Once again, more than 60,000 shells and effects will be launched from five barges on the East River, with prime views in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
The 47th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks spectacular once again features 25 minutes of fireworks set to a soundtrack of traditional and popular music.
NYC expects one million people – more or less – to watch in person, and millions more will be viewing the national TV broadcast on NBC.
For those of you who will be in my hometown for this annual event –
Macy’s 2023 4th of July Fireworks
The 25-minute spectacle features shells and effects in 30 colors and shapes synchronized to a musical score. That’s an average of around 1,400 shells a minute for the 25-minute show.
This year, one sequence honors the hit songs of superstar entertainer Tina Turner, who passed away a few weeks ago, featuring her iconic anthem “The Best” as thousands of golden-hued shells create a dramatic cascade effect stretching for more than a mile across the East River.
The five barges are positioned between E. 26th and E. 42nd Streets along the East River, with prime viewing from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
New this year is a “waving flag” fireworks.
The Best Views
From my experience as a lifelong New Yorker, these are the best FREE viewing spots for where the fireworks barges are located in 2023.
Anywhere along the FDR highway between 23rd and 42nd Streets, which is closed to traffic for pedestrian viewing. There are entrances on 23rd, 34th and 42nd Streets.
The FDR is normally closed to vehicles below 23rd to 14th Street, and above 42nd to 59th Streets, starting around Noon.
The further north or south of the barges you choose, the more limited your view will be.
- Tip – Take public transportation. Do not drive. With multiple street closings, driving will be a gridlock nightmare.
- Hunters Point South Park – Long Island City
- Domino Park – Long Island City
- Gantry Plaza State Park – Long Island City
Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom Park at the island’s southern tip and will provide a view down the East River, not across it.
Keep in mind that the park is a bit north of 42nd St..
- Transmitter Park – Greenpoint
- Martha Chapman State Park – Williamsburg
Locations Not Recommended for Viewing –
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Brooklyn Heights Promenade
- Brooklyn Grand Ferry Park
- Staten Island Ferry
- Battery Park
- Anywhere along the Hudson River in Manhattan or New Jersey
- Liberty State Park, New Jersey
Whatever location you choose, get there early for the best viewing location – certainly by 6pm.
Expect heightened security by the NYPD, including random searches of large backbacks.
Or, stay home and watch it on NBC, from 8pm to 10pm ET.
Scam Alert –
Beware of rooftop locations offering limited views of the fireworks for $$$$$$$$$$$.
As a native and lifetime New Yorker, I’m warning you about fireworks viewing scams.
You will have limited views from rooftops or even tourist destinations such as Summit One near Grand Central Terminal, despite their fancy advertising promises.
One World Observatory, at the southern tip of Manhattan, actually states on its website that “viewing of the fireworks is not guaranteed” in small print, alongside the notice that July 4th tickets are non-refundable. On a website page that markets an “all inclusive experience” with a photo that shows fireworks.
You’ll be paying $$$$$$$ for an unlimited bar to make you forget that there is only a limited sight line to the fireworks. Examples:
- Tickets to The Edge are $250. The Edge is at the edge of the Hudson River, on the other side of Manhattan from the East River.
- Tickets to the Empire State Building are $500+. The iconic ESB is on Fifth Ave., in the middle of the island.
Behind the Big Sparks –
Fireworks fans can get a sneak preview at the magic behind the spectacle in a series of Macy’s Live episodes at macys.com/macyslive.
Leading up to the big day, the Macy’s Fireworks team will showcase the inner workings of the pyrotechnic celebration.
Check the dedicated Macy’s Fireworks website page for additional information.
Additional Fourth of July fireworks in New York City
Date: July 4
Location: Coney Island Beach & Boardwalk
Time: 9:30 p.m.
Date: July 4
Location: Empire Outlets Waterfront
Time: 9:30 p.m.
- The fireworks will be visible from the stadium where the Staten Island Ferry Hawks are playing that evening.
Links to other July 4th fireworks around New York City –
Macy’s Fourth of July 2023 Press Release
Sky Full of Stars: The 47th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks®,the Nation’s Largest Independence Day Celebration, Creates a Spectacle in the Sky Above New York City
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The nation’s biggest Independence Day party will fill the night sky with jaw-dropping sparkles as the 47th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® caps off Independence Day with an explosive celebration! On Tuesday, July 4th at approximately 9:25 p.m., Macy’s will begin its signature pyrotechnic salute to America, featuring an array of dazzling shells and effects that will captivate spectators live in New York City and on television from sea to shining sea. This year’s revelry will launch 60,000 shells and effects from five barges positioned between E. 26th and E. 40th Streets along the East River with prime viewing from three boroughs in New York City.
Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, two hour entertainment special airs live on NBC & Peacock, Tuesday, July 4, 2023 from 8pm – 10pm ET/PT, 7pm – 9pm CT/MT. Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will launch from the East River at approx. 9:25pm ET. (Graphic: Business Wire)
“This year’s Macy’s Fireworks celebration will be nothing short of showstopping,” said Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks. “Millions of spectators come together every year to witness the spectacular performance along the East River and we are ready to deliver a high-flying, jaw-dropping fireworks display that will fill the night sky with color, light, shapes, and thunderous sound. Paired with a score featuring American classics, this year’s celebration will honor trailblazers that have forged our past, present, and future.”An annual New York City tradition since 1976, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks continues to dazzle millions of spectators across the nation with a showstopping experience that is sure to delight the senses. The 47th edition of Macy’s Fireworks is conceived, designed, and produced by Macy’s with Pyro Spectaculars by Souza. The 25-minute extravaganza is synchronized to a spectacular musical score and will feature a host of shells and numerous effects in 30 colors and shapes.
New effects that will enthrall revelers include a mile wide waving flag created by a combination of red, white, and blue palm and strobing shells, sunflower ring with crackling pistil shells, red stop sign shaped effects, and new Ghost pyro that turn from one color to another in an on/off design featuring four different hues.
This year’s pyrotechnic design will feature the most dynamic collection of animated shells ever launched during Macy’s annual spectacle. Dancing, swirling, pulsing, and sweeping across the skyline, the show will launch an average of 2,400 shells and effects per minute. With 60,000 total shells showcasing multiple effects the resulting pyrotechnic firepower will span a mile across the East River in a multi-layer presentation, reaching dramatic heights of 1,000 feet to the water’s edge.
America’s Musical Legacy
Each year audiences are delighted by a symphony of colors and shapes in the sky that create a patriotic salute to America. The blueprint to the high-flying showcase is the musical score to which the show is synchronized. This year’s score will feature American classics that pay homage to our nation’s musical trailblazers. Curated by Ray Chew, famed musical director and maestro for some of the nation’s most popular entertainment programs, score selections will include “The Star Bangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and a special performance of an original work titled “Sea to Shining Sea” – written and performed by The United States Army Field Band’s rap duo Nico & Lamar with Ray Chew.
No Macy’s Fireworks show would be complete without an inspiring tribute in light and the signature moment of each spectacle, the Macy’s Golden Mile. Showcased to “The Best,” by the legendary Tina Turner, thousands of golden-hued shells will create a dramatic cascade effect stretching for more than a mile across the East River.
The Best Views
On July 4th, Macy’s Fireworks can be viewed in any area with an unobstructed view of the skyline above the East River in Midtown or from the comforts of home. Official viewing locations, overseen and managed by the NYPD, will be announced at a future date for portions of the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens waterfronts. Viewers are encouraged to check macys.com/fireworks for updates including entry and security details, marine viewing, and more.
Watch or Stream the Spectacle
Spectators from coast-to-coast will have a front row view of the enchanting display by tuning into NBC’s national broadcast of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks (8-10 p.m. ET/PT, 7-9 p.m. CT/MT, check local listings or stream the show live on Peacock®). The nation’s No. 1 Independence Day special will also feature performances from some of music’s biggest talent.
Macy’s glittering spectacle is produced in partnership with the City of New York. Spectators joining the festivities live in New York City can enjoy the full Macy’s Fireworks experience by tuning in to radio station 1010 WINS (via 1010WINS on 92.3-FM, 1010 WINS-AM or 1010 WINS on the AUDACY app available on smartphones and internet-connected devices) to hear the musical score to which the show is choreographed.
Behind the Big Sparks
Fireworks fans can get a sneak preview of the magic behind the spectacle by enjoying a special behind the scenes episode of Macy’s Live. Leading up to the big day, the Macy’s Fireworks team will showcase the inner workings of the pyrotechnic celebration. Visit macys.com/macyslive for the programming schedule.
For more information on the 47th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks visit macys.com/fireworks. In addition, follow and take part in the excitement on various social platforms via @macys and #MacysFireworks.
This was published originally on my NYC on the Cheap website, which was hacked, ransomed and destroyed in 2022. This version has been updated for 2023 republished here.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA), a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and a current member of the North American Travel Journalists Assn. (NATJA).
Contact me at email@example.com.
Copyright (C) Evelyn Kanter