I went to see the 4th of July fireworks in NYC (twice)

Going to see the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks was a dream of mine , which is why it’s number 42 on my New York City bucket list. So many great events happen in NYC, from the ball drop on New Years’s Eve, to the Thanksgiving Parade, I think there is something about seeing these great events happen on TV that make you say “I want to experience that in person!”. Well, I’ve attempted it twice, and this year I finally had success! Here’s all the details:


Last year we attempted to see the fireworks, but failed (I will explain). After doing our research we knew that one of the best spot’s to view the fireworks with the Manhattan skyline in the background (aka the best spot to take photos) would be in Long Island City, Queens, since the fireworks were on the East River.

(This was for last year. It shows the locations of the barges the fireworks come from. I believe this year’s locations were the same.)

Macy's 4th of July fireworks

We got to our spot on one of the piers in Gantry State Park, just down the way from that giant Long Island City sign. It was a hot 82 degrees and sunny, and we had our spots secured! The spot we were at even required us to go through a few security checkpoints where they gave us wrist bands to assure we could re-enter if we had to leave for a little while.

Long Island City, Queens

Long Island City, Queens

We saw Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan drive up on a golf cart and head over to the media to be interviewed.

Gloria Estefan, 4th of July, NYC

Gloria Estefan, 4th of July, NYC


We sat there for hours and hours waiting for the big moment that night. Unfortunately dehydration or heat exhaustion got to me and I got really sick about an hour before the big show. Sadly we had to leave and we missed the fireworks entirely. I was really disappointment.

In these photos you can see it was beginning to get dark and the NYPD and FDNY boats were securing the area.

View of Manhattan from Queens

4th of July, NYC

We left feeling disappointment. After sitting there all day, to miss out on the fireworks by an hour. I knew that we would attempt this again though….


This year we decided we would get a hotel room in Manhattan and would try our best to get a room only a couple blocks from the fireworks so we could just walk there right before, instead of waiting outside for hours in the heat. We ended up booking a room at The Westin Grand Central. The staff was so friendly, they upgraded our room to one with a view, and wow, was it a view!! We had a corner room so we had a few windows and a huge viewing point. We could see the East River, the Empire State Building and if you looked up almost behind us you could see the Chrysler building. You could see all the way down to the Brooklyn Bridge, and then the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island!

42nd Street (see The Westin on the left)

The Westin Grand Central, NYC

The views out our window:

That is the East River on the left.

Manhattan, NYC

In the distance you could see the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge, it’s hard to tell in this iPhone photo, but it was pretty clear to the naked eye.

Manhattan, NYC

The beautiful Empire State Building!

Empire State Building, Manhattan

If you looked up and behind our window you can see the Chrysler Building.

The Chrysler Building, NYC

The evening of the 4th, it started to rain a bit and it was muggy and warm. Around 8pm we looked out our window and saw the Macy’s barge in place ready for the fireworks. At that moment we realized we were good to stay in our room and watch the fireworks from here! I’m not a fan of the heat, so this was a huge bonus for me!

Macy's 4th of July fireworks, NYC

The Empire State Building lit up in Red White and Blue for Independence Day.

Empire State Building on 4th of July, 2016

As the fireworks went off we could see them going off all over Queens, Brooklyn and on the East River. Part of the East River fireworks were obstructed by buildings surrounding us, but it was amazing to be sitting there in front of the window in my PJ’s watching.

Macy's 4th of July fireworks, NYC, 2016

Macy's 4th of July fireworks, NYC, 2016

Macy's 4th of July fireworks, NYC, 2016

Here is a video I shot on my iPhone from our window at The Westin. It was magical!

It was an amazing experience! If you are thinking of going to see the fireworks in NYC, don’t let the crowds hold you back from getting to experience this! Getting a hotel room with a view is a great option for families with small children, or if you hate the heat like me! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this post! As always, thanks for stopping by to read about my New York City adventures.

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