Fourth of July Weekend Events
by nycgo.com staff, 06/24/2014
There's no better place to celebrate America's birthday than NYC. Enjoy festive and patriotic activities all weekend long, including an outdoor summer music festival in Brooklyn, a cruise along the Hudson and classic staples like the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks display.
Independence Day Celebrations
Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks
It wouldn't be the Fourth of July in New York City without the annual Macy's fireworks show, which made its debut in 1976 to commemorate the nation's bicentennial. The iconic display will return to the East River this year; fireworks will be set off from the Brooklyn Bridge and from barges in the water below. The spectacle is best viewed from Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade or the east side of Lower Manhattan. If you plan to see the action up close, arrive by 5pm to snag a good spot (the show starts at 9pm).
Fireworks Night at Citi Field
Round off Independence Day with a 35-year-old Mets tradition by catching the pyrotechnics show from Citi Field. There's a baseball game beforehand too: the Mets will play an interleague game against the Texas Rangers.
Independence Day Celebration at Historic Richmond Town
Watch a pie-baking demo and contest, churn ice cream and participate in the annual Pinwheel Parade at this old-fashioned, patriotic celebration.
July 4th in New York
Learn about the significant role of Lower Manhattan in the American Revolution during this event, which celebrates the fireworks' return to the East River. Visitors can enjoy tours, lectures and other programming throughout the day at such historical sites as Fraunces Tavern, Federal Hall and Castle Clinton.
June 27–October 19
Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney says good-bye to its Marcel Breuer–designed home on the Upper East Side with a grand celebration of Jeff Koons' work—his first major museum retrospective in New York. And the Whitney is determined to go large: the show comprises more than 120 objects arranged in a chronological narrative of his career, from 1978 to the present, nearly filling the building to the brim. (After the Koons deluge, the Whitney gets set to take up residence in its new Renzo Piano–designed digs, in the Meatpacking District.)
Foundations of Freedom: The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights
Celebrate America's birthday with this exhibition at the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, which includes a copy of the Declaration of Independence written in Thomas Jefferson's own hand. (He wrote five copies of the original text and sent them to friends; the text on display includes Jefferson’s denunciation of slavery, which was later removed before ratification.) Also of interest: one of the remaining original copies of the Bill of Rights. Don't miss the chance to get up close and personal with these historic documents.
International African Arts Festival
The 43rd annual festival of African culture returns to Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park for four days of music, dance, spoken word and much more. Highlights include a performance of Frederick Douglass' historic Fourth of July speech by actor Rome Neal on Independence Day and a symposium on culture, community and struggle on July 5. In addition, there will be a chess tournament, a martial arts demonstration, plenty of African and diaspora cuisine, a fashion show, an African marketplace and, for the kids, a play area and arts and crafts zone. A $3 donation is requested.
Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest
With a combination of steely grit, limber lips and highly expandable stomachs, competitors in annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest devour wieners galore to the delight of throngs of screaming fans. Down in Coney Island, a select group of skilled eaters convene (ladies first, at an official start time of 11:30am, and the men around an hour later) and proceed to eat Nathan's dogs (and buns) for 10 minutes straight, stopping for nothing—not ketchup, not mustard, not even a french fry. In the 2013 battle, Joey Chestnut defended his men's title by devouring a world record 69 dogs. Don't miss this year's competition, which continues a tradition organizers claim was established in 1916 (historians, take note—records for the event extend no further back than the early 1970s).
Satchmo's Birthday Bash at the Louis Armstrong House Museum
Emily Asher's Garden Party will perform at 2pm. The price of admission ($18 in advance) includes complimentary samples of red beans and rice, sweet tea and birthday cake, plus one historic house tour pass.
Zephyr Fourth of July Cruise at South Street Seaport, Pier 16
Get fancy with a patriotic cruise on the Hudson. You won't have to fight for a perfect view of the Fourth of July fireworks, and you'll enjoy a buffet, bar and DJ-spun tunes with the price of the ticket.
The Avengers at South Street Seaport
Front/Row Cinema and South Street Seaport present a free outdoor movie series through the end of August. In the spirit of patriotism, watch Captain America and company save Manhattan from an alien race.
Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Talib Kweli at Prospect Park Bandshell
Jazz pianist Robert Glasper joins Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli for a post–Independence Day show.
Target First Saturday
Thanks to Target, admission to the Brooklyn Museum is free on the first Saturday evening of every month. Featured activities include musical performances from charismatic Ghanian-American hip-hop/soul artist Blitz the Ambassador and R&B duo Nina Sky; a screening of Spike Lee’s provocative 1989 film, Do the Right Thing; a crowd-sourced photo project; and hands-on art for the kids.
Top Gun at Habana Outpost
Watch Maverick, Goose and the Iceman battle Soviet MiGs, create disasters of their love lives and attempt to land their F-14A Tomcats on the deck of an aircraft carrier—because there's nothing more American than Tom Cruise in a twin-jet fighter plane.