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Celebrate the 4th of July All Week

June 29, 2012

Happy Fourth of July Brooklynites! This weekend is packed with Independence Day-themed events ranging from learning about bald eagles in Central Park to watching the hot dog eating contest in Coney Island. You can also take a cruise around the Hudson to check out the fireworks. Below are some of of our top picks for holiday events and more.

If you think your child can stay up for the fireworks, you’ll have to station yourselves somewhere other than Brooklyn to watch them. Macy’s fireworks are being launched from the Hudson River again. About.com lists plenty of good viewing points outside of Brooklyn here. And, don’t forget you can always watch them at home on the tele (NBC) and fall asleep.

Our Picks on Friday, June 29th

  • Coney Island Fireworks at Coney Island Boardwalk at 9:30 pm- A great summer event for older kids. Fireworks go off every Friday night through Labor Day. Coney Island Boardwalk at 10th St. For additional information, please visit: www.coneyisland.com/tourism.shtml
  • New York Celebrates America Fireworks Festival in the Bronx at 9 pm- Hosted by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. & NYS Senator Jeff Klein, the New York Celebrates America Fireworks Festival includes an evening of live music by Alive N Kickin’ followed by a spectacular fireworks show the whole family will love. Head to Orchard Beach, 1 Orchard Beach Road, Bronx, NY 10464. For additional information, please visit: http://www.ilovethebronx.com/?pg=home

Our Picks on Friday, June 29th

  • Celebrate America Concert and Fireworks in Staten Island from 6:30 pm- 9:00 pm (Raindate Sunday, July 1st) Borough President James P. Molinaro will host his annual “Celebrate America” concert at Wolfes Pond Park. Sponsored by Councilman Vincent Ignizio, the Concert will feature great music, food and toy vendors, and a fireworks display. Concert-goers are advised to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Details: Wolfe’s Pond Park, (Hylan Boulevard and Cornelia Avenue in Prince’s Bay) Staten Island.

Our Picks on Sunday, July 1st

  • Freedom Strut at Lefferts Historic House from 1-4 pm- After slavery was abolished in New York there were many celebrations, parades and dinners conducted throughout the city to celebrate. This event, held at the Lefferts Historic House, will allow children to understand this tradition bylistening to stories of the struggle for African-American freedom. Additionally, museum educators will be on hand to help little your children decorate their clothing as former slaves once did on this occasion by inscribing inspiring messages on their sleeves and make Emancipation Day buttons.

Our Picks on Tuesday, July 3rd:

  • Madison Square Kids Concert Series 2012 at Madison Square Park at 10:30am — The entire family can see The Itty Biddies and have a blast!
  • FREE Soccer for Elementary Schoolers at Battery City Park (Nelson A. Rockefeller Park) at 3:30pm (ages 5 –7) or 4:30pm (ages 8–11)
  • Story Song and Shimmy at The Park Slope Armory YMCA from 10am — 11am: For $12, you can bond with your little one while they develop social, motor, and cognitive abilities. Stories and singing will be followed by dancing with scarves and instruments.
  • River Tots at Pier 45 at The Hudson River Park at 10am — For FREE, you can enjoy hands-on learning and play activities for toddlers will vary from week to week and will include eco-crafts, music, watery experiments and much more.
  • Baby Boogie at the Prospect Park YMCA at 2pm — For $12, get to know other parents, play games, and enjoy singing and dancing.
  • FREE Soccer for Preschoolers at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park at 2:30pm. Closed-toe shoes required.
  • Sing-A-long at The Moxie Spot from 11am — 12pm — Right before nap time, enjoy the Singalong, have lunch, and go to the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park Playground at Pier 6 (weather permitting).

