Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Missing the City

I love living in New York to the point that escaping from the city to visit our vacation house in Northeast Pennsylvania always leaves me with regret, because invariably, by heading out of town, our family is missing out on some exciting activities. This weekend is a good example.

Now I know that towns all across America will be setting off fireworks on Friday in honor of the country's birthday. But to me, there is no better place to see them than New York City. As The Insider Travel Guides explain, "Macy's 4th of July fireworks extravaganza is considered by many to be the nation's largest -- and understandably, this big bang always draws big crowds. The FDR will be closed to traffic and mobbed with fireworks fans who will get there as early as possible to snag a good spot close to the East River."

I remember being there years ago. It was so exciting to be there in person -- the crowds only added to the wonder of seeing the explosions above our heads. Yes, there were so many people that it was hard to figure out where your body stopped and the person's next to you began, but somehow that didn't bother me.

In later years, when we lived in an apartment with a great view of midtown, we would head up to the roof, where standing in the right spot would provide great views of the fireworks lighting up the sky between the towers that surrounded ours.

This year, I'll be lucky if I see any of it on TV!

Of course the holiday weekend in NYC offers more than just fireworks. Here are some other things I'll be missing:
  • An Independence Day kids' cruise around New York Harbor, hosted by the Friends of Hudson River Park. The cost of the cruise includes a barbecue lunch, games, and close-up views of the Statue of Liberty (and American flag favors for everyone).
  • Free admission to the Fraunces Tavern, built in 1719 and a meeting place of the Revolutionary upstarts the Sons of Liberty, now a museum.
  • The New-York Historical Society's July 4 celebration, which includes re-enactments of Revolutionary War battles and figures, a Revolutionary War-themed quiz show, and live folk music.
  • The South Street Seaport Museum's Revolutionary War Walking Tour of Lower Manhattan.
  • The New York Philharmonic concert on Governor's Island, featuring works by Rossini, Copland, and Rimsky-Korsakov, as well as Tchaikovsky's famous 1812 Overture, followed by a fireworks display.

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