Saturday, July 4, 2009

Seeing the Fireworks From Brooklyn (Updated for 2011)

This is a compilation of Brooklyn fireworks viewing research we've done since the city started showing the fireworks in the Hudson River. UPDATED for 2011, see below. (Link to 2012 here.)

So this year New York City's Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will take place over the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan, instead of over Brooklyn (the East River) as usual. We are told that this is to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's journey up the Hudson, but we all know by now that darker forces must be at work.

New Jersey, nearly paralyzed with the thought of huge, roving bands of revelers, has prohibited almost everything (rooftop parties, barbecues, small, wimpy-looking dogs) and New York City has banned viewing from Battery Park, the Hudson River Park Promenade and bike path, along with all the piers.

We've decided it's safest to just stay put in Brooklyn.

Macy's claims that their new fireworks can go up to 1,000 feet high, which would still be visible here, so as a public service we scouted out some Brooklyn viewing locations that, while half-assed, might still be better than going to Manhattan.

• The obvious first choice for viewing the fireworks from Brooklyn is to find some friend who lives in a tall building not too far from the water. Below is the field of vision viewable from a friend's 27th story apartment on Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights. The barges will line up in the Hudson from 23rd to 50th Streets, so if you can see the Empire State Building, you're in the right ball park.

• This next view is what you'll see from the north end of Fulton Ferry-Empire State Park in Dumbo, just north of the Manhattan Bridge. It's hard to tell what we're looking at here -- we suspect the sky viewable from here may be a bit north of the fireworks. You may have to try heading a bit north of this spot to get a better line of sight.

• When the fireworks were in the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian walkway was closed. We called the city and asked if the walkway was open this year -- the most they could tell us was that they had no information about it. We take that as meaning the bridge is fair game.

This next view is from the east end of the Brooklyn Bridge. You can see the right section of sky, but the cables are annoying.

• Here's a nice patch of clear sky right near the east tower on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. You can see the Empire State Building so you know you're looking the right way.

You can walk over to the west tower viewing area as well, but that, technically, puts you in Manhattan.

• The bike path on the Manhattan Bridge is another possibility. (The bike path is on the north side of the bridge while the pedestrian path is on the south side. We're thinking you want to be on the north side.)

• Even better: East River State Park in Willliamsburg offers a straight across view, unobstructed by tall buildings or bridges. Here's what you'll see (that's the Empire State Building right of center):

If you live near Williamsburg this is probably the best place to be.

Any more Brooklyn fireworks viewing ideas?

- Yassky: Fireworks Should Remain At Their 'Rightful Home'

Photos by MK Metz
Go to McBrooklyn's HOME PAGE.


sarah said...

thanks for this. i'm irritated it'll be difficult to see them from our borough this year, but your resourcefulness is a little uplifting!! i shared a link to this post on my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

Yea poor Brooklyn...I'm pist too. Do you think you can see them from Rosev. Isl ??

bj said...

Usually we go to the Promenade, but we're wondering if the fireworks can be seen over the bridges?

Anonymous said...

bj, not likely. Not only the bridge, but too many tall buildings in the way. If you're lucky, you'll see maybe the tops of the tallest fireworks.

WristieLove said...

This is annoying to say the least considering we're in route from Brooklyn to Battery Park now! Thanks so much for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

The fireworks have only been in the East River since the bicentennial in 1976. For the first 20 years that Macy's was running the program, they were in the Hudson.

Whose to say what's "usual?"

Anonymous said...

1985(?) they were over the Statue of Liberty for some historical reason.

Anonymous said...

Now you know how we in NJ feel every year! not being able to fully view the fireworks, so lame. Now we have an oppertunity to have it on the hudson once again.
I always thought they should keep the fireworks by the statue of liberty so everyone can see.

To my ppl on the other side od the Island.. Stop bitchin and watch it on TV like we in NJ did for so many years. Happy and healthy 4th!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if its possible to see the fireworks from the brooklyn side of the williamsburg bridge?

Abe said...

The people of Brooklyn should not have to watch it on TV like NJ didfor so many years. The Macy's Fireworks are a NYC event and should be shared with NYC's boroughs, with no concern for what NJ can see.

NYC money should be spent on NYC residents.

NJ ... get your own gimmick. Be your own state.

Anonymous said...

181 Smith St
(between Warren St & Wyckoff St)
Brooklyn, NY 11201

(718) 596-9663 please do not shop @ these store , the owners abuse the workers these store has no respect for the labor laws of newyork.

Anonymous said...

If that's the hardware store people like it on Yelp.

Marisa Bowe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bj said...

Anybody know if you can watch from the Williamsburg Bridge?

mcbrooklyn said...

There is a bike/ pedestrian path that goes over the bridge. Might be a good place to watch the fireworks from. Anybody?

Anonymous said...

Okay, settling this now. As a native New Yorker who grew up in Stuyvesant Town in the 70s/80s, the Fireworks were always on the East River with one exception in the 90s I believe. It was terrible that year and they moved it back to the East River after that one 'attempt'. I tried to see them last year on the Hudson and it was awful. We should start a petition to get them back where they belong and are truly best viewed!

bj said...

I am with you. The 4th of July fireworks used to be for all New Yorkers. Now it's not worth bothering.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for this! My husband, daughter, and I went to East River State Park at your suggestion. Terrific view! The fireworks looked so beautiful emerging from behind the skyline. We never would have chosen this site on our own... didn't even know about this lovely park!

Anonymous said...

Agree. Went to DUMBO last year, think the Williamsburg view is better.