New York City Ready to Celebrate Freedom

July 4, 2014 10:11 am Last Updated: July 4, 2014 10:13 am

NEW YORK—As the city is on the verge of Independence Day, it’s getting ready for one of the largest Fourth of July shows in the country.

Macy’s fireworks are set on three barges, ready to line up around the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge is already wreathed in fireworks launching tubes. Police have barriers ready to control the crowd, as 2 million are expected to gaze upon the spectacle.

“The past couple of years weren’t so good because they put them over the Hudson River; we couldn’t see them too well,” said Jared Whittington, acoustical consultant from Brooklyn. “This year should be good if the weather holds out.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday afternoon the weather should hold for the show, as Hurricane Arthur, possibly reaching Category 2, “is expected to turn northeast today, and is forecast to pass well southeast of New York City on Friday.”

The south part of the FDR Drive will close at 4 p.m. The Brooklyn Bridge will close at 5 p.m., but some lane closures will occur throughout the day as more fireworks preparation may be needed on the bridge.

While enthusiasts are ready to stake out the best spots, arriving from early afternoon, others plan a more laidback approach. “We’re going to the Brooklyn Bridge, an hour earlier,” said John Kruszewski from Detroit, noting he doesn’t mind a spot further away. “If I can just see them I’m fine with that.”

Where to Go

“If it were me, I’d want to see that bridge as much as you can because it’s going to have some really neat effects this year,” advised Gary Souza, designer of the fireworks show. We have a few tips on how to do just that.

If you are watching from Manhattan, the whole area around FDR Drive between Montgomery Street and Broad Street should offer a decent view. The prime spots start at Pike Slip in the north and Broad Street in the south. The East River Bikeway, right under the south side of the Brooklyn Bridge, looks tempting, but may be the first to get filled.

Police announced that portions of the FDR Drive itself will open as viewing areas at 4 p.m., but will be blocked from entry again once filled. The accesses are from Montgomery Street, Wagner Place, and Broad Street. We recommend the Broad Street entrance—the view should be outstanding.

The closest subway stations, starting from the north, are East Broadway (F), Chambers St. (J, Z), Brooklyn Bridge (4, 5, 6,), Fulton St. (A, C, 2, 3), Wall St. (2, 3, 4, 5), Broad St. (J, Z), Bowling Green (4, 5), Whitehall St. (R), and South Ferry Loop (1).

If you will be watching in Brooklyn, enjoy excellent views from Piers 1–6 and Brooklyn Heights Promenade. It is advised that you don’t exit at the Clark St. (2, 3) subway stop to get there, as you can only exit through elevators. It may be better to use High St. (A, C), York St. (F), Court St. (R), or even Borough Hall (2, 3) stops. The walk is a bit longer, about half a mile from Borough Hall, but may be more pleasant, avoiding the worst crowds.

For people who don’t plan to come in the early afternoon, getting a prime spot on Pier 1 may be a lost cause. The promenade is a recommended location, as it is spacious, with multiple exits, and provides an amazing view.

Street Closures, as Announced by NYPD

FDR Highway in both directions from Battery Park Underpass to Houston Street from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m., July 5, or until cleanup is complete.

South Street in both directions from Montgomery to State streets from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m., July 5, or until cleanup is complete.

Front Street from Old Slip to Dover Street from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m., July 5, or until cleanup is complete.

Eastbound Brooklyn Bridge traffic from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m., July 5, or until cleanup is complete.

Westbound Brooklyn Bridge traffic from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m., July 5, or until cleanup is complete.

Additional reporting by Jonathan Zhou