Book ahead: July 4th Events in NYC

Where will your children be for July 4th?

Before we go any further, a brief quiz:
  1. Is it important to you that your kids are in bed before 11:00 pm?
  2. Are your kids willing to spend long periods of time standing or sitting on the ground without complaint? Are you?
  3. Does $90 (per person!) seem like a lot to you to pay to get on a boat with a cash bar?

Simply put, seeing the fireworks in person is probably a better idea in theory than in practice if you have kids, especially small ones. But if you insist, here are your options for where to view them:

1. Standing along the West Side Highway: The fireworks start at 9:00pm, but much like New Year’s Eve in Times Square, you’ll need to camp out ahead of time, preferably no later than 4:00pm or 5:00pm, in order to have a shot at a decent view (the truly dedicated should arrive at 2:00pm, when traffic on the northbound lanes is closed between 22nd and 59th Streets). You can access the highway from points on 11th Avenue at 24th, 26th, 29th, 33rd, 40th, 42nd, 44th, 50th, 52nd, 54th and 56th Streets, but plan for congestion and possible roadblocking by the NYPD, who are on high alert.

Speaking of which, it’s important to note that, for security reasons, no large bags or backpacks will be allowed, and you can’t bring lawn chairs, either (strollers are OK, but due to the sheer crush of people you might want to carry your baby or toddler in a Bjorn or Ergo--start stretching those hamstrings now).

2. On a Harbor Cruise: Many different cruise lines offer 4th of July fireworks viewing. The Circle Line is the cheapest, at $89/person (not including food or drink). If you’re feeling more flush, hop aboard the Shearwater, an 82-foot schooner, for a fully catered dinner and open bar with champagne. Adults are $450, but children 12 and under are free only $350! (Just think of it this way: you’d be paying $100 more per head if they got drunk). If booze cruises send you running for dry land--or Dramamine--consider watching the show from the deck of the USS Intrepid (seats are $160 for ages 3 and up).

Buy tickets:;;

3. In Someone’s Hudson River New Jersey Home or High-Rise Manhattan Apartment: No cash bar or motion-sickness AND plentiful plush seating? This is by far the best option. If you have a friend or relative with one of these types of homes, begin sucking up to them immediately.