Fourth of July: Beach, Sunburn, and Rooftop Love


I hope you spent a great Fourth of July no matter where and how you were celebrating! It’s only been ten hours since July 5 came around and I woke up with only a slight hangover this morning. Good sign, indeed!

Yesterday was my third Fourth of July in America (at least the third one I can remember) and of course I got to spend it in the city I live in. While I do vow every year to travel outside and FINALLY get to do a kick ass BBQ and huge party, I somehow always end up either in Brooklyn or Manhattan. My dreams of a New Jersey rave or Connecticut fest have once again been shattered, as in every year and as in this year.

Despite those undreamt dreams, this year was to date the best celebration I experienced! Possibly because nothing was planned and everything happened quite spontaneous. Don’t you just love those days that unfold as the hours fly by?

Riis Park Queens

It started off pretty well by me going to the beach with the boyfriend, who surprisingly had a day off (he works 24/7 in his own bar and rarely gets to spend summer days outside of it). We went to Riis Park, which is close to Fort Tilden (which I failed to blog about last year, argh!) and part of the Queens community called Breezy point. Riis Park is an extension of the Far Rockaway beaches and the only way to get there is either by bike, by bus, or by car. Since bike and car is currently not an option for us, we decided to take the subway to Flatbush-BK College (both the 2 and 5 lines go there) and then hop onto the Q35 bus. There is also a direct bus from Park Slope and Williamsburg which costs $10 one way. The advantage of this ride is that you don’t have to go through the hassle of switching public transit and perhaps it doesn’t take as long (well, you never know what the traffic situation is here). Switching from the subway to the bus only took us an hour of a commute, which really isn’t bad for NY standards.

Fort Tilden as of last year
Fort Tilden as of last year
Fort Tilden as of last year
Fort Tilden as of last year

Of course we weren’t the only ones with the great idea of swimming, so when we arrived, the beach was already well populated – filled with families, partying youngsters, and chillaxing hordes. Not as bad as Coney would have been on the same day but, yeah, beaches in New York tend to get crowded when everyone is off. We found a somewhat secluded spot close to the border of Ft. Tilden. Ft. Tilden was a great beach last year but unfortunately the community has not had the funds and helpers to clean it up for this year’s season. While Riis Park is usually a gay and lesbian beach, this year it was also a family beach because good sand is scarce here and any cleaned up beach is a good sign (yes, the aftermath of Sandy is still hovering over us). We stayed for the better part of that hot afternoon and unfortunately left with a minor, pinkish sun burn. Should have reapplied that sun screen after swimming, I guess.

After some Mexican food at the Habana outpost, I met with some friends in Bushwick, who had told me about a rooftop party with drinks and food. By the time I got there (perhaps 8 PM), the BBQ was already finished but drinks were just getting started. Bands were playing and people were happily dancing around. It must have been a crowd of 200 persons for the better part of night and that says a lot for a ‘simple’ rooftop in the middle of Bushwick.

Rooftop Love in Bushwick
Rooftop Love in Bushwick
Pre-party picture
Pre-party picture

While Teen Commandments (a local punk rock band) was performing, Macy’s fireworks were going off on the Hudson River. Although Brooklyn is on the East River, the roof was high enough to be able to see the fireworks past the silhouette of the skyline.

Teen Commandments
Teen Commandments

“I really don’t know why they changed the location to face New Jersey!” someone muttered next to me. I turned around and started a heated discussion with a long-term New Yorker who was outraged that 75 percent of New York was not able to take in the fireworks while New Jersey, the neighboring state, was. “They have their own funds and they do their own fireworks,” he pointed out. I agreed, as we had seen a few fireworks go off on the NJ side of the roof well before dark. Macy’s did a great job in providing us with 25 minutes of show time and even flagging up a few new forms, such as an UFO or a Jupiter (or any type of planet with a ring).

Throughout the night the rooftop crew decided to shoot some firecrackers into the sky, so we had our own “special” fireworks going off above our heads. At some point, the cops must have told them to stop and that was it. A rave-like party happened after the last band stopped playing and then everyone vanished in a drunkenly lost night.


Crappy picture of Macy's fireworks
Crappy picture of Macy’s fireworks
party blues
party blues

What a wonderful 4th of July it had been! Even better than a proper 4th of July weekend. Because this time most New Yorkers stayed in their actual city (a lot of people had to work today or didn’t want to take a vacation day).

Oh, and in case you wondered why the Empire State Building was going crazy: Supposedly it was part of the Macy’s fireworks grand finale theme and changed its colors at light speed rate. At times it looked like it was rotating but that was just part of the effect.

3 thoughts on “Fourth of July: Beach, Sunburn, and Rooftop Love

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