East River Fireworks

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Best Spots To Watch The Macy's 4th Of July Fireworks Show

July 03, 2018 - 1:40 pm
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By Laurie Jo Miller Farr

Sparks will fly and it's going to be a blast...even if Independence Day does fall on a Wednesday this year. In 2018, the 42nd Annual Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Show illuminates the sky over the East River in New York City for a 25-minute display set to music that's set off promptly at 9:25 p.m. The free fireworks spectacular, which promises to be even bigger than last year's, is the nation's largest.

Two Miles of Riverside Viewing

Pulsing hearts, swirling water fountains, brocade horse tails, ghosting fans, blooming ring chases, and a neon pinwheel are in the lineup of new shells and effects in 25 colors when 50 technicians fire the mega-sparklers. They'll be launched from seven barges positioned in the East River near midtown Manhattan between East 24th Street and East 42nd Street across from Long Island City in Queens and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. The location means that hundreds of thousands of spectators can stake out a great viewing space up and down the river. Note that this year, no barge is situated near the Brooklyn Bridge, so Brooklyn Bridge Park and South Street Seaport are not recommended as viewing spots.  

Official Viewing Locations

Many streets will be closed to traffic, so get wherever you're going without a car. After 7 p.m., head for a car-free FDR Drive along the East River between Houston Street and Midtown East, with entry points at Houston, 23rd, 34th, and 42nd Street. Once security details are in place, Macy's 4th of July Fireworks website will confirm official viewing locations, expected to include several public parks. The Macy’s Fireworks Hotline is 212-494-4495.

Nothing Beats Being on the Water

Take a family-friendly buffet dinner cruise. Infinity Yacht tickets begin at $139 for the cruise departing from Pier 40 on the West Side. For $179, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises runs a fireworks special at $179 per person with a DJ and full bar, departing from Pier 83 at 6 p.m. Hornblower Cruises will operate four trips with tickets between $300 and $600 leaving from Pier 15 at the East River Esplanade. The Spirit of New York Cruise starts at $259.90 per person and departs from Chelsea Piers at 6 p.m. For the same price, board the Spirit of New Jersey at Lincoln Harbor for a lively cruise with a DJ and dance floor. Shearwater Classic Schooner is a pricier dinner option departing from North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place.

See the Night Sky Light Up From a Tower

Ride the elevator to a superb viewing spot high in a skyscraper with just the right angle. The Observatory is the city's tallest tower, One World Trade Center, gets into the party mood with a food and drink package starting at $250 per person. Spend more to get even closer atop the 86th floor of the Empire Sate Building where tickets are $500. The party starts at 7:30 p.m. and after the fireworks show, drinks are served on the 102nd floor.         

Catch the Coverage On Live Television

If you can't be there in person, tune in to NBC to watch the live broadcast. The performers' area will not be open to the public and is staged for television only. The talent lineup features musician Blake Shelton and "God Bless America," the Irving Berlin classic celebrating its 100th anniversary performed by Kelly Clarkson. She is accompanied by the singers and musicians of the West Point Band and Glee Club presenting patriotic favorites.