curated by Sara Maher

The Fourth of July is about recognizing your freedom and independence. Whether you want to celebrate your civil rights, your family, your country, or your love of hot dogs, there’s a way to spend some of your summer time.

Loud and Proud

NYC Pride is the largest Pride celebration in the world, with last year’s event featuring over 350 marching contingents and 80 floats. While it is intended as a civil rights demonstration and includes recognition of the fight against AIDS, it is a joyous event with costumes, dancing, and a whole load of glitter. This year’s grand marshals include: Jazz Jennings, founder of the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation and the youngest marshal in parade history; Subhi Nahas, a Syrian refugee who co-founded the first LGBT magazine in Syria; and Cecilia Chung, a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and an activist in the LGBT community for over 30 years.

Follow the route downtown to enjoy post-parade PrideFest, a free and family-friendly street fair.

F downtown to 34th St-Herald Sq, 23rd St, or 14th St and walk east to Fifth Av. Sun Jun 26. Parade: begins at 36th St and Fifth Av at 12pm. Pridefest: 13th St between Eighth Av and Hudson St and Hudson St between 13th St and 10th St, 11am-6pm. Both events free.

Blast From the Past

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks, and Macy’s is celebrating with a ... well, a bang. To honor the occasion, they will position 13 barges in the Hudson and East Rivers and New York Harbor, cumulating in the launch of over 60,000 fireworks, the largest display to date. The performers are Kenny Chesney, Meghan Trainor, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Jennifer Holliday and the USAF Singing Sergeants, so theoretically there is something to please everyone.

Limited viewing will be available on Roosevelt Island at Four Freedoms Park; if you don’t get a ticket, you can take the F downtown to 42nd St-Bryant Park, 23rd St, or 2nd Av and either walk or take a bus to the East River. Mon Jul 4, 9pm. Free.

Four Freedoms viewing: free, but advance registration is required. Registration opens for Island residents on Jun 26, 5pm. Info:

Mustard-y Mayhem

Sorry, Roosevelt Island, but nothing says Fourth of July like a cookout on the beach. Head down to Coney Island for a Fourth full of food, fireworks, and fun. Lifeguards will be on duty all weekend, and the rides will be fully operational, with the added bonus of local live music. Rumor has it last year’s party started at 9am and continued through the fireworks, giving you plenty of time to ride the Cyclone after the Nathan’s hot dog-eating contest.

F downtown to Coney Island-Stillwell Av and walk to the beach. Mon Jul 4. Hot dog-eating contest: 1310 Surf Av, women’s contest 11am, men’s contest 12:40pm, free. Rides: 11am-12am, prices vary.

Gene Shorts

A recent episode of CBS Sunday Morning taught me that genealogy is the second-most popular hobby in the USA, bested only by gardening. If you want to jump on the family tree train, the NYPL is here to help with “one of the largest free United States history, local history and genealogy collections in the country.” Take a class on Getting Started in Genealogy before learning how to research Vital Records and the Census, Naturalization Records, or The History of Your New York Home. Maybe you aren’t related to that odd uncle after all!

F downtown to 42nd St-Bryant Park and enter the Schwarzman Building on 42nd St; all classes held in South Court Classroom A. Researching the History of Your New York City Home: Tue Jun 28, 2-3:30pm. Getting Started in Genealogy: Thu Jul 7, 12-1:15pm. Researching Naturalization Records: Thu Jul 7 or Wed Aug 3, 2-3:30pm. Researching Vital Records and the Census: Thu Aug 4, 12pm. All classes free; basic computer skills required.

Fun Foire de la Rue

After getting your fill of full-on AMERICA, go Francophile at Bastille Day on 60th Street. Presented by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), this annual street fair is New York’s largest public celebration of France’s Independence Day. You can bring the kids and enjoy crafts and face painting, or take a date and spend the day sampling French foods like crêpes, éclairs, macarons, and, of course, wine and cheese. There will also be a performance of the cast of An American in Paris and a live screening of the 2016 UEFA European Championship Final.

F downtown to 63rd St-Lexington Av and walk south to 60th St; fair is on 60th St between Fifth Av and Lexington Av. Sun Jul 10, 12-5pm; UEFA screening at 3pm. Most events are free; drinks and cheese tasting $25.

Books or Bucks

Finish your spring cleaning, but “forget” to actually get rid of anything? That pile of books could be worth a bundle! Learn about what makes a book rare or valuable by examining an old volume and researching its circulation and sales records. “Old Books, Rare Books: Learning About the Value of Your Books.”

F downtown to 42nd St-Bryant Park and enter the Schwarzman Building on 42nd St; class held in South Court Classroom A. Wed Jul 20, 3-4pm. Free.

Don’t Trash Transit

If you’re feeling extra angry after spending a day trapped on tourist-heavy public transit, head down to Transit Etiquette Or: How I Learned to Stop Spitting and Step Aside in 25 Languages, an exhibit highlighting the creative, engaging, and humorous attempts of transit authorities to get better behavior out of their passengers.

F downtown to Jay St-Metro Tech and walk southeast to Boerum Pl & Schermerhorn St. Through Jul 31; museum open Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat-Sun 11am-5pm. $7 adults, $5 ages 2-17 and 65+.

Tags: Adventures Off-Island entertainment Sara Maher

Contact Info

The Main Street WIRE
531 Main Street #413
New York, NY 10044
Tel: 212-826-9056