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midsummer night swing-NYC-Untapped CitiesLincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing. Image via glenwoodnyc.com

This Saturday, America will set the skies ablaze in honor of its 239th birthday. Admittedly, fireworks never look quite as spectacular as they do on the 4th of July, especially over New York City’s iconic skyline. But we feel for some New Yorkers who might have grown tired, over the years, of watching the same old show over the Hudson River (now East River, thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s firm stance on New York fireworks strictly for New York). Here are a few ways we found to enjoy the holiday with a new twist.

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William Wall Clubhouse-Manhattan Yacht Club-Sailing Club-Ellis Island-Jersey City-Surf City-Statue of LIberty-004

The Honorable William Wall (aka the “Willy Wall”) is the floating clubhouse of the Manhattan Yacht Club, anchored in the New York harbor just near Ellis Island. The open air bar has incredible views of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty (and neighboring Brooklyn and New Jersey, of course). Indeed, the clubhouse was designed specifically for taking in the sailboat races and you’ll notice it is more of a viewing platform and barge rather than a sleek yacht. (We admit it was a bit cloudy yesterday, but we’ll be back to get more photos soon).

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Diner en Blanc Paris-2015-Palais Royal-NYCParis Dîner en Blanc at Palais Royal. Photo by heleneworldwine

The Paris Dîner en Blanc remains one of the most exclusive pop-up dinners in the world but it’s getting bigger and bigger by the year. In two simultaneous locations since 2011, this year it was reduced to one for 10,000 people–the Palais Royal–but we received confirmation from an official Dîner en Blanc organizer that a second rogue dinner was started unofficially by a group that was removed from last year’s dinner on the Pont Alexander III due to bad behavior. Waste left behind by that group was documented by locals and the Paris press. As for the official location, the Palais Royal recently underwent a renovation (and is home to the fun Colonnes des Buren art installation). The Louvre/Tuileries gardens had an official Dîner en Blanc there in 2010.

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Pneumatic Coffee Shop Roasting Plant-NYC-Untapped Cities-Jinwoo Chong-5

Mike Caswell, founder of NYC’s Roasting Plant coffee shops, has an engineering degree. To be completely honest, there isn’t any away he couldn’t have an engineering degree, judging from the system of vacuum-aided pneumatic tubes that automatically sort, roast, and transport a variety of coffee beans around the space of his two Manhattan stores. He calls the whole setup Javabot, the roasting component of which is visible through the store’s window and is frequently Instagram-ed by passersby.

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Essex Street Market top 8 food finds-NYC-Untapped Cities-Jinwoo Chong-8

Amid the hustle and bustle of New York’s Lower East Side is a marketplace on Essex Street with a bustle of its own. The 75-year-old Essex Street Market was built in the height of the 1940s by Fiorello Laguardia to clear away the streets and sidewalks that had become crowded with vendors and merchants. Today, it is a crossroads of history and culture, comprising a diverse array of stands, shops, and restaurants.

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Theodore Roosevelt Park is one of several New Taste beneficiaries.

Theodore Roosevelt Park is one of several New Taste of the Upper West Side beneficiaries.

How good are Upper West Side restaurants? Good, abundant, and public-spirited enough to support a three-evening annual food festival, New Taste of the Upper West Side, which opened with a soirée Wednesday night at the Museum of Natural History.

Run by the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District, New Taste is also a fundraiser—the soirée donates its proceeds to Theodore Roosevelt Park and the three evenings support the BID’s sustainable landscaping of West Side streets, as well as Wellness in the Schools, Greenhouse Classroom, and CityMeals-on-Wheels. Participating restaurants and chefs donate their time, food, wine, cocktails, and beverages.

Here, we’ve highlighted of a few of our local restaurants and chefs participating in New Taste of the Upper West Side, starting at the BID’s southern boundary, Columbus Circle.

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