One of New York’s best-kept summer secrets is spending a holiday weekend in the city. While locals are off sipping rosé in the Hamptons or picking blueberries upstate, New York becomes an inviting ghost town, where dinner reservations and theater tickets are aplenty and one can zip through the neighborhoods with abandon. So this Fourth of July, celebrate our nation’s independence here in Battery Park. Not only is it one of the most historical parts of the city, but its proximity to the Hudson River ensures first class firework viewing against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty. Meanwhile the area’s abundant parks boast some of the best picnic spots in Manhattan. Step out of Wagner Battery Park—which brings luxury and style to downtown Manhattan hotels,—and into history this Fourth of July.
Start off July 4 with a walk back in time. For history buffs and patriots alike, a walking tour through Battery Park highlights some of the most historic American achievements in our democracy. Check out significant city landmarks from the Revolutionary War, like the graves of Alexander Hamilton, General Richard Hamilton, as well as various locations connected to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Walk by Frances Tavern, where a British cannonball pierced the roof in 1775. You’ll even find out why the neighborhood is called the Battery. (Hint: it has something to do with the artillery batteries and cannons that were stationed here in the 17th Century).
For lunch, plan a Fourth of July “barbecue” at one of Battery Park’s many open spaces. While barbecuing in the city isn’t an easy affair, you can fake it by loading up on provisions from Danny Meyer’s barbecue restaurant Blue Smoke. Spread out your gingham blanket and enjoy a sumptuous July 4th picnic as you feast on all-American grilling favorites.
After lunch hop aboard the Liberty Landing Ferry at the World Financial Terminal and check out the Freedom Fireworks Festival in Jersey City. Live music, entertainment and a carnival-like atmosphere will serve as the build up to the famous Grucci family’s fireworks show. You don’t even have to get off the boat. Just passing by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island should give you all the Independence Day feels.
Once you dock, secure your spot for the fireworks display over the Hudson River, where the night skies will transform to the delight of the millions watching live. Enjoy the show’s state of the art pyrotechnic artistry, scientific innovation and good old-fashioned values in the form of the Star Spangled Banner. This is the Fourth of July after all.