July 4th - Macy's Fireworks Photo Tour

Location
34th Street & FDR Drive - overlooking the East River
Admission

Free

Hours

Fireworks begin around 9:30pm

Subway

Grand Central Station, Penn Station

Additional Information

The following are recommended:

  • Walking Shoes
  • Blanket
  • Light Folding Chair
  • Food and drinks

Come early to the FDR drive as they shut the entrances down when the drives fills up: no later than 7:30pm. enter at 23rd, 34th, and 42nd street entrances to the drive. Good viewing is possible down to Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport.

By comparison, sitting in an air-conditioned car, waiting for the exit line to move, far more boring than surging with the crowds to the subway. And normally you are well prepared for the suburban fireworks. Also, helpful hints for attending the Macy's Fireworks on the East River as viewed from the FDR Drive.


These are photos from about 34th Street, the most northern position of the three or four barges. I utilized a tripod, several rolls of 35mm film, and several hours of my time.

The fireworks begin around 9:30 and you arrive about 7:30 or else you may not be allowed on the FDR. Bring a blanket.

The police barriers make sure a clear lane is available on the city side of the drive at all times.

Those with apartments facing the river must feel obliged to hold parties. Before the show and after the lights become important after dark.

34th Street, our position on the FDR Drive, is also the home of the Empire State Building at 5th Avenue.

No one sits during the 30 minute show. This is not a problem as you will be sitting around for at least one or two hours before the show starts at 9:30.

Unfortunately, someone seems to think we need loud music to watch fireworks.

Water and sani-cans:
It may be hot and you need to bring liquids to drink. Keep in mind the path to the bathroom may be a long one.

If you have a light folding chair, it's not a bad idea. You will have to carry it a longer distance than you had thought. Keep weight to a minimum. After the show get rid of any weight you can as you may have an hour+ wait to get to and onto a bus or subway. Don't even think about a taxi.

Parking on the street is not for those without endless patience. Parking lots are already full from local people. No easy exit exists. Be prepared to take an hour or so. The restaurants will all be crowded too.

Parking on the street is not for those without endless patience. Parking lots are already full from local people. No easy exit exists. Be prepared to take an hour or so. The restaurants will all be crowded too.

Be patient, it's your only hope. You will, however, find people are in a good mood and everyone has a good time talking along the way.

Wear your walking shoes. You may end up walking to Grand Central Station on 42nd and Lex. from 34th or below, or Penn Station on 7th Avenue and 34th. It can be manby times faster than waiting for a bus with room for you.

Photos by Richard Pearlman © 2004

Photo Tour of Macy's July 4th Fireworks

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