Boom! Ooh! Ahhhhh!
Where to watch the fireworks this week
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
Jun 30, 2013 | 6502 views | 0 0 comments | 272 272 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Residents of Hudson County will once again this week have a front row seat to the nation’s largest Fourth of July fireworks display, courtesy of Macy’s. For the sixth straight year the iconic retailer will host its signature fireworks show from barges set in the Hudson River, a site that offers residents in the waterfront towns of Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Guttenberg, West New York, and North Bergen prime views of the show. Several other towns, like Secaucus, are having July 4 events as well.

The Macy’s show gets underway on Thursday, July 4 at sundown, shortly after 9 p.m.
Local municipalities are encouraging people to use mass transit, if possible.
Several towns throughout the county, particularly Hoboken and Weehawken, have closed certain parks and streets, banned parking on others, and placed restrictions that may limit access to prime viewing spots. Visitors can expect heightened security measures this year as a result of the recent Boston Marathon bombings.

The North Bergen Police Department is encouraging its resident to see fireworks in Guttenberg and other points south this year since two community parks at 75th Street and 79th Street are currently closed, due to construction. In the past, these parks have offered the best vantage points of the fireworks in North Bergen and have attracted dozens of spectators in recent years.

Below is a rundown of activities and rules. For more, see each town’s government website.

Where to go

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. 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.

In Weehawken, Boulevard East has it when it comes to great viewing sites. The town’s high elevation makes it one of the best spots in our area to see the Macy’s show. Spectators who plan to see the fireworks display in Weehawken should head to the cliffs along Boulevard East between 50th Street and Highwood Terrace 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.

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 townwide Independence Day celebration at the Secaucus Swim Center on Tuesday, July 2 at 6 p.m., with a fireworks display scheduled to take place at 9 p.m. This event is only open to town residents and members of the Swim Center. Residents need not be Swim Center members to attend this event. Proof of residency or Swim Center membership is required.

In Union City, Mayor Brian stack and the Board of Commissioners will host a citywide Independence Day celebration on Tuesday, July 2 at 6 p.m. on Palisade Avenue, between 32nd Street and 38th Street. The celebration will include live music, free food, and kid-friendly activities.

Transportation to the celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. from the following locations: 4545 Palisade Ave.; 3911 Kennedy Blvd., the Bella Vista Apartments; 3700 Palisade Ave.; 1509 Bergenline Ave.; 1104 Palisade Ave.; 1015 Central Ave.; 380 Mountain Rd.; and 49th Street and Hudson Avenue.

Also, the State Fair Meadowlands, currently running at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, hosts fireworks shows on July 3 and 4 at 10:30 p.m. See the fair website for more information.

Checkpoints, rules

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.

Spectators heading to the Hoboken waterfront for the festivities will be subject to bag searches, and the Hoboken Police Department will bar visitors from taking the following items beyond checkpoints: backpacks, fireworks, coolers, glass bottles, grills, BBQ materials, propane tanks, weapons, tents, liquor, and cans.

Factory-sealed beverages in a clear plastic bag, such as water, will be permitted, with the exception of alcohol.

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.

In West New York, backpacks, coolers, alcohol consumption, individual fireworks and sparklers, barbecues on balconies and terraces, and rooftop viewing are prohibited.

Street closures, parking bans in areas of Hob, Weehawken, NB, WNY

To accommodate the expected crowds, and for security reasons, several streets throughout Hudson County will be closed on the fourth.

In Hoboken, Sinatra Drive between First Street and 15th Street will be closed from 8 a.m. until crowds leave the area, which could be midnight or later. River Street and Hudson Place from 4th Street to 15th Street will also be closed from 8 a.m. to midnight, as will 5th Street at Castle Point Terrace.

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 Thursday.

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.

In Weehawken, Boulevard East between North Marginal Highway in Weehawken to the Bergen County line in North Bergen is scheduled to be closed at 7 p.m., but may have to be closed earlier, depending on pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Mayor Richard Turner said the town will make every effort to keep it open until 7 p.m., however

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, these 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 park in other locations for the night, if possible.

The town requests that residents who live on closed streets call the police at (201) 863-7800 or dial 911 if they need to leave their homes in the event of an emergency.

Gerry Sanzari, deputy police chief of the North Bergen Police Department, said Boulevard East and River Road in North Bergen will be closed beginning at 6 p.m. The town is telling residents who plan to entertain that night to be sure their guests arrive by 5 p.m. Those who need to travel on River Road or Boulevard East should not expect the streets to reopen until 11 p.m., at the earliest, Sanzari said.

In West New York, Blvd. East will be closed some time between 4 and 7 p.m. on July 4 from 51st to 67th Street, but definitely by 7 p.m. Port Imperial Blvd. will be closed from the Weehawken border to the Guttenberg border starting around the same time.

Parking will be prohibited earlier in the day, so check with your local town hall to see if you should move your car.

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 Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will increase service on its 33rd Street to Hoboken and 33rd Street to Journal Square lines on the Fourth. For scheduling information regarding the PATH system, visit

For scheduling information for NJ Transit buses and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, visit Mass transit users should be aware that 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.

About the show

Macy’s has once again enlisted SOUSA Fireworks to organize the show’s featured attraction. The length of the barge from which the SOUSA staff will work will run from approximately 24th Street in New York to 40th Street. The display will feature more than 40,000 pyrotechnic shells that will be set off during a 26-minute show, according to the release, with roughly 1,800 shells launched every minute.

Macy’s and SOUSA are partnering with Grammy-winning singer/producer/songwriter Usher to curate the music so that the pace and rhythm of the songs selected are in sync with the light show. The musical portion of the show will be broadcast by NBC.

Macy’s estimates that the fireworks show will be seen by three million people nationwide, with most of those viewers seeing the show on TV.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at

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