A New Yorker’s first instinct once Independence Day rolls around is to get the hell out of dodge. July 4th is a time to head to the Shore, the Hamptons, or even out of the country. Anything to escape the heat (and hordes of tourists) that comes around this time each year.
But don’t discount celebrating in the city just yet. With food festivals, drink deals, and the newly moved annual fireworks display, the five boroughs have enough to keep even city dwellers busy on the Friday holiday. We think it might be time for a staycation.
If you’d rather watch the fireworks perched comfortably on a bar stool, patriotic drink in hand, then head to the Skylark, whose 1,500 sq. ft. rooftop bar will be decked out in its finest red, white, and blue. Mixologist Johnny Swet has created four USA-themed drinks to celebrate our independence from the Brits, including the pictured “The Red, White & Skylark.” There's nothing like a mixed drink of Hendrick’s gin, Zu vodka, St. Germain liqueur, Blue Curacao, and brandied cherry to get you singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” with everything you’ve got. And don’t worry, you can order these bad boys in pitcher form.
Cost: $18 or $80 for a pitcher (Courtesy of The Skylark)
Indie-pendence Day Festival
If you’re up for doing something more productive with your day than drinking and eating, try drinking, eating, and enjoying 12 hours of improv comedy at the Pit. In their fourth annual Indie-pendence Day Festival, the comedy club will be hosting nearly 50 improv troupes. Make sure to check out Student Driver at 8 p.m. and G.U.S. at 10 p.m.
Cost: $5 per show/ $20 all-day pass (Courtesy of The Pit)
Rockabilly Night Market
And now for something completely different. Dances of Vice presents its annual 1950s themed festival, with a PBR open bar, vintage cars, and burlesque shows from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. With a pinup photobooth and vintage and handmade vendors, Brooklynites and Manhattan dwellers alike can dance the night away to DJ SEI’s rhythm and blues, twist, soul, and ’50s rock 'n roll. While you can get a pinup hairdo on site, you should still arrive dressed to impress.
Cost: $10 in advance , $15 at the door (Vintage Vanga Photography)
East River Fireworks
Now that the Macy's 38th annual 4th of July Fireworks have returned to their rightful place on the East River, it’s time to plan for the best vantage point to view the three barges worth of explosives set to light up the skyline at 9 p.m. The Brooklyn Bridge Park and South Street Seaport piers will be ideal since two of the barges will be south of the Brooklyn Bridge. However, if you can’t make it downtown or want to avoid the tourists, you can catch the display on NBC.
Cost: Free (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
The Shack Corn Dog is back. From Thursday through Sunday, the Vienna all-beef hot dog, dipped in Shack-made corn batter, will be served up alongside the Independence Day exclusive Blueberry Pie Oh My Concrete. Bring some sunscreen though, you’ll be standing in line for a while to wait for these treats as they only make an appearance at the Shack every so often.
Cost: $4.25- $6.50 (Courtesy of Shake Shack)
Bacon & Beer Block Party
What’s in a name? In this one, it’s all you need to know: beer and bacon. Sons of Essex on the Lower East Side is kicking off its second annual block party by roasting two whole pigs. With sand and tiki torches, you may need to use your imagination to transport yourself from the city that never sleeps to a calm beach, but the cold beer from Brooklyn Brewery may help. Purchase a ticket to get all you can consume pork, Sons of Essex sides, and beer from noon til late.
Cost: $48, firstname.lastname@example.org (Twitter)
New York Mets vs. Texas Rangers
Nothing says ‘Merica like spending your day singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” with a stadium hot dog in hand. With a post-game fireworks show of their own, the Mets will take on the Texas Rangers at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.
Cost: Tickets start at $18 (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)