NYC summer is in full effect for 2021, and that of course means the city is ready to celebrate the Fourth of July in style. The Macy’s Fireworks are back, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest returns with a live audience, but that’s just the beginning of Fourth of July family fun for 2021.

2021 Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

Roven Images via Unsplash

Yes, the Macy's Fireworks are back for 2021. The theme of the 45th annual pyrotechnic display is "United We Celebrate", honoring everyday heroes in communities across the country. Macy's promises a boffo 25-minute show, set off from barges in the East River, with new firework effects like rainbows, red and blue jellyfish and more. And yes, if you want to see them in person, you can. 

Viewing spots will be divided into "vaccinated" and "non-vaccinated" areas (which, admittedly is complicated if you have a child who is not yet eligible for the vaccine). For the vaccinated, there will be public viewing stands along the elevated portion of FDR Drive, with entrances at East 23rd, East 34th and East 42nd Streets. (Special needs and ADA entrance is at 34th Street.) Unvaccinated members of the public can view from spots along the Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan waterfronts—check Macy's website for updates on locations. 

The fireworks will be accompanied by The United States Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus, a rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by Broadway Inspirational Voices,  "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Tori Kelly.  The broadcast will include live music performances from acts like the Black Pumas, OneRepublic, Coldplay, Reba McEntire, and others. 

Catch the show live on NBC, from 8-10 p.m. on Saturday, July 4. 


Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Josh G. via Yelp

Last year's competitive eating event was closed to the public, but you can catch this contest for the "Mustard Belt" in person if you really want to. (Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis  with doors opening at 10 a.m. and the event starting at 10:45 a.m.) Reigning  male champion Joey Chestnut returns (he broke a record in 2020, consuming 75 dogs and buns) but female champ Miki Sudo is sitting this one out because she's pregnant. (Seems wise.) The event is held at Maimonides Park (home of the Brooklyn Cyclones), not far from Nathan's Famous flagship at Surf and Stillwell Avenues. You can catch the action live on ESPN3 at 10:45 (women's) and ESPN at noon (men's). 


Fireworks at Coney Island

Creative Commons

Coney Island will also be hosting a fireworks display on July 4. (You can catch fireworks every Friday throughout the summer at Coney Island.)

Sun., July 4, 9:15
Surf & Stillwell Avenues

Fireworks at Jones Beach


The Jones Beach fireworks are back!  WALK 97.5 FM and KJOY-98.3 FM will simulcast music during the fireworks presentation, which kicks off at 9:30 p.m.

Sun., July 4, 9:30 p.m.
Tickets: $10
Jones Beach State Park 
2400 Ocean Pkwy.
Wantagh, NY


Fourth of July Celebration at Fort Hamilton

4th of July, Summer, holiday
Zuza Gałczyńska on Unsplash

This annual tradition is back after a year off. (Note that it's on July 2, not the actual Fourth.) The celebration includes live music from Raine Torae, 1 Wild Night, The Force M.D.’s and Heshima Moja, as well as a fireworks display. 

Fri., July 2, 4 - 9:30 p.m.
Tickets: $5; Department of Defense and community club holders/free admission
101st Street & Fort Hamilton Pkwy
Fort Hamilton

Play President at the New-York Historical Society

The Magic House

The Fourth of July seems a good day to learn about the presidents and snap a photo in a replica of the Oval Office. Meet the Presidents and the Oval Office looks at how the role of the president has evolved since George Washington. Visitors walk in the footsteps of presidents and into a recreation of the Oval Office—complete with audio excerpts of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon and a Resolute Desk replica. Complementing the Oval Office, the Meet the Presidents Gallery features historical footage, artworks, and unique artifacts like the George Washington inaugural bible that further illustrate the powers and responsibilities of the executive branch.

You must buy a ticket in advance online. 

170 Central Park West (at 77th Street)
Upper West Side

Get Down with The Rock & Roll Playhouse at Industry City

Rock & Roll Playhouse

The little kids' dance party is back and will be raging all summer long at Brooklyn's Industry City. Saturday, July 3 brings the music of the Grateful Dead. Other artists in the spotlight this month include The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel and Tom Petty. 

Tickets: $5
Every Sat., 12:30 p.m.
274 36th St. 
Industry City
Sunset Park 

Have Some Barnyard Fun at Harbes Family Farm

Harbes Family Farm

Head to Harbes all weekend (and Monday, too) for summer fun at its tricked-out barnyard. The special weekend has live music, pig races, and musical hayride tours of the 100-acre farm. Plus: tons of cute animals, Bunnyville, a giant Gnome Maze, a chick and bee observatory, a canna flower field, homemade ice cream and lots more! 

Tickets: $21.95
Sat.-Mon., July 3-5
715 Sound Ave. 
Mattituck, NY

Visit the Statue of Liberty

Mimi O'Connor

Yes, the Statue is open on July 4!

And, from July 1 - 6, for just six days, a miniature, nine-foot bronze model of the Statue of Liberty, created from the original 1878 plaster mold, will be on display on Ellis Island. 

The Statue of Liberty Museum (which opened in 2019 and is located on Liberty Island), is full of interactive elements and artifacts spread out over 26,000 square feet. Take a virtual "flight" through the interior of the statue, "visit" the warehouse where Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi built the Statue of Liberty, and see the original torch of the statue up close!  

Prices start at $23.50. Reserve tickets online in advance here. Tickets get you admission to both Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty Museum and the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. 


111th Travis Fourth of July Parade

via Unsplash

A tradition on Staten Island since 1911, this parade is one of the country's oldest Independence Day celebrations. This 4th of July tradition started in 1911 in the town of Travis and continues to march on, from P.S. 26 and the Showplace Entertainment Center (141 East Service Rd.). Grand Marshall this year is Joan Guerra. Historically, the parade has included a little bit of everything including clowns, bands, classic cars and firetrucks. Masks and social distancing is requested. Kickoff ceremony is at Noon, the parade begins at 12:30.


Sing Some Sea Chanteys

Did you hop on the sea chantey trend in 2020? The South Street Seaport has been hosting sea chantey singing for years, and the activity moved online during the pandemic. Now, you can join every month virtually. The July 4 event with feature patriotic songs in celebration of Independence Day from members of The New York Packet and others. It's free—you must sign up here to receive the Zoom link 24 hours prior.

Sun., July 4, 2 p.m.
Sea Chanteys and Maritime Music Live Sing-Along

—Mimi O’Connor

feature image: iStock


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