Where NOT to watch the 4th of July Fireworks in NYC

Last week we gave you the 4 best places to watch the fireworks in NYC.  The list may have seemed a bit obvious, (ok, it was as obvious as it gets) but there were quite a few people who had asked for specifics (streets and tours) so we gave them.  And while many people may think that finding a spot to watch the fireworks is easy, don’t kid yourself.  There are many places that you may think are great for watching the show, but are either closed or have obstructed views.  So here is part II of our Where to Watch the Fireworks series: Where not to watch the 4th of July Fireworks in NYC:

Photo: Shutterstock

Battery Park

Battery Park has been put on the “not a viewing area” list.  Whether this means that the area will be closed to viewers or that the show won’t be able to be seen over the Financial District buildings doesn’t matter.  You just shouldn’t go there. (Battery Park City is also “not a viewing area”)

Hudson River Park Piers (except pier 84)

All Hudson River Park piers (except pier 84) will be closed during the fireworks show, so don’t try to find a spot there, either.  Yeah, it’d make for great viewing, but there’s no getting around the fact that they’re closed.  (Even if you’re feeling rebellious, don’t try to sneak into one of the piers.  You know security will be tight all day. You’ll just end up getting arrested, and a jail cell is definitely not a good place to watch the show.)

The East side of Manhattan

Maybe there’s a cool party on the east side or a bar with a great drink special, but heed this little piece of advice: There are some really tall buildings in New York.  If you find yourself a ground level on 2nd Avenue, you’re probably going to have an obstructed view of the show, at best.  This may seem obvious, but think about it while you’re making you plans.


Come on.  You’re thinking about watching from inside your apartment?  What’s the fun in that?  You don’t get to hear sounds of the crackling fireworks or feel the cool air of a summer night on your skin.  Maybe I’m romanticizing it a little bit, but the Fourth of July Fireworks show is more than just pretty lights in the sky.  You need to get all senses involved to fully capture the spirit of the night. (The exception to this rule is if you’re in a really tall, really cool building with big windows.  I bet the view from 60 stories up it awesome)

Ok, so you’re probably thinking to yourself that this list was obvious too, and it was.  Don’t stand behind big buildings or in places that it’s illegal to stand.  But it was still necessary to put out there.  You know that one of your friends will suggest watching from one of these locales, so if this helps even just a few people, I’ve done my job.  Enjoy the show and celebrate responsibly (since you’re probably working on Thursday).

(UPDATE: The High Line will close at 6 p.m. tomorrow, so don’t go there for the show)

Know of any terrible places in NYC to watch the fireworks? Or good one’s for that matter? Let us know in the comments!

**Correction: the original version of this blog stated that the Hudson River Piers were all closed, when in fact it was meant the the Hudson River Park Piers are closed. 


One comment

  1. I have heard that the fireworks in Chicago are really good, but we always thought that the Rhythm and Booms in Madison’s Warner Park, usually the Saturday before July 4th, was the best fireworks show that we have ever seen.

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