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.
There are plenty of locations in Manhattan to see the fireworks that require payment, such as the rooftop of 230 Fifth or the Watermark Bar at South Street Seaport. But if you don’t want to spend too much, there are a few free locations.
Lower Manhattan’s East River Park will be open on the evening of the July 4th, with of course, no admission fees. Even though it is technically not an official viewing event, there will likely be many people in attendance here.
Parts of the South Street Seaport will also offer free viewing with all day concerts. Independent artists will perform on Fulton Street with family entertainment on Peck Slip. The seaport is always a popular destination, so be sure to plan ahead for large crowds.
Finally, along the FDR Drive between Houston Street and Midtown East is an official viewing site that will provide excellent angles of the fireworks show. There are entrances on Houston, 23rd, 34th and 42nd streets. The highway will become available at about 7:00 pm.
Brooklyn has many free viewing locations to watch this Macy’s fireworks display. First, Brooklyn Bridge Park will be welcoming guests to gaze out on the night’s sky. The large grassy embankment proves an ideal venue for the Independence Day festivities. The famous carousel, along with other park rides, will be shut down hours before showtime, so families with children will want to arrive early. Entrance is free and the NYPD will also be searching bags. Chairs will likely not be allowed.
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade at Montague Street and Pierrepont Place is one of the most romantic places in New York City. It conjures memories of Annie Hall and Moonstruck, and will thus be crowded on July 4th. It has been consistently ranked as one of the best views of the show above the East River. Although the park itself is enormous, visitors will want to arrive a few hours early to reserve standing room. There will be no admission fee.
Williamsburg‘s Grand Ferry Park won’t provide the best views, but it will likely allow for more space. If you’re after a quieter Independence Day celebration, this may be the spot for you.
The WNYC Transmitter Park is located in Greenpoint on West Street and offers a spectacular waterfront view, despite its moderate size. Nature gardens, a large open lawn and children’s playing area make this spot ideal for families.
Finally, the newly-opened Brooklyn Barge will be hosting its own special July 4th kickoff barbecue starting at 6:00 pm. This event does require the purchase of tickets priced at $150-$225, but supplies patrons with all they can eat and drink.
If you wanted a well-organized, family-friendly experience, the Forest Park Carousel has you covered. Beginning at 2:00 pm in Forest Park, Omar Olusion’s Fourth of July Block Party will include a live DJ, dance contests, children’s games and magic shows from Omar Olusion.
Penthouse 808 at Queens Plaza South will be hosting a gourmet barbecue buffet and a two-hour open bar. The view atop the Long Island City’s Ravel Hotel will be perfect for seeing the red, white and blue explosions. General Admission tickets are $65 and VIP (open bar) tickets are $100-$185.
The Gantry Plaza State Park is a free alternative to the rooftop bar and lounge. Located in between the iconic Pepsi Cola and red neon Long Island City signs, this park features picnic areas with a full view of the Manhattan skyline. It also includes a large children’s playground, which is the perfect outlet for pre-showtime excitement. Encompassing 12 acres, there should be plenty of room provided you arrive early enough.
4. The Bronx
Besides various neighborhood cookouts, the Bronx is home to the July 4th Independence Day Concert, organized by the Van Cortlandt Park Conservatory. The Bronx Arts Ensemble will perform at Rockwood Circle starting at 2:00 pm. After the musical salute to great artists like Duke Ellington and Miles Davis, residents and visitors can head to the City Island Yacht Club for Celebrating the Red, White and Blue with a View.
This reservations-only event is held from 5:00-10:00 pm on July 4th, and features slow-cooked ribs, burgers, hot dogs and a “big tasty surprise for everyone to enjoy.” Adult admission is $29.95 and Child admission is $15.00.