No, you won’t have a three-day weekend this Fourth of July. But you can still celebrate the patriotic spirit of our forefathers with some all-American festivities taking place during the week.
Sunday, July 1st:
There are two days of historical reenactments this week at Independence Celebrations at Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park one of the few surviving farmhouses from Brooklyn’s Dutch settlement. Now a museum, Lefferts will honor the end of slavery in New York State on (July 4, 1827) with historic storytelling on July 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. The afternoon will end with a festive march, or “Freedom Strut,” through the Lefferts farmyard. Then on July 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. Lefferts invites children to make plumed caps and sign their John Hancock with a quill pen on a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence.
Tuesday, July 3rd:
Make your way over to the Bell House to see Wasabassco Burlesque’s annual AMERICA F*CK YEAH!, a festive night of debauchery and Bacchanalia that promises beer, barbecue, and boobs (for America, okay!). And the kicker–admission is free if you come dressed as Wonder Woman.
Wednesday, July 4th:
The American history buff and early-riser can go on the 10th Annual Nighttime Walking Tour of Revolutionary War New York in the Financial District. Tour guide James Kaplan will take you to a few Revolutionary War sites, including Fraunces Tavern Museum (where George Washington gave a final address to Continental Army soldiers in 1783), and the tour culminates with participants watching the sun rise from Trinity Church. Meeting location disclosed with ticket purchase (by Fri 1); visit their website for details. July 4th from 2-6am; $20.
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is a must-see if you’re planning on spending America’s birthday at the shore. You can witness the famous annual hot dog eating contest, a nearly century-old tradition, on Coney Island. This distinctly American competition captivated 40,000 onlookers last year, and over 1 million home viewers. The 2011 contest winner, Joey Chestnut, devoured 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes. This year, the contest is split into men’s and women’s divisions, with a $20,000 grand prize available for the winner of each championship. Starting at 10 am, you can watch this gluttonous affair and, if you can still stomach it, grab your own hot dog from Nathan’s Famous.
The annual Fourth of July Invasion of the Pines involves hundreds of drag queens and their entourage flocking to the harbor to commemorate the 1976 incident when a restaurant in Fire Island Pines denied entry to a man dressed in drag. Less a protest than a celebration of LGBT rights, we say don your heels and join this festive crowd. The fun starts in the harbor at noon with the Invasion arriving at 2pm.
The Iron Horse pub is closing its street to traffic to host the Pig Roast BBQ Block Party. The porcine meats and burgers are free, but donations are suggested with all proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project. That being said, spring for a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade ($3, $1) or head inside to the bar for $3 cans of Rolling Rock or PBR. (Cliff St between Fulton and John Sts; 646-546-5426, ironhorsenyc.com; noon–8pm; free, donations encouraged).
Dozens of vendors will be out selling food, crafts, and other treats during The Great 4th of July Festival on Water Street, between Fulton and Broad streets.
The New-York Historical Society is celebrating Independence Day with its summer Beer Here: Brewing New York’s History, a series of beer tastings catered by local breweries. Normally held on Saturdays, they’ve made an exception so you could indulge in some pre-barbecue fun on the Fourth. Half-hour tasting sessions will start at 2pm and 4pm. Visitors get to taste some of these local ales as well as learn about the process behind brewing America’s beverage of choice.
There will be free movie screenings as part of the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival (which normally take place on Mondays) and Rooftop Films: The American Experience. A screening of the American classic, Easy Rider, at Bryant Park begins at sunset (lawns open at 5 pm). This Peter Fonda flick celebrates 1960s counterculture. Bring a blanket, popcorn, or maybe some barbecue if you’re in a particularly patriotic spirit. Rooftop Films is also presenting a series of free short films titled The American Experience, which will celebrate “the diversity, daring, and charm of our country.” The films included in the series are Month One, a documentary about the early days of Occupy Wall Street; My American Life, a Bengali-American teenager’s struggle to lead a “normal” American life; and Mulvar Is Correct Candidate!, a man’s misguided attempt to run for office. Guitarist Dustin Wong will provide music before the shows, and afterwords you’ll also be able to see a live feed of the Macy’s fireworks display.
Celebrate America’s birthday in style with this vintage-themed rooftop party at the Liberty Belle Spectacular at the Empire Hotel, featuring performances from Gelber & Manning and the Star-Spangled Orchestra, burlesque stars, the tap-dancing Minsky Sisters and other jazzy entertainment. Drink the night away until the fireworks begin, and trust us, the view will be “spectacular.”
More than 40,000 fireworks will shoot from six barges along the Hudson during Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display with performances by Beyonce and Brad Paisley. This dramatic pyrotechnic spectacle will begin around 9:20pm, but we suggest staking out a spot along Manhattan’s West Side much earlier. Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues are open to revelers, but many parks along the West Side Highway are not. Curbed has listed some of the best viewing spots in New York and New Jersey.
Saturday, July 7th:
Thursday, July 5th:
Dixieland band the Red Hook Ramblers provide vintage jazz accompaniment to Burlesque vocalist Ramblin’ Rose, conjuring a tantalizing Prohibition-era atmosphere. Starts at 9 pm.