For the second year in a row after five years away from it, the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks will be blowing up above the East River. Woo! Whatever (HIGHLY ILLEGAL) July 4th show you thought you had planned, you know it’s gonna look rinky-dink compared to the barges full of explosions that Macy’s is rolling in between Brooklyn and Manhattan, so save them for another day and get yourself as close to a front row seat for all the explosive action that you can.
In a new wrinkle from last year, there’s going to be a double barge south of the Brooklyn Bridge, and three more barges will be parked from 34th Street south the 23rd Street. Which means things will be a bit more spread out this year. . There are some spots that are set back from the bridge though, or even farther, where you can still get a good view without having to wait around for four hours to see the magic happen.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Your best bets to see the fireworks near the Brooklyn Bridge are Fulton Ferry Park, Piers 1 and 2 at the Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Promenade. They’ll be crowded as all get out though, so if you really want to be there, show up at 5pm like the official website of New York City suggests and wait around until the show starts at 9pm. Bring a book and catch up on your summer reading maybe. Also be aware that everyone’s being funneled in to the park from the Old Fulton and Furman Street, Joralemon and Furman Street and Old Dock and Furman Street entrances, and that’s it. Squibb Park will be closed, along with the roller rink, sports fields and volleyball fields on Piers 2, 5 and 6.
East River State Park, Kent Avenue between North 7th Street and North 9th Street
Williamsburg’s unofficial backyard wasn’t a great place to see the fireworks last year, but this year is another story. It’s not an official viewing spot, but Macy’s also says on their website that “any area with an unobstructed view of the sky” along the East River is a good place to see the fireworks show, so why wouldn’t you try for the East River State Park, which is about nine blocks south of the southern-most barge?
Grand Ferry Park Grand Street at River Street
If you saw Kara Walker’s “A Subtley” then you might have already stumbled upon this tiny, intimate spot of heaven by the Domino Sugar Factor in which the glorious fireworks will be on full display. Unlike last year, it’s right next to the action this year, but it’s also a small park and might fill up quick.
WNYC Transmitter Park, between Kent Street and Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint waterfront
There’s plenty of open Greenpoint waterfront for you enjoy since Greenpoint Landing isn’t here yet. However, there won’t be a spot like Transmitter Park, which is located almost directly next to where one of the barges is set to be. Transmitter is a smaller park, but there’s enough green space there to enjoy, and it’s just far enough north that it might not attract the same level of tourists that Brooklyn Bridge Park would.
Berry Park 4 Berry Street
This bar with the best roof in Williamsburg will probably be a mob scene considering that the fireworks will be so close this year, but if you get there early enough it’s not as if you’ll have nothing to do once you’re there. Not with all that food and beer and open sky to enjoy before the sun goes down.