This anniversary is very much felt all over the United States and in the Big Apple it is annually celebrated with one of the largest fireworks displays in the world, largely sponsored by Macy’s department store.
In New York City, the day starts with picnics, barbecues and sporting events held at parks all over Manhattan and surrounding boroughs, but the peak of the party is in the evening when, around 9:30 p.m., the fireworks show starts on the East River.
As many as six launching platforms are located along the East River and the fireworks lit the night. It’s such a big showcase of fireworks that it looks like it’s daytime when they start and it’s so beautiful to see the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Skyline illuminated with all these colorful lights.
People arrive early to take a seat or stand, usually getting to the water in the early hours of the afternoon to find a seat along the riverbank, especially in Brooklyn Park.
There are also several other options to attend the show: you can choose a boat cruise with dinner, usually with many courses, an open bar and a DJ-set or, alternatively, a boat ride with a possible meal for a fee. This last solution is cheaper than dinner cruises and it’s usually preferred by local families while the first is more of a tourist option.
If you are after a full-day experience, you can opt for the barbecue overlooking Times Square with a bus ride through Lower Manhattan and, finally, the cruise with buffet dinner and magnificent view of the fireworks but that is again a very touristy way to celebrate this day.
Another, expensive, alternative to the boats is the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, with a private reception with dinner and open bars. Then, the terrace on the 86th floor of this building allows a once-in-a-lifetime view of the fireworks display.
Every July 4th, Coney Island’s beach gets crowded with young people and families enjoying themselves between a dip in the ocean, a ride on one of the Luna Park rides, and a visit to the local aquarium. It is nice to take a walk on the promenade and along the sea, where you can find many stations with live music, spaces where to dance outdoors, performances by street artists and cartoon characters for children.
It is also fun to attend the hot dog contest held every year on the 4th of July at Nathan’s Hot Dog stand and which sees the most experienced ‘hot dog eaters’ compete in an exciting race to elect the one who can eat the most hot dogs in less time. It’s a bit disgusting but also fun to watch once.
July 4th is synonym to fireworks but also to BBQ.
The word barbecue (then abbreviated to BBQ) is part of the current English language, but its history is surrounded by legend.
The legend says that it was the Spanish explorers who discovered in the Caribbean a local tribe which used a very special cooking technique: they placed the meat on a wood-burning grill suspended over a brazier. This allowed the slow cooking of the meat and also offered the advantage of keeping food at a distance from wild animals. The tribe called their grill ‘barbacoa’.
Apparently the so typical American BBQ was born in the Caribbean!