Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July in New York City

Our main goal on our first Fourth of July in New York City was to watch the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks. This year the fireworks took place over the Hudson River in honor of Henry Hudson's voyage 400 years ago. The fireworks were set off from six barges between 24th and 50th Streets, and during the day we tried to scout out some viewing locations. We finally decided on Pier 54, since it's in short walking distance from our apartment and we just happen to like this pier. During the day, the NYPD were already on every street from 13th Street all the way to probably the last barge. We saw them obviously checking for bombs on Pier 54. Oddly, that didn't make us feel quite as nervous as the prospect of either not getting onto the Pier or the horrific crowd. We got to Pier 54 at around 8:00 PM and it was the perfect time as it wasn't too far in advance of the 9:20 fireworks showtime (thereby allowing us to bypass the nasty porta potties) and we made it just in time to get some prime seats on the ground by the barricade. We also got to watch the sky's changing colors while waiting for the fireworks.

We saw so many families, probably from all parts of this world, huddled together on this Pier. Then we started to see the different boats, water taxis, and ships taking their prime water spots (and that might have been great for us if not for the $100 to $250 price tag). The fireworks show started slightly past 9:20 PM and lasted for over 25 minutes. Apparently this year's fireworks show was eight times more high-level than last year's show. It was a stunning work of art in the night sky. It's amazing how they put this show together. We will never forget this night.

The fireworks included red, white and blue stars, happy faces, dice, shooting stars, and what looked like colorful Pollock paint splatters on the sky's black canvas. Our favorites were the fireworks that buzzed around in different directions. It was too hard to capture the full breath of the images with our camera.

Although we were still a bit far away from the actual location, we were so surprised at how good our views were from 13th Street. People with great rooftop spots on the West side, or the few 250 people that were able to get their spots on top of the Empire State Building must have had breathtaking views. But when we think about our experience being gathered together with all those New Yorkers and tourists on that Pier, it makes us glad that we chose the spot that we did. And it was FREE. One thing we wished was that we could have heard the New York pops performing the musical scores synchronized to the fireworks - we're not sure exactly which location that took place but it must have been a goosey skin experience.

The fireworks show felt like it only lasted 3 minutes because we selfishly wanted it to last longer. The NYPD did a fantastic job with crowd control, and before we knew it, we were at the Pizza truck on our way home.

$7 for two slices of our favorite oily comfort food.

One we got home, we ended our first fourth with a nice $6 BOTTLE of Pinot and Star Wars and Beetlejuice. The one thing we missed today was Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest held on the corner of Surf & Stillwell avenues in Coney Island. Joey Chestnut defeated his rival Takeru (Tsunami) Kobayashi for the third year, beating him with 68 hot dogs in just 10 minutes (Kobayashi finished 64.5 hot dogs). We would have gone there if the subway ride to and from Coney Island wasn't so miserable.