4th of July Fireworks & More in the City

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday because I love all the festivities that surround that day–family BBQs, parades, and firework shows.  I plan a schedule so that I can see all the firework shows in my area leading up to the 4th of July.  Seeing the firework display in New York City was on my bucket list.  I have been able to check it off.

4th of July is probably the only time ever that I have gone to New York City and it was dead silent.  Most New Yorkers skip the city and head elsewhere.  So I was able to walk and explore without it being claustrophobic.

If you are staying in the city or head in early, you can head to Coney Island and cheer on the contestants in the Nathan’s Hotdog Eating Contest.  Participants come from all over the world to see who can eat the most hotdogs in 10 minutes.

But, if I were you, I’d catch a Yankees game especially if it’s a 1:00 game.  (Unfortunately, this year, they’ll be in Tampa.)

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By the time the game is over, take the subway and head into Manhattan.  Check out some if not all of the touristy locations: Times Square, Empire State Building, Washington Square Park, Little Italy/Chinatown, take the Staten Island Ferry if you want to see the Statue of Liberty (it’s free), the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York City hosts one of the best firework shows.  Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks display is the largest firework show in the United States.  It is more amazing and breath-taking in person than what you even see on television.  The fireworks will light the sky over the East River around 9:30 p.m.  This year Macys stated there will be four barges that line the East River with the iconic Brooklyn Bridge being a part of the firework show.

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There are several different locations to go watch the firework display.  So where should you go to watch them?

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park–This is your prime location.  Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to get to Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Check out their website to find relevant information so you can plan accordingly.
  • South Street Seaport-2 of the barges will shoot off fireworks just off of Pier 17 of the Seaport.  This location will have great views, but just note that it will be very crowded there.  People are usually there really early securing a spot to view the fireworks.
  • On the FDR–In the past, they had the barges lined up between 24th and 42nd street along the East River.  This year, they are moving it around the Brooklyn Bridge.  There are several access points.  Here’s the link to Macy’s site so you can see where are those locations. NYPD will close the FDR several hours prior to the firework display.  When I went, I went to the northernmost access point.  It is less crowded.  People started lining up at the access points early, but you really don’t need to.  FYI: The lines are long and it may look like a lot of people.  You probably will think you won’t have a good seat, but don’t worry!  Because once the lines are allowed to move onto the FDR, there’s plenty of room.  You can get there by 5 or 6 instead of just sitting around and doing nothing.  But, if you do head there early, be sure to bring dinner and snacks, and if you have kids, bring books/games to keep them entertained.

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Hope you can come see the fireworks and celebrate America’s birthday in NYC!  Wishing you all happy and safe travels!