NEW YORK — All across the city, New Yorkers celebrated the July 4th holiday by firing up the grills, putting on their red, white and blue and gathering in the city's parks and waterfronts to mark Independence Day.
Brian Spain, 30, of the Upper West Side, said he liked the 4th of July for an unconventional reason — because it opened up his fashion options.
"Fourth of July means I get to wear red white and blue, and I never wear red on a normal day," said Spain, who had a day of festivities planned.
"We're going to Coney Island for the hot dog thing, and we're all vegetarians so its a little ironic," he added, saying he planned to follow up the processed-meat-gorging tradition with a calming trip to the Hudson River's Boat Basin Café near 79th Street for the evening's fireworks, "because it doesn't get too crowded there."
Washington Heights resident Ray Amell, 26, said he was a fan because, "summer means barbecues, the beach, and fireworks. That's what it's about."
"To me, the Fourth of July marks the start of the summer," Amell said.
Union Square resident Nick Sanford, 20, said Independence Day holiday made him think of his relatives.
"I think of family a lot, because they're in North Carolina. I think the Fourth of July is a celebration of the community on a small scale, and a celebration of the country on a larger scale. People get together to celebrate the same thing," Sanford said.
Even those who were only a recent visitor to the city — or the country — got in on the excitement.
Semona Asmenskaita, 20, who was visiting NYC from Lithuania, said, "I'm just visiting, but I'm so happy that America got its Independence. People are free, their minds are free, they can go where they want to go, and do what they want to do. It's a great day."