The Hudson County waterfront is a great place to view fireworks this coming Wednesday. Several local towns including Weehawken have closed certain parks and streets, or have placed other restrictions that limit access only to local residents.
In what is becoming something of a new tradition, the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks will, for the fifth year running, take place from barges in the Hudson River. The fireworks are expected to begin after sunset, at approximately 9:20 p.m.
Local municipalities are encouraging people to use mass transit.
Since Macy’s repositioned its annual fireworks display from the East River to the Hudson five years ago, many Hudson County residents have skipped the trip to New York and have opted to stay close to home to watch the show. Also, towns that used to spend thousands on local fireworks displays now save that money and encourage their residents to enjoy the free Macy’s display along the Hudson.
Residents should arrive early and be mindful of street closures and special parking restrictions that are in place this Wednesday.
Where to go
In Weehawken, Boulevard East has it when comes to great viewing sites. Spectators should head to the cliffs along Boulevard East between 50th Street and Highwood for the best viewing.
Weehawken residents only will be permitted into the Lincoln Harbor Park next to the Chart House Pier and proof of residency is required. There will also be no parking on the waterfront.
Hamilton Plaza, Weehawken Stadium, and the new Waterfront Park will be closed all day July 4 to prevent damage. All neighborhood parks are open until 4 p.m., after which they will be closed to the public.
See below for more on street closings and changes.
The best viewing in Hoboken will be from the numerous waterfront parks on Sinatra Drive from about First Street to 12th Street, or from the 14th Street pier. (Two blocks from 12th to 14th on Sinatra are currently closed due to a 2010 street collapse that hasn’t been repaired.) According to the city, Sinatra Drive along the waterfront will be closed to vehicular traffic but will be accessible to pedestrians.
Take note that Pier C Park will only be open to disabled spectators on the fourth.
Jersey City offers fewer prime viewing locations along its waterfront than Hoboken and Weehawken, but strategic early birds can still find good places to see the show. The best viewing spots are along the waterfront close to the Hoboken city line in the Newport neighborhood. Experienced spectators can attest that spots near the Exchange Place and Paulus Hook waterfront areas yield only obstructed views of the Macy’s fireworks display.
Spectators are allowed to stand and watch the show from the foot path that connects Hoboken and Jersey City. This path does get very crowded, however. So, be prepared to get very friendly with your neighbors.
Secaucus will hold a town wide Independence Day celebration at the Secaucus Swim Center on Monday, July 2 at 7 p.m. This event is only open to town residents. Residents need not be Swim Center members to attend this event. Proof of residency is required.
In addition to the Macy’s display, State Fair Meadowlands will host two spectacular fireworks shows on Tuesday, July 3 and Wednesday, July 4. State Fair visitors will be able to enjoy rides, food, and games while watching the show. The fireworks will be provided by Garden State Fireworks, run by the Santore Brothers, who have been in the fireworks business in NJ since the 1890s.
State Fair Meadowlands is located at the Meadowlands Fairgrounds next to Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford. The fireworks shows will begin around 10:30 p.m.
Checkpoints, rules in Hoboken and Weehawken
Hoboken and Weehawken have apprised residents and visitors of various restrictions. In Weehawken:
• Public consumption of alcoholic beverages will not be permitted.
• No fireworks, including sparklers, will be tolerated.
• Barbeques on balconies and terraces are not permitted.
• Use of rooftops for viewing of fireworks or any activity is prohibited and will be strictly enforced. Landlords and/or property owners are responsible for keeping rooftops clear of people.
In Weehawken, Public alcohol consumption is prohibited, as are personal fireworks or sparklers. Barbeques on balconies and terraces and viewing fireworks from residential rooftops are also prohibited.
Hoboken has issued a “zero tolerance” policy for Independence Day. This means there will be heavy fines given to people who violate various city restrictions that day. Restrictions include the following:
• Spectators will need to pass through checkpoints to access the Hoboken waterfront.
• No parties or gatherings on rooftops for viewing fireworks unless the property has been properly zoned and approved for rooftop access.
• Gathering on fire escapes is strictly prohibited.
• Balconies, porches, or any other structures for viewing will be strictly enforced within the confines of the codes for such structures.
• No alcohol will be permitted on any walkways or parks along the waterfront, although coolers with non-alcoholic refreshments will be permitted.
Street closures in Hob, Wee
To accommodate the expected crowds, and for security reasons, several streets throughout Hudson County will be closed on the fourth.
In Weehawken, Boulevard East between North Marginal Highway in Weehawken to the Bergen County line in North Bergen may have to be closed sometime between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on July 4, depending on pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The road will absolutely be closed at 7 p.m., and the town will make every possible effort to keep it open until then.
Highwood Terrace, Hamilton Avenue, Hudson Place, Duer Place, Bonn Place, Clifton Terrace, Fulton Street, Cooper Place, 47th Street, 48th Street, 49th Street, 51st Street will be closed at the same time as Boulevard East.
The waterfront roads from 19th Street to the Bergen County border, Gregory Avenue, Washington Street (20th), Highpoint Avenue, Oak Street, Shippen Street, Dodd Street, Jane Street, Angelique Street, and Hackensack Plank Road at 19th Street and Ridgely Place may also close any time after 4 p.m. Once closed, the roads will be open only to pedestrians and emergency vehicles.
Vehicles parked on either side of Boulevard East may be subject to damage because of the large crowds expected. It is recommended residents move their cars if they can.
The town requests that residents who live on closed streets call the police at (201) 863-7800 if they need to leave their homes in case of emergency.
In Hoboken, Sinatra Drive between First Street and 15th Street will be closed from 8 a.m. until midnight, as will River Street between Hudson Place and Fourth Street. (There will be limited access on Hudson Street between First Street and Third Street for residents and parking customers.)
No parking will be permitted on various streets. See the city’s website for the complete list.
Nonresidents in need of parking will be directed to municipal garages B and D. Municipal garage B is located at 28 2nd St. Municipal garage D is located at 215 Hudson St.
The west side of Hudson Street from Hudson Place to Observer Highway will be the designated taxi area on Wednesday.
For those in need of medical care, the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps will have first aid stations in Pier A Park, Sinatra Park, and along Sinatra Drive at 8th, 12th, and 14th Streets.
Also, Stevens Institute of Technology has announced that the school will be closed to the general public on July 4th from 4 p.m. until midnight.
Avoid the headache; take mass transit
With all the street closures and parking restrictions that will be in effect for the fourth, local municipalities are encouraging people to use mass transit.
The NY Waterway Ferry will discontinue service at 7 p.m. on July 4 and reopen after the fireworks end.
For scheduling information regarding the PATH system, visit www.panynj.gov/path.
For scheduling information for NJ Transit buses and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, visit www.njtransit.com. Transit systems may bypass specific bus, train, or light rail stops if crowd conditions become a safety concern or if buses and rail cars become full.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.