Macy’s Fireworks over the East River on Friday, July 4, 2014. Credit: Diana Robinson, Flicker

July 4th barbecues and firework viewing are definitely fun and never get tiresome, but in a city as busy and diverse as New York City, there are always unique alternatives to traditional holiday celebrations. From an African Arts Festival to a burlesque party, or a yoga class on the Hudson to viewing a copy of the Declaration of Independence, there are so many off-the-beaten path activities to partake in this year. Since July 4th falls on a Thursday, there are exciting events taking place all week long. Here are some of our Untapped picks for alternative ways to celebrate Independence Day this year!

1. Rare Viewing of the Declaration of Independence

This 4th of July week, New Yorkers will have the opportunity to view a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson’s original handwriting. This treasured document can be found at the New York Public Library’s Gottesman Hall on the first floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

The Declaration of Independence was finished on July 1, 1776, but before it was ratified on July 4th, some changes were made to the text, such as the removal of Jefferson’s long condemnation of the slave trade. After July 4th, Jefferson wrote several fair copies of his original text and sent them to five or six friends. The New York Public Library holds one of the four, intact Jefferson fair copies known to exist, so do not miss your chance to check it out in person.

The public will be able to view the Declaration of Independence on Monday, July 1st from 10:00AM to 5:00PM and Tuesday, July 2nd from 10 AM to 7 PM. The exhibition is free!

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