07/02/12 - 0 Comments
The Best Places to Enjoy Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks in NYC
Everyone knows that seeing fireworks on the 4th of July is a treasured American tradition. And while everyone in New York would love to be able to find a comfy, secluded patch of grass to watch the festive light show, we all know that, in reality, going to see the fireworks in the city can mean battling some pretty hefty crowds. This year, we thought we’d make things a little easier with our best-of list for places to watch the 36th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks.
Like all great parties, this year’s 36th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks has a theme—”Ignite the Night”—and, like always, Macy’s has arranged for celebrities to help New Yorkers celebrate. Along with the 25-minute long presentation made up of 40,000 fireworks, Katy Perry and Kenny Chesney will also be making an appearance in the show, which is scheduled to start at 9pm. Unfortunately, if you’re not one of the privileged 3,000 guests invited by Macy’s, you probably won’t get to thoroughly enjoy the musical performances unless you are watching from your TV (and we don’t recommend that). But even without one of the coveted invites, you’ll still be able to enjoy the fireworks.
Traditonally, one of the best spots to see the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks is the West Side Highway. This year, from 4:30pm on the 4th to 1am on the 5th, the NYPD will close down the highway to all traffic (between 23rd Street and 57th Street on the northbound side and 23rd Street and 79th Street on the southbound), creating the perfect venue for one of the city’s biggest block parties. For the best view of the show, try to get a spot somewhere beneath 42nd Street, since the six barges filled with fireworks will be on the stretch of Hudson River between 18th and 43rd.
Pier 54 and Pier 84 will also be open for public viewing. But if you’ve got a little extra cash to spend, why not take advantage of a great private party? This year, OnCruises.com will host a private, and therefore ticketed, party at Pier 81 complete with a cash-bar, barbecue (although food isn’t included in the price of the ticket) and reserved seats that are less than 1,000 feet from the fireworks. Tickets for the Freedom Fest 2012 start at $89 for a single admission, but there are discounts for larger groups, so be sure to check out their website. The party will start at 4pm and go until 11pm, and live entertainment will be provided by some of NYC’s finest deejays.
On the Water:
Everyone knows that you can see the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks from a water taxi, but, honestly, there are much better options out there for about the same price. We recommend trying one of OnCruise.com’s excursions. Our favorite: the 4th of July Cruise aboard The Amberjack. For $150, you’ll get admission to the adults-only party thrown aboard the ship, access to the ship’s open bar and a buffet dinner with guaranteed seating and amazing views of the fireworks. We’d definitely call that a bargain!
If you’re looking for a more family-friendly trip with a bit more history, we’d recommend a cruise aboard the Clipper City Tall Ship organized by Manhattan by Sail. The original boat was built in 1854 and decommissioned in 1890. But in 1984, naval architects DeJong and Lebet rebuilt the ship using original plans on loan from the Smithsonian. Along with a tour of some of Manhattan’s most famous landmarks, tickets ($350) for the 4th of July fireworks trip will also include an open bar and a barbecue dinner.
On a Roof:
One of the highest-rated parties for the 4th of July is held at The Press Lounge at the Ink84 Hotel on the corner of 48th Street and 11th Avenue. The views of the Hudson River from this rooftop bar are amazing—naturally, the awe-factor is reflected in the price. Tickets start at $225, and the party includes an open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres. Casual-elegant attire is encouraged so ripped clothing and flip flops are a definite fashion faux-pas. Another old favorite is The Sky Room at the Marriott in Times Square. Here, enjoy the fireworks from 400 feet above the pavement at one of the tables on the northside terrace—the part of the bar with the best views. Tickets for the event start at $100 and include an open bar and a 4th of July picnic-style buffet.
In the mood for a bit of a gamble? Here’s a tip: the newly opened Loopy Doopy 16-story rooftop bar at the Conrad New York Hotel has great views of the Hudson. Farther south than a lot of the more ideal locations, this rooftop bar is fairly undiscovered. This means that having a drink here will give you a lot more privacy than one of the better known haunts, and the drinks served are pretty special. The Loopy Doopy is, in fact, the only bar in the U.S. to serve prosecco on tap. That, and they make an amazing boozy popsicle—the perfect treat for the 4th of July heat.
In New Jersey:
For anyone looking to venture outside the New York to see the fireworks, Hoboken, New Jersey is a great option. A few things to know before you plan your trip: Hoboken is known for having rather strict fireworks policies. Rooftop parties and open containers are absolutely not allowed, so leave the festive beverages for the before/after party and plan to keep your feet firmly planted on the pavement.
While we can’t promise that there won’t be crowds, we can certainly guarantee a great view and a good time for everyone. Just try not to have too much of a good time (remember you have to get home at the end of the evening, along with everybody else). Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the spectacle.