The annual Macy’s July 4th Fireworks display is the biggest and best in the USA, and this year’s display promises to be bigger and better than ever.
More than 60,00 shells will be bursting in air at the rate of 2,200 a minute, synchronized to a soundtrack of patriotic music.
New for July 4th 2017 include never-before-featured shells like chrysanthemums and happy faces that change color mid-air, and new locations for the fireworks barges on the East River.
Here are the best places to watch the fireworks along the East River for FREE.
Note that access to viewing areas in all boroughs will be closed as they fill with spectators.
This information is from 2017.
- FDR Drive between Houston Street and Midtown East, with entry points at Houston, 23rd, 34th and 42nd Streets. Access to the highway opens around 7pm.
- Lower Manhattan’s East River Park, and the waterfront area between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges
- Brooklyn’s Grand Ferry Park and East River State Park in Williamsburg and WNYC Transmitter Park in Greenpoint
- Brooklyn Bridge Park has posted a warning that the fireworks will not be visible from its green space, but there will be partial views from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Last year’s entry points were Columbia Heights and Pineapple Street, Montague Street and Pierrepont Place, and Remsen Street and Montague Terrace. Still, you’re probably better off on the other side of Brooklyn toward Williamsburg.
- Queens’ waterfront Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City
- Although Roosevelt Island is not a viewing point according to organizers, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is hosting a Family Fireworks Celebration from 5-10:30pm. While the event is FREE, advance registration is required to guarantee space. Visit the website for more details and to pre-register.
- Macy’s has set aside a few areas for spectators with special needs. In Manhattan, head to the FDR southbound lane at 16th Street and Avenue C or the top of the ramp at 34th Street. In Queens, enter Center Boulevard from 48th to 49th Avenues.
Where Not to Go
Macy’s has changed the position of the barges on the East River from last year. So for 2017, the South Street Seaport will not offer a view of this year’s fireworks show. The southernmost barge will be stationed at 24th Street and too far north to see from Lower Manhattan.
- The East Side of Manhattan above Midtown won’t offer views, unless you are on a high floor.
- According to Macy’s, Hunters Point South Park in Queens is not a viewing area, so we assume that means it will be closed to the public.
- Battery Park won’t offer views of Macy’s fireworks, though you should be able to see Liberty State Park’s Freedom and Fourth of July Fireworks Festival near the Statue of Liberty.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park has said the Macy’s 2017 fireworks will not be visible.
Macy’s 41st Annual 4th of July Fireworks on the East River begins around 9:25pm and lasts approximately 25 minutes. Wherever you are, you can tune into 1010 WINS-AM radio to hear the synchronized patriotic fireworks soundtrack.
Claim your viewing spot well before sundown and be prepared to stand or sit on the ground. Note that for security reasons, NYPD won’t allow you into viewing areas with backpacks, lawn chairs, or other large items, and be prepared for your bags to be searched.
In the event of rain, the start time could be delayed.
Or, avoid the crowds and stay home to watch the show live on NBC.