Photo: Julienne Schaer
Nothing marks the Fourth of July quite like fireworks do, and in New York City there are a host of places to watch the red, white and blue sparks fly. The annual Macy’s display, which started back in 1976, takes place over Manhattan’s East River and remains the largest in the nation, but other local shows draw spectators to Coney Island, Staten Island and Manhattan’s west side, too. Check out our guide on how to get the best views of Independence Day fireworks throughout the City. No matter which event or spot you choose, be sure to check the scheduled time for the display and arrive early.
Macy’s holds the title for the . This year they’ll launch over 60,000 effects in a colorful display over the East River, including a mile-wide waving flag, a sunflower ring and a ghost pyrotechnic with four alternating colors. Macy’s will section off areas of First Avenue and other spots along the river as . These include East 42nd, East 34th and East 20th Streets along First Avenue in Manhattan; Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens; and Newtown Barge Park, Transmitter Park and Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Brooklyn.
There are additional spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn from which to watch the display.
Seaport District. Photo: Julienne Schaer
Brooklyn Bridge Park. Photo: Julienne Schaer
Views from Brooklyn
Bring a blanket to or snag a bench at the for views along the Brooklyn waterfront. You can also grab a spot farther north in . The Williamsburg Bridge may be in your sightline, but it won’t inhibit your view or your Instagram post.
Photo: Alex Lopez
You might find more entertainment at this in Brooklyn than anywhere else in the City. While the fireworks are the main event, you can make a full day of it: lay out on the beach, take a spin on Luna Park’s rides and check out special events like the (if you want to come earlier in the long weekend, you can attend a June 30–July 3; both the first and last games in that set include postgame fireworks). Then claim some space on Coney Island’s beach or its 2.5-mile-long boardwalk to watch the nighttime pyrotechnics, which take place at 9pm and launch just off Coney Island Beach.
Hudson River Park. Photo: Molly Flores
Jersey City will launch its own at 9:30pm from two barges on the Hudson River just next to Exchange Place. That means viewers on the west side of Manhattan can watch from or from one of piers on the lower portion of —roughly those from Tribeca up to Chelsea, though they can also be seen in parts of the Heights and the north portion of Liberty State Park. Battery Park offers the chance to see the display or, depending on where you camp out, potentially this and the Macy’s fireworks.
Before the big day, Staten Island’s is hosting an open house July 1–2 with special programming and events, including demonstrations by costumed interpreters and living historians. They’ll be teaching about the science behind fireworks and showing how 19th-century pyrotechnics worked. At noon on July 4, the neighborhood of Travis will host a at Independence Park; , near the St. George Ferry Terminal, will have a block party featuring face painting, music, snacks and a photo booth from 3pm to 10pm, with a fireworks display at 9pm.