took him into custody.