The Macy's July 4th fireworks display originally made its debut on the Hudson River in 1958 before becoming an East River tradition in 1976.
Macy's 4th of July Fireworks 2012The 2012 Macy's fireworks show will feature more than 40,000 shells exploding at a rate of more than 1,500 per minute and fireworks reaching heights of 1,000 feet in the air. At approximately 9:20 pm on July 4th, the 26-minute display will be set off from six barges positioned between 18th and 43rd Streets on the Hudson River. That's two full miles of sky, providing for greater visibility of the show for millions more spectators.
The trademark Macy's "Golden Mile" fireworks effect, featuring a shower of golden sparks stretching a mile across the river, will be enhanced this year with additional mile-long showers of sparkling red and green.
"Ignite the Night" is the theme of the 2012 fireworks spectacular. The score will feature songs chosen by Macy's Facebook fans -- including Ray Charles' "America the Beautiful," Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.", Madonna's "Holiday," Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time," and more. For a preview of the pyrotechnics, see our photos of the Macy's July 4th fireworks show or join us for a July 4th fireworks walking tour of New York City.
View Macy's July 4th Fireworks In StyleFor July 4th 2012, the best views will be from Manhattan's West Side below 59th Streets and choice spots along the New Jersey waterfront -- any spot with a good view of the sky above the Hudson River. See our full list of best places to see the Macy's July 4th fireworks in New York (complete with photos).
Keep in mind that the public viewing areas get extremely crowded, so arrive early (by 5 pm if you want a decent spot) and bring chairs or a blanket to spread out and whatever other supplies you need to enjoy the wait (water, food, iPods, etc.). Large bags and containers will be subject to security checks.
The West Side Highway will eventually turn into a giant New York City block party. Just make sure you hit the bathroom before you get there – public restroom facilities will be crowded and disgusting if available at all (no official word on bathroom situation as of yet). And be prepared to spend some time getting home. It takes a while for the crowd to thin out.
See below for the best places to view the 2012 Macy's July 4th fireworks.
- West Side Highway and Surrounding Area
The best views of the fireworks show will be from the northbound lanes of the West Side Highway and 12th Avenue between 20th and 59th Streets.
Twelfth Avenue and the northbound lanes of the West Side Highway between 20th and 59th Streets will be closed to traffic for public fireworks viewing. Pedestrian access to the viewing area was via the following streets: 24th, 26th through 30th, 34th, 40th through 44th, 47th through 52nd, 54th through 57th.
New York City parking guru Gridlock Samtold us that the best viewing area is south of 42nd Street along the pier by the Circle Line. We can attest to spectacular views from the West Side Highway just south of the U.S.S. Intrepid near 45th Street and from the rooftop of the Circle Line pier. Other prime West Side public viewing spots include:
- Dewitt Clinton Park (access from 11th Avenue)
- Pier 54 (limited access from 14th Street)
- Pier 84 (limited access from 44th Street)
- Selected side streets between 11th and 12th Avenues
Get tips on getting to the Macy's July 4th fireworks, including street closures and parking advice.
- New Jersey
You'll find great views of the Macy's 2011 fireworks from Hoboken and Weehawken, with decent views from Jersey City and North Bergen. Join the crowds along the Hudson River Promenade on the New Jersey side.
- NY Waterway Tours
NY Waterway Tours offers stunning views from aboard their 4th of July Fireworks Cruises in the Hudson River. Tickets are $75 per person and cruises board at 6 PM from:
- West 38th Street and the Hudson River (with free bus service along 42nd Street to the Cruise Terminal)
- Edgewater, NJ – River Road and Route 5 (with free bus service from designated parking locations)
- Hoboken Rail/Ferry Terminal
- Jersey City - Liberty Harbor Marina at the foot of Marin Boulevard in Paulus Hook
- The Circle Line
The Circle Line's July 4th cruise also offers an awesome view of the fireworks from the river. A DJ will provide entertainment and food and drinks will be available forpurchase. Tickets are $79. Call 212-269-5755 or 866-9CLINE1 for reservations or more information.
- World Yacht Dinner Cruise
For a more deluxe July 4th cruising experience, Circle Line partner World Yacht offers a cruise with a five-course dinner at a private table for $350.
- Pier 83 Rooftop Fireworks BBQ
Circle Line and World Yacht are also partnering to host a rooftop party at Pier 83. Tickets are $79 per person for this rooftop BBQ with a live DJ and great fireworks views.
- Spirit of New York Cruise
Board the Spirit of New York at Chelsea Piers and enjoy an evening cruise on the Hudson River, complete with fireworks viewing, a buffet dinner, and a live DJ for dancing. Tickets are $263.90 per person.
For additional fireworks viewing information, the general public should call the Macy’s Fireworks Hot Line at (212) 494-4495.