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The Ultimate New York City 4th of July Fireworks Guide

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |


Get a prime viewing spot with our tips

Macy’s department store chain may be best-known for its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, but that isn’t the only holiday that they do in spectacular style. With their flagship store still overlooking 34th Street, Macy’s can be counted on for their annual fireworks display for the 4th of July. The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will again be launched into the skies over the glorious Brooklyn Bridge, and the starting time is approximately 9:20 p.m. What is in store for us as we drink in this American tradition this time around? Macy’s has over 70,000 shells planned to ignite throughout the evening in what should prove to be a pyrotechnic wonderland of unprecedented spectacle and light.

Here’s how to have an epic view of New York’s finest 4th of July fireworks (Photo: iStock)

Here’s how to have an epic view of New York’s finest 4th of July fireworks (Photo: iStock)

So where are the best places to view these patriotic displays commemorating our country’s birth? Here are some suggestions.

Macy’s Fireworks Viewing Tips

  • First and foremost, you will want an unobstructed view of the display, unfettered by the skyline. That will mean making your way to the city’s East Side and finding a location along the East River.
  • For those who might enjoy watching the show from the water, there will be four barges between the Manhattan Heliport and Pier 17 near the Seaport District.
  • If you happen to be connected to someone living in an East-facing high rise, or can make your way to the top of a building, this will certainly increase your view.
  • Macy’s lists areas for guests to enjoy the festivities throughout the city, including Cherry Street, Market Street, Montgomery Street, St. James Place, Robert F. Wagner Sr Place, Pearl Street, Dover Street, Water Street and Broadway.
  • The far tip of Battery Park will also offer a relatively decent view of the show.
  • You can also find a variety of fireworks cruises that operate during the Macy’s show, including the Admiral’s July 4th Fireworks Cruise, as well as the World Yacht 4th of July Cruise.

Coney Island Fireworks Viewing Tips
If you’d like to take a different approach to your Fourth of July fireworks experience, consider spending the day at Coney Island, enjoying the rides and amusements at Luna Park, maybe taking a dip at Brighton Beach, followed by Coney Island’s Fourth of July Fireworks. Out over the water, watch as the blossoms of fire and colored light reflect with the glory of the day’s gravitas. Here are some of the best ways to capture this show, which will commence at 9:30 p.m. on the 4th.

  • The ideal locale is to find a spot on the Riegelmann Boardwalk, but be sure to be there early to claim (and hold) your space.
  • You can always spread a blanket along Brighton Beach to watch the show. 
  • Of course, for a few viewers, they might just be lucky enough to be taking a ride on Luna Park’s Ferris Wheel as the fireworks begin. For a dazzling display of motion and light, and maybe a romantic moment or two as your cart crests, what an unforgettable way to make the most out of the evening.

Keep in mind a few things for both fireworks displays:

  • These events can get very crowded and it is highly recommended, for your viewing pleasure, that you claim your spot early. It will be crowded regardless, but the crowds can fill in around you, especially if members of your party take turns maintaining your space.
  • This is July, and New York City can be extremely warm and sometimes unbearably humid. Claiming your spot early will mean you will be spending a lot of time in the sun. Remain hydrated, wear sunscreen, consider bringing some food, and maybe a blanket to help signify your area. 
  • Once the fireworks conclude, there will be a mass exodus from the viewing areas. To avoid feeling like part of the herd, relax for a few minutes (or 30) as the throngs make their way to other celebrations or wearily drag themselves home. Then you can make a more leisurely departure.

Happy July 4th, and may it be a safe and thrilling holiday for you all.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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