Nothing says 4th of July revelry like fireworks bursting overhead, and no destination does Independence Day pyrotechnics better than New York City. Now in its 40th year, Macy's plays host to the nation's largest 4th of July fireworks display, illuminating the evening skies above the East River this year. Here's everything you need to know about making the most out of the 2016 celebration:
When are the Macy's 4th of July fireworks happening?
The fireworks show is scheduled for Monday, July 4, 2016, at around 9:20pm.
The spectacle will last for about 25 minutes. Come early to snag a good spot and to beat the thickening crowds at the official viewing points as the evening progresses. Note that the designated access points will be closed by the NYPD as viewing areas fill up, and spectators will be redirected accordingly. Be sure to give yourself extra time to work your way into and out of the crowds.
Where can I see the 4th of July fireworks?
The display extends to two locations this year along the East River, and will be visible from East River shoreline fronting Manhattan (especially along the Midtown-fronted sections of the FDR Drive and in the South Street Seaport district), Queens (Long Island City ranks tops), and Brooklyn (try Brooklyn Bridge Park).
The fireworks will be fired from four barges positioned on the river south of 37th Street in Midtown, and there will also be a larger barge parked just below the Brooklyn Bridge.
For the best viewing of the Midtown barges from within Manhattan, head to the elevated sections of the FDR Drive. In Queens and Brooklyn, make way for any part of the riverfront with unobstructed views of the sky, with particularly good viewing in Long Island City and Greenpoint.
To catch the displays from the double-barge positioned just below the Brooklyn Bridge, head to the shores of the East River in lower Manhattan, including the South Street Seaport district.
The Brooklyn waterfront along the lower East River, especially in Brooklyn Bridge Park, also offers prime viewing.
The event organizers advise to skip the following areas, where viewing won't be optimized: Battery Park and Battery Park City; Roosevelt Island; and, in Queens, Hunter’s Point South Park.
How can I get to the Macy's 4th of July fireworks?
Take the subway! See How to Get to Macy's 4th of July Fireworks for tips and advice on how to best get to the firework viewing points.
How many fireworks will there be in 2016?
More than 56,000 pyrotechnic shells and effects – in more than 20 different colors – are planned in this year's 25-minute spectacle. That works out to about a whopping 2,200 shells per minute for 2016's display, which will be synchronized to patriotic music.
New fireworks for this year are set to include "multicolored transformation ghosts, blue jellyfish, happy face with blinking eyes, blooming strobing rings, screaming wizards, pastel strobes, and double palm trees."
What other kind of entertainment can I expect at the Macy's 4th of July fireworks event?
The fireworks are, of course, the main attraction, but they'll be shot off and choreographed to an arrangement of patriotic tunes, which will feature performances from The United States Air Force Band.
Grammy- and Tony-Award winner, Jennifer Holliday will also sing America the Beautiful. There typically aren't any speakers installed in the public viewing areas, however, so if you can, you'll need to tune into NBC TV, which will be broadcasting the score in sync with the event.
Can't make it to the event?
NBC will broadcast the fireworks spectacular during a TV special (starting at 8pm ET), hosted by TODAY show co-hosts Willie Geist and Tamron Hall, along with televised performances from Pitbull, Kenny Chesney, Meghan Trainor, and 5 Seconds of Summer.
For more info on the 40th annual Macy’s 4th of July fireworks, visit macys.com/fireworks or call 212/494-4495.