Where to view the fireworks on the Fourth of July (2012)
From boats on the Hudson to west side aeries, we've collected the best spots in New York City to watch Macy's fancy pyrotechnics on the Fourth of July.
Fri Jun 8 2012
- Price band: 3/4
There may not be a more apt place to admire the red, white and blue fireworks than this decommissioned aircraft carrier which served during World War II and Vietnam. A ticket gets you a spot on deck, a chance to explore the museum and a live simulcast of the musical accompaniment. 7pm; $100.
- Pier 86, Twelfth Ave, (at 46th St)
Pier 66 Maritime offers a number of different options for those hoping to see the fireworks from the wharf where the Frying Pan is docked. The cheapest option is to watch from the historic lightship itself, where a big Ben Franklin gets you a two-hour open bar and apps. If you'd prefer to be jutting out on the water, spring for the veranda ticket ($175) and enjoy a three-hour premium open bar and buffet at the end of the pier. For the high-rollers, philanthropists and demophobic, seating on the roof is available for $225 and is limited to 100 people. Save your receipt: $175 is tax deductible and goes to the nonprofit North River Historic Ship Society (nrhss.org). Time TBA; $100–$225.
- Pier 66A, (W 26th St at the Hudson River)
While Circle Line (circleline42.com) is hosting a Hudson River cruise, it's also opening its piers for a fireworks-viewing party. As well as music, there will be food from the grill and booze for sale, so you can watch the display with a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other.5pm–2am; $75.
- Pier 83, (W 42nd St at the Hudson River)
- Price band: 4/4
This plush deck with a retractable cover, cabanas and uninterrupted views of the Hudson is among Manhattan's best high-class rooftop bars and offers unparalleled views of the fireworks. Add to that a four-hour open bar (6:30--10:30pm) and barbecue, and you'll realize nights like this are why we kicked the British out in the first place. 6:30pm–2am; $80–$200.
- 621 W 46th St, (between Eleventh and Twelfth Aves)
You can watch the fireworks at eye level from the iconic skyscraper's 86th-floor observatory. Head up 1,050 feet into the heavens for a private two-hour event that will put you a world above the Hudson barges. Alcohol will be available for purchase on the 80th floor, if you can manage to pull yourself away from a sight that is breathtaking (even on nights when there isn't a twenty-five-minute fireworks display for your viewing pleasure!). 8pm; $125.
- 350 Fifth Ave, (between 33rd and 34th Sts)
The price of entry is high, but so is the lounge itself—it's reputedly the highest rooftop bar in New York. Along with first-class views, your hundred big ones get you a five-hour top-shelf open bar (6--11pm) and some perfunctory snacks like minisliders, Buffalo chicken tenders and chips. 6–11pm; $100, tables $150 per person.
- 330 W 40th St, (between Eighth and Ninth Aves)
Rocks Off Concert Cruise
If you turned your nose up at the thought of watching fireworks to the warbling of Taylor Swift, this party on the Half Moon may provide a soundtrack more to your liking, as DJ Buffalo Bill will spin rock & roll, alternative and electro. The cruise also covers its bases with the obligatory three-hour open bar and apps. Departs from Skyport Marina, E 23rd St at the East River (866-468-7619, rocksoff.com). 7pm, boards 6:30pm; $150, advance $125.
Shearwater and Clipper City
If you want to celebrate with a bang this year, kick it old school on a sailboat. These two schooners offer an open champagne bar and a sumptuous spread of barbecue, ribs, wings, "Texas Bottle Rockets" (jalapenos stuffed with blue crab), sides and more tasty grub to keep you going during each five-hour cruise. Shearwater: Departs from North Cove Marina, South End Avenue at Liberty Street (thenorthcove.com). 5:30pm; $450, children under 12 $350 * Clipper City: Departs from South Street Seaport, Pier 17, Fulton St at Water St (southstreetseaport.com). 5:30pm; $350, children under 12 $275. * manhattanbysail.com
Free Viewing Spots
Don't expect to make it to the waterfront parks, or even the High Line: they're closed. The closest you'll be able to get as a member of the nonpaying public will be Twelfth Avenue. Access points along Eleventh Ave are at 24th, 26th to 30th, 34th, 40th to 44th, 47th to 52nd and 54th to 57th Streets. If you simply must toast independence—and the freedom to make explosions that it grants us—then head to Pier I Cafe (70th St at the Hudson River; 212-362-4450, piericafe.com; 11:30am–midnight) or the Boat Basin Cafe (79th St at the Hudson River; 212-496-5542, boatbasincafe.com; 11am–midnight). They're both open and not charging for entry, but do offer less-enthralling vistas.