Independence Day: Recapping Stories on America’s Biggest Holiday


When I first moved to New York, I had already heard rumors that fireworks during NYE are not permitted. I still haven’t found out the reason for this but there surely are a ton of fireworks displayed during a different, memorable night: Fourth of July! America’s Biggest Holiday gets even bigger thanks to Macy’s & Co bringing in the best firecracker show you will ever see on that holiday. The show starts half an hour after sunset and it lasts up to half an hour. I’ve seen smileys, figures, and all kinds of colors and shapes. I’ve been up front and far away. No matter where, be it on the Hudson or East River, the show has been impressive nonetheless and continues to draw in everyone in the Tri-State-area.

Spending a few Independence Days in New York has definitely been an experience. My first one was back in 2010 when I wandered around a hot and sweaty Greenpoint together with my former roommate. We were invited at a BBQ and it turned out that we were the first ones at 4pm. After hanging out for one hour with a friendly gay men’s couple, we had enough of the grilled meat and veggie overload and decided to go back to Prospect Park, close to the area where I used to live. Here, we ended up dancing around to Haitian and West-Caribbean music until almost sunset. My friend and I then jumped on a train to Times Square and were wedged in between massive crowds as we saw the fireworks go off above our heads. I guess being skin on skin with other sweaty people had kind of done it to us so we decided to stay far away from that area during the next few Independence Days.

Fourth of July back in 2010
Fourth of July back in 2010

Another memorable 4th of July involved a trip to Riis Beach the summer after Sandy hit. Fort Tilden had not yet been rebuilt and we were pretty close to other people (not as bad as in Coney Island but still). After hanging out in the sun all day, I managed to snag a great view of the fireworks from a rooftop in Bushwick and celebrate for the majority of the night. A bunch of independent bands delivered a great show on that rooftop and I was surprised at how many people had come out.

Riis Beach during the Fourth
Riis Beach during the Fourth

I also remember making the conscious effort in 2012 to visit Coney Island for the hotdog eating contest. While I missed out on the actual contest as I was a few minutes too late (it’s held at noon), I did get to see some massive crowds and swim around in the excitement of people, who were enjoying their holiday and spending half of their savings c/o their dollar bills on the rides around Lunapark. I managed to stay for two or three hours, and then I got pretty tired of the sensation overload. I then met up with a friend at Prospect Park and we had a picnic of two. It was a pretty chill environment, as most people had already gone to dress up and see the fireworks. We however did not care much, so we decided to roam around Ft. Greene on the search or a good party (which never happened).

Crowds at Nathan's
Crowds at Nathan’s

One Independence Day involved me being pretty much alone but watching a splendid show from the rooftop I had in South Park Slope. A few neighbors from the buildings nearby had also entered the roof and we got to see some pretty sparkles fly across the sky. I then went on to the West and East Village, on the lookout for a great party. I remember meeting a few random people but it was surprisingly dead for a holiday. I guess everyone had decided to go out of town.

Last year, the world cup was on this memorable holiday. Germany actually won against France in the quarterfinals. The fireworks were displayed on the East River for the first time in 5 years again. Great views were to be had from the Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo area.

I hope you all have a great 4th of July and some fun BBQ/ beach day/ anything else to attend! Happy Independence Day!

Celebrating on a Rooftop
Celebrating on a Rooftop

3 thoughts on “Independence Day: Recapping Stories on America’s Biggest Holiday

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