Our Picks on Wednesday, July 4th:

  • Declare Independence at the Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park from 1pm — 4pm:  Children can celebrate America’s birthday and look patriotic as they make a plumed hat to wear while signing their own “John Hancock” on a reproduction of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Eagle as Icon at Prospect Park Audobon Center from 1pm –3pm: The bald eagle is one of America’s most recognizable icons. Participants can learn more about the role the eagle’s image has played in shaping our nation’s identity through a panel exhibit and nature craft.
  • Little Makers: Fireworks! at the New York Hall of Science from 3 – 5 pm. Get a head start on your 4th of July celebration with fireworks splatter painting and noisemakers. $8 per family, plus NYSCI admission ($5 per family for members). Preregistration is recommended. For more information and to register, call 718-699-0005 ext. 341.
  • Pay What You Wish Wednesdays at The Bronx Zoo — a great (and frugal!) way to enjoy the zoo.
  • Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan’s Famous at 3pm: Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island, NY since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the legendary restaurant. Wowsa! Whether you’re an onlooker or a participant, you’re bound to have a blast!
  • The Jitterbugs at J&R Jr. from 4pm — 5pm: Sing, wiggle, shake and giggle with Jitterbugs! NYC’s favorite music class is coming to J&R Jr. for FREE classes all summer long! Woohoo!
  • Madison Square Music at  3 pm : Noam Pikelny, The Sweetback Sisters and Spuyten Duyvil Virtuosic banjo player Noam Pikelny headlines MSPC’s 10-year anniversary July 4th celebration with his band of friends including Alex Hargreaves, Aoife O’ Donovan (Crooked Still), Chris Eldridge (Punch Brothers) and Mark Schatz (Claire Lynch Band). The Sweetback Sisters, Emily Miller and Zara Bode, may not be blood relations, but their precise, family-style harmonies recall the best of country music from the Everlys to The Judds, as well as the spirited rockabilly energy of Wanda Jackson, one of the band’s role models. Spuyten Duyvil, Dutch slang for “in spite of the devil” as well as the creek connecting the Harlem and Hudson Rivers, is a new band of eight old souls playing and singing their hearts out. Led by husband and wife duo Mark Miller (guitar, Bouzouki, vocals) and Beth Jamie Kaufman (vocals), they lean on the history, folklore, and sounds of the last century to craft an energetic bluesy, bluegrass, jug band, Old Timey influenced force. Details: Madison Square Park at Madison Ave and E. 23rd Street, NYC.

Our Picks for Child-Friendly 4th of July Cruises:

  • City Sightseeing Cruises in Midtown West — Departs from Pier 78 at 38th Street and the Hudson River for
    $99 per person. NYC’s newest tour operator is offering a similar outing: A 3½-hour harbor cruise with a live DJ and a cash bar for snacks and drinks.
  • Freedom Cruises at Sheepshead Bay — Pier 7, Emmons and Ocean Avenues. Cost: $135 for adults, $99 for children under 12. Participants can hop on the Pink Lady and enjoy the fireworks, a buffet, beverages and a live DJ.
  • Water Taxi at South Street Seaport — Departs from Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport. Cost: $145 per person. Participants can watch the sparklers from the deck of the yellow water taxi. The trip includes a boxed dinner with cookies and brownies for dessert. Beverages can be purchased from the bar.

Macy’s Fireworks:

Wednesday, July 4th at 9pm Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Macy’s fireworks returns to the west side. Expect their explosive presentation with more than 40,000 bursts of fireworks along with a 25 minute score of standards and pop songs. The colorful show, Ignite the Light, will be released from four barges in the Hudson River between 18th Street and 43rd Street. The Fireworks can be viewed from any area with an unobstructed view of the sky above the Hudson River. The best viewing spots fill up long before sundown so, if you’re up for it, get there early. You can access the fireworks at 11th Avenue at the following streets:

  • 24th-26th streets
  • 27th – 29th Streets
  • 33rd – 34th Streets
  • 40th – 42nd Streets
  • 44th- 50th Streets
  • 52nd- 54th Streets
  • 56th- 57th Streets

Of course, if you’re not up to braving the crowds and mixing with the throngs, you can always catch the show from the comfort of your own home via NBC. Also, this year Macy’s has created a free fireworks app featuring behind-the-scenes videos, the musical score and lots of tourist info. The app is available for iPhone, iPad and Google Play.