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MAP: Best Spots to Watch 4th of July Fireworks on East River, Rain or Shine

By Janet Upadhye | July 2, 2014 2:40pm | Updated on July 4, 2014 10:04am
 DNAinfo New York rounded up the best places — indoors and out — to view fireworks on the Fourth of July.
DNAinfo New York rounded up the best places — indoors and out — to view fireworks on the Fourth of July.
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DNAinfo /Jesse Ward

NEW YORK CITY — The forecast might be calling for showers, but the dreary weather doesn't have to dampen the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show's triumphant return to the East River — as DNAinfo New York has collected plenty of options to catch a glimpse of the spectacle, rain or shine.

From a rooftop bar in Long Island City with full view of the East River, to the riverfront views of the South Street Seaport, there's no shortage of good vantage points of Macy’s annual extravaganza, both indoors and out.

After five years on the Hudson River, this year's fireworks show will be launched from barges along the lower East River and from platforms on the Brooklyn Bridge, giving viewers in Lower Manhattan, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights front row seats to the show.

Macy's officials promised that showers — driven our way by Tropical Storm Arthur — won't stop the event. But they could postpone the start time slightly.

"Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will take place rain or shine,” a spokesman for Macy’s said in a statement, adding that they'll work closely with the city to watch out for dangerous conditions like lightning. "If severe conditions exist, we may delay the start of the event until that weather has passed.”

Here are the best places to view fireworks on the Fourth of July:


Piers 1 to 6 Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights

The park will provide spectacular views of the river and the fireworks show. Viewers can enter on Old Fulton and Furman streets, Joralemon and Furman streets or Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street.

Note that no alcohol or chairs are allowed. Police will be checking bags at park entrances. Squibb Park and Bridge will be closed. Parking will be extremely limited so consider taking the subway, bus or ferry. The park is open until 1 a.m.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn Heights

This popular walkway above Brooklyn Bridge Park and the BQE is the site of spectacular views of Lower Manhattan and the East River and will be the perfect spot to catch the Fourth of July fireworks. There is limited space so get there early for a good spot.

Guests can enter on Columbia Heights and Pineapple Street, Montague and Pierrepont streets or Pierrepont and Remsen streets. The promenade is considered a public park so no drinking is allowed.

Grand Ferry Park, Williamsburg

This small Williamsburg park, located at Grand and River streets, was once a ferry landing on the edge of the river. Located near the former Domino Sugar Factory, this spot will give viewers a clear look at the fireworks display. There is a manicured pathway where visitors can stand and small strips of lawn for sitting. For a lucky few, waterfront benches are available for lounging and taking in the view.

East River Park, Williamsburg

This 7-acre waterfront park provides plenty of space to bring a blanket and picnic and see the full fireworks show on the river. Located on Kent Avenue between N. 7th and N. 10th, East River Park also has barbecue areas, picnic tables and benches.

Berry Park, Williamsburg

This bar, located at 4 Berry St. in Williamsburg, has a 100-seat rooftop bar with indoor and outdoor seating options. In case of rain, viewers can get cozy under a glass enclosure and still see views of the show. Berry Park also offers 14 beers on a tap, a premium liquor selection and traditional German and American fare with stunning city views. There is no cover, but the bar is first-come, first-served so get there early.


Z Hotel, Long Island City

The Z Hotel, located at 11-01 43rd Ave., is hosting a “Red, White & View the 4th of July Fireworks” party at the rooftop bar. The bar has sweeping views of the East River, Queensboro Bridge and Manhattan skyline with cozy seating and yummy cocktails. For $166, guests get full BBQ fare including ribs, burgers, grilled veggies, salad and fruit plus two July-themed cocktails. Kids can enjoy the same, sans cocktails, for $66. The party starts at 3 p.m. and goes until 10:30 p.m. Tickets are required.

Gantry Plaza State Park, Long Island City

This 12-acre riverside oasis, located at 4-09 47th Rd., offers unobstructed views of the East River. Some lounge chairs and benches may be available and there is an expansive lawn perfect for a blanket picnic. The park also has four piers where viewers can look directly out onto the river. Grills of any kind and cooking are prohibited in the park.


South Street Seaport and FDR Drive, Lower Manhattan

There will be clear views of the fireworks, and multiple public viewing areas on elevated portions, all along the FDR Drive between Montgomery and South streets. Two Macy’s barges, which will launch some of the fireworks, will be parked in the East River near Old Slip and Fulton Streets, making this strip of Lower Manhattan one of the best places in the city to view the show. 

Viewing areas open at 4 p.m. Spectators are not allowed to bring large backpacks, lawn chairs, lawn blankets, umbrellas, large coolers or alcoholic beverages to the viewing areas, according to the NYPD.

Piers 15-17 are not public viewing areas, according to Macy’s.

The Manhattan entry ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge

There are great places to view the show on both the north and south side of the Brooklyn Bridge, according to the Macy’s website. Enter from St. James Place/Pearl Street to Wagner Place to grab a spot. There is also and access point at the Manhattan entry to the Brooklyn Bridge between St. James and Wagner Places.

The Water Club, Kips Bay

There isn’t a bad view at this seafood restaurant located on the East River at 500 E. 30th St. In the event of rain, there’s a good chance The Water Club might be full, but it might be worth the chance for this eatery’s spectacular views and rooftop bar. Reservations are required.

Bentley Hotel, Upper East Side

This hotel's rooftop bar, at 500 E. 62nd St., with panoramic views of Manhattan and the East River, is a relaxing place to view the show. There is indoor seating in case of rain and lounge couches outdoors if it turns out to be a dry night.

Those looking for a more exclusive viewing party with booze can enjoy drinks and a three-course meal at Prime, the Kosher restaurant atop the Bentley Hotel, for $130 per person. Reservations are required.

Murry Bergtraum High School Track and Field Facility, Lower Manhattan

Located at Market and Cherry Streets, this location is open to the public and situated directly between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.

And there's always the fallback:

If you'd rather skip the crowds and stick closer to home, DNAinfo New York has you covered with the best decoration suppliers, drink and food recipes — and no-cook options — for hosting a fabulous Fourth of July party on any budget.

To stay up to date on any Fourth of July changes, check Macy's website before heading out the door or call the store's dedicated Fireworks hotline at 212-494-4495.