UPDATE 7/4: I’m now getting additional conflicting information on the Riverside Park South area. A representative from the Riverside Park Fund told me it would be open, while another source e-mailed me to confirm that their contact at the Parks Department is “adamant” it will close. I believe there my be some confusion between the two groups as to what technically constitutes “Riverside Park South.” I’m now wondering if perhaps portions of the Hudson River Greenway in the West 60s might be closed, leaving just the northern part of Riverside Park South open.
I apologize for any confusion this may be causing, but different sources are providing different information. At this point, I feel confident the area north of 70th Street/Pier I will be open, but it’s conceivable you may run into problems trying to access areas south (59th to 69th) after 4:00 pm.
One more alternative location you may want to consider checking out is Riverside Boulevard in the lower 60s.
UPDATE 7/3: An earlier version of this post cited incorrect information indicating Riverside Park South would be closed after 4:00 pm. That is NOT the case — Riverside Park South WILL be open to the public. It’s possible that police may close Pier I (or any other confined space) at some point if they feel as though it’s at capacity, but you shouldn’t have any problem lining up along the river.
Tomorrow night the 36th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Show will return to the Hudson River for the fourth consecutive year.
The official start time for the show is 9:00 pm, although I think in reality it tends to be closer to 9:20ish. The fireworks run approximately 25 minutes.
However, unlike previous years, it appears as though optimal views from the Upper West Side may be slightly limited this time.
While last year’s show included six barges on the Hudson River, stretching from 20th to 55th Streets, this year there will only be four, positioned between 18th & 43rd Streets.
The reduction in barges, combined with the more southern positioning, could leave some Upper West Side spectators disappointed compared to other years.
At least one source indicated that views from north of 59th Street would be diminished.
In previous years, the Riverside Park South area has been a go-to spot for neighborhood viewing.
2010 is the only year I actually watched from the park and it was a pretty good experience.
We entered the Hudson River Greenway via the Boat Basin around 8:15 pm and walked south to Pier I, where it was a total zoo. The pier itself was closed, so we turned back north and settled somewhere in the low-70s. Some people were sitting in folding chairs they had brought, and it looked like they had been there for hours. However, there was still plenty of standing room available at about 8:30 or so (at least in 2010).
My advice is to enter Riverside Park somewhere between 79th and 72nd and grab the first standing-room spot you find.
It’s hard to know just how much views from the park may be affected by the new barge locations. If that’s a concern for you, the primary pedestrian viewing spot is from the West Side Highway, which will be closed to vehicular traffic starting at 4:30 pm. If you want a good spot there, you’ll need to plan on arriving early.
The northbound side will be closed from 23rd – 57th Streets; the southbound side from 79th – 23rd. They’re expected to remain closed until approximately 1:00 am (or “until cleanup is complete”).
Macys.com has a list of pedestrian access points to the highway. The northernmost one appears to be 57th Street.
I could swear that in previous years people were able to walk on at 72nd Street, but I may be mistaken about that.
If you prefer not to deal with crowds, I suggest ordering Chinese food and watching the festivities on NBC.
If you’ve got an iPhone, there’s an app for the show.
(Click for full-size)
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Tags: 2012 Macy's Fireworks, 4th of July, 4th of July Fireworks, Fireworks, Fourth of July, Free, Independence Day, Macy's, Macy's Fireworks, New York City, NYC, Riverside Park, Riverside Park South, Upper West Side, UWS