Between the rooftop barbecues, spectacular fireworks display over the East River, park-side picnics, and Coney Island’s famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, few celebrations compare to a Fourth of July spent in the city. In honor of the holiday, we asked members of the Citi Habitats community to share their Independence Day memories and traditions.
My favorite New York 4th of July tradition is having a barbecue with friends and family every year at my grandmother’s house. This has been a wonderful family tradition for the past 15 years. Each year we meet at my grandmother’s house in Bed-Stuy and celebrate the holiday together with delicious food and plenty of drinks. Later that night we watch the fireworks display from the roof of her building.
My personal NY tradition for the 4th is to go upstate to the beautiful Lake George region (only about 3.5 hours outside of the city) and watch the fireworks over Lake George, which has been dubbed the Queen of American Lakes. The Adirondack region of upstate is chock full of American history, and it’s a time for me to reflect on how we started as a nation, and to enjoy life out in nature and explore places outside of the city. There’s nothing better than grilling outside and enjoying beautiful fireworks over the water and the mountains with friends and family.
Ever since I moved to Brooklyn seven years ago, I started watching the fireworks from a rooftop. It’s always nice to get a couple of my closest friends together to watch one of the most spectacular fireworks shows in the country. Every year they do not fail to put on a wonderful show. As you pass through different NYC neighborhoods on the 4th of July you see all different types of people heading to the water to watch the fireworks. For those couple of hours no one is concerned about everything else is that is going on in the world—they are fully focused on their families and the awesome experience that the fireworks create.
We watch the fireworks every year on a boat. There is nothing like watching the colors on the water with family.
I think it’s fun to stay in Greenpoint because so many people travel here to see the fireworks and there’s an excitement in the air. The show is epic from almost anywhere in this neighborhood. It was raining one year, but I had a great view from my fire escape. Obviously if you can get on a roof deck, it’ll be incredible. But come early and don’t think of driving because there’s no parking and tons of traffic right before the show. That reminds me, I need to find a parking spot now…
My favorite July 4th tradition was going to a local cemetery with my parents to watch the fireworks. It was up on a hill so we’d sit on the trunk of our car and take in the view, and it was so loud it could wake the dead!
As a child and as an adult my favorite place to be for the 4th of July is on Fire Island (where no cars are allowed). Every year they have a wagon parade where parents help children decorate Radio Flyer wagons in all different themes. Military Veterans from Fire Island lead the parade as they travel through the town of Ocean Beach showing off their homemade wagons. It is a super fun and festive way to celebrate the holiday!
I love watching the fireworks in DUMBO with my friends and family. It’s not only a great view of the bridge but the city skyline as well. I especially enjoy capturing the holiday energy and views with my camera. If you go, get there early so you can secure a spot on the lawn.