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Macy's Fireworks over the East River on Friday, July 4, 2014. Credit: Diana Robinson/Mayoral Photography OfficePhoto via Flickr|Diana Robinson

The famous Macy’s 4th of July fireworks will be celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. The display will begin around 9 pm (after dark) on the East River, making them the most visible from Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Even though fireworks will be displayed over the East River, residents of the Bronx, Staten Island and Jersey City shouldn’t be alarmed, as they will still have access to local Independence Day celebrations. So if you’re staying in or around New York City this July 4th, have no fear. There are still plenty of ways to get a clear view of the sky.

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No Longer Empty-Jameco Exchange-Jamaica-QueensPhoto courtesy of No Longer Empty/Whitney Browne

In an old storefront on 165th Street in Jamaica, Queens, is an unobtrusive art exhibition in a sea of clothing stores and food carts. Passersby stand in front of the clear glass doors, while expressions of confusion and amusement cross their faces as they try to decipher the colorful installations within. Inside the four walls of the repurposed building is Jameco Exchange, a site-specific art exhibit that celebrates the rich history and diversity of Jamaica.

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meat-espositos-nyc-manhattan-butcher shops

Some things are better when they’re new but most things just have that irreplaceable charm when they’re old, like these classic New York City butcher shops. NYC was once filled with meat markets on almost every corner, however, today only a handful remain and we’re lucky that they do. With authentic butchery techniques that are more than half a century old, quality meats and shop locations around the boroughs, there is no doubt that New Yorkers are continuing to support family owned businesses.

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All photographs by Christopher Payne

A few years ago, we covered the photographer Christopher Payne’s incredible work inside the Steinway & Sons factory in Astoria, Queens. Payne’s background as an architect clearly informs the spatial composition of his photographs, of which many took long hours to set up. More than just beautiful images, Payne’s work captures an important legacy of New York City’s manufacturing present, highlighting how handcrafted, highly technical objects can still be produced here. In many ways, his work pre-dates the city’s obsession with things small-batch and handcrafted: Steinway pianos take one year to make.

Payne’s patience has paid off in so many of his projects – regular visits to North Brother Island in all seasons, battling poison ivy, snow, and rickety abandoned buildings – led to the book North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York CityNow, he’s self-published the book Making Steinway: An American Workplace. The photos capture the production process and the skilled workers at the Steinway factory, revealing pieces of the instruments that will never be visible to the public.

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fort tildenBattery Harris East at Fort Tilden

Fort Tilden is located in the Rockaways in Queens County and is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. It is known for its natural beach and biking trails, tucked away on the Rockaway Peninsula. But less is known of its rich militaristic history during World War I and II and the Cold War, or of the thriving arts and recreational activities in Fort Tilden today.

Keep reading to discover the the top 10 secrets of Fort Tilden State Park, from its abandoned buildings to its namesake, Samuel J. Tilden.

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Queensway-Phase One Design-Metropolitan Avenue-Metropolitan Hub-Forest Park-Rockaway Beach Branch Line-LIRR-Abandoned-Queens-NYC-017On the QueensWay, a visionary rendering done prior to start of latest design phase

We recently took a trip to explore the potential QueensWay Park site with Andy Stone, director of the New York City program of the Trust for Public Land. While we have documented this former Rockaway Beach Branch line of the Long Island Railroad on numerous occasions previously, this visit showed the unique urban access challenges of the surrounding landscape and what the QueensWay Park hopes to address through the creation of the city’s next linear park.

Yesterday, the design process for the first half-mile of the Queensway Park was announced by the Friends of the Queensway, the Trust for Public Land, and elected officials that support the project.

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