Our birth right is, we feel, to celebrate our nation’s birth with fireworks. Before you drive to Pennsylvania to smuggle in bottle rockets, remember: your neighbors could get $1000 for snitching on your illicit celebration. Leave the pyrotechnics to the professionals and enjoy them from many locations on the West Side Highway—for the 4th year in a row Macy’s opted for the Hudson River—or select viewing locations in Brooklyn. According to The Brooklyn Paper, here are prime Brooklyn viewing spots:
East River State Park (90 Kent Ave. between N. 13th and N. 14th streets in Williamsburg); Grand Ferry Park (Grand Street at River Street in Williamsburg); Transmitter Park (Greenpoint Avenue at West Street in Greenpoint); 69th Street Veterans Memorial Pier (Shore Road at Bay Ridge Avenue in Gravesend).
Can’t deal with the Macy’s hype? Brooklyn Cyclones host fireworks after each Friday night home game and this week fireworks will additionally be shown on July 2, July 4, July 6, and July 7. Tickets to games are significantly less expensive than tickets to see their big brothers in Queens. You don’t have to actually attend a game to enjoy the fireworks. Watching from the boardwalk when the game ends–around 9:30pm–is the cherry on top of a date at the beach.
Other than fireworks, how do you celebrate the Fourth? Bring a picnic lunch to Prospect Park–or pick up fresh snacks from the Wednesday Greenmarket held at Bartel-Pritchard Circle–and enjoy the park’s many attractions. Additionally, Prospect Park hosts family friendly 4th of July activities at Lefferts Historic House and the Audubon Center.
Eagle as Icon—1pm to 3pm, free
The bald eagle has been our national bird since 1782 and is one of America’s most recognizable icons. Learn more about the role the eagle’s image has played in shaping our nation’s identity through a panel exhibit and fun nature craft.
Lefferts Histoirc House
Declare Indepenance—1pm to 4pm, free
Celebrate America’s birthday and one of the greatest documents ever written. Look extra patriotic as you make yourself a plumed hat to wear while signing your own “John Hancock” on a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence.
Freedom Walk—1pm to 4pm, free
On July 4th, 1827, slavery was abolished in New York State. For many years this event was marked with annual celebrations. Revive this tradition by listening to stories of the struggle for African-American freedom, making your own Emancipation Day button, and strutting proudly in celebration as they did back then.
If you have to work Tuesday and Thursday and want to save the real celebration for the weekend, then Celebrate Brooklyn!
July 7—Souad Massi and Simon Shaheen
Is there a kind of music Souad Massi can’t rock? She has toured the world since being censored out of Algiers. Her performance Saturday will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Algiers Independence. Violin wizard Simon Shaheen brings us a taste of Palestine.
July 8—Sweet Honey in the Rock
This performance honors Brooklyn’s Ezra Jack Keats. Sweet Honey in the Rock, an a capella, female troupe incorporate traditionally African American music and meshes perfectly with Keats. This may be the only band to travel with what appears to be their own American Sign Language interpreter.