New York Fourth of July fireworks

June 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm Leave a comment

After debuting on the Hudson River in 1958, the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration will finally venture back to its birth spot this year, briefly abandoning its East River digs. Why? In part, to celebrate of the 400th anniversary of the exploration of the river by Henry Hudson. Or maybe to screw with your normal fireworks viewing habits. Either/or.

 The fireworks begin around 9:20 p.m. and feature the New York Pops performing a revamped American River Suite. In addition to the American standards we’ve come to expect, this year fireworks’ soundtrack includes the premiere of music by Tony Award-winner Stephen Flaherty and performances by Broadway stars Audra McDonald and Idina Menzel. This is all well and good, but the issue remains: any good spot you’ve scouted for fireworks viewing in the last few years is moot. So here’s a few of our suggestions for prime “ooooh, ahhhh!” moments on the Hudson. Two things: we suggest geting out of Brooklyn and staying the heck out of Jersey.

BY SEA Head to Chelsea Piers to board the six-hour Bateaux New York and Spirit of New York cruises, offering up a premium open bar, food, wine, live soft jazz, dance music and a magnificent view of the fireworks. Classic Harbor Line Yachts offers three different July 4 cruises, each one including complementary beer, wine, champagne, and hors d’oeuvres to keep the patriotic boating festive. After enjoying the new Water Taxi at the South Street Seaport, hop on the Hudson NY Water Taxi Fireworks Cruise leaving from Pier 17 at 6:30 p.m.; for $100, boaters get a boxed meal, two beverage tickets and a cash bar offering beer and wine. NY Waterway Tours will be hosting a special July 4 Hudson River-specific cruise, departing from a number of locations around New York and New Jersey. The $75 ticket for the cruise does not include food or drink, both of which will be available for separate purchase (for shame, NY Waterway!). Check the website for specific departures. The well-named 4th of July Fireworks IndepenDANCE Cruise might offer more bang for your buck, with an open bar, free food and a full-on DJ party for five hours.

BY LAND Manhattan: Fireworks viewing access points along 12th Avenue will be: 24th Street, 26th through 30th Streets, 34th Street, 40th through 44th Streets, 47th through 52nd Streets, and 54th through 57th Streets. Other West Side public viewing spots include: Dewitt Clinton Park (access from 11th Avenue), Pier 54 (limited access from 14th Street), Pier 84 (limited access from 44th Street), and selected side streets between 11th and 12th Avenues. The following West Side spots will not be open for public viewing of the fireworks: Battery Park, Battery Park City, Hudson River Piers (except Pier 54 and Pier 84 as described above), the Hudson Park Promenade between West Houston and 59th Streets, the Intrepid and the Hudson River Park Bike Path between West Houston and 59th Streets. For dinner plus exquisite fireworks viewing, the Plunge Rooftop Restaurant at the Hotel Gansevoort is taking reservations between 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on the North and West Side terraces. Two-person parties have a $200 minimum while parties of four or more require a two-bottle minimum. (18 Ninth Ave., 212-206-6700) Jason’s Riverside Grill and Chelsea Brewing Company at the strategically located Chelsea Piers are selling tickets for Independence Day fireworks viewing. Jason’s tickets are $20 ($10 of which is a credit for food), while those for Chelsea Brewing Company go for $150 and include an open bar from 5 p.m. -9:30 p.m., hors d’oeuvres, buffet dinner, and dessert. (For tickets, call Jason’s Riverside Grill at 212-989-8400 or Chelsea Brewing Company at 212-336-6440) 300 New York Bowling, also at Chelsea Piers, is offering $40 tickets for two hours of bowling plus a great view of the fireworks. (Call 212-835-2695 for info) Hudson Terrace may have a low rooftop view, but it’s an unobstructed one. Tickets for the night start at $125 and include an open bar from 7-10 p.m. and a BBQ buffet. (Go to to book tickets) The Chelsea Art Museum’s annual rooftop Fourth of July Party features an open bar, music from Bachelorette, a screening of Americana films and a good view of the night-time explosions. Tickets are $50. (Go here for more info) The Empire State Building Observatory will host a July 4 Celebration on the 86th Floor Observatory. Tickets are $125 and first come, first served. (Call 212-736-3100 for info) The Top of the Rock observation deck in Midtown will be operating as usual…just expect large crowds for the 70th floor viewpoint. (Check here for more info)

Hoboken: The W Hotel’s restaurant, Zylo, will be serving a full menu inside and on the patio during July 4. For optimal fireworks viewing, the Hudson River-adjacent steakhouse will be taking reservations for window seats inside the restaurant. The patio will be first come first served, but the view promises to be spectacular. The hotel bar, The Chandelier Room, also features a good view of the Hudson. (225 River St., Hoboken, 201-253-2400) Some prime, public viewing spots in Hoboken, near the PATH terminal, include the recently opened Maxwell Place Park and all along the park on River Road. If you’re willing to trek a little north, Weehawken sits right across from the Intrepid and the main fireworks boats. We suggest trying out the areas around Harbor Blvd. and the Weehawken Sheraton. But with blocked-off roads and suspended ferry service during the afternoon and evening, we’d suggest staying on this side of the water.

By Madeleine Dubus


Entry filed under: Get Wet, Manhattan, Public Waterfront. Tags: , , , , , .

